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Why Facebook Won't Stop Invading Your Privacy 219

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the up-and-to-the-right dept.
GMGruman writes "Every few weeks, it seems, Facebook is caught again violating users' privacy. A code error there, rogue business partners there. The truth, as InfoWorld's Bill Snyder explains, is that Facebook will keep on violating your privacy, no matter what its policies say, what promises it makes, or how shocked it claims to be at the latest incident. The reason is simple: Selling personal information on its users is how it makes money, and Facebook is above all a business."
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Why Facebook Won't Stop Invading Your Privacy

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  • Well, duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BrokenHalo (565198) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:37AM (#33974228)
    Selling personal information on its users is how it makes money, and Facebook is above all a business.

    Why is this news? Nothing to see here, move on please...
    • by Pojut (1027544)

      Slow news day?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by delinear (991444)
      Agreed. Facebook won't give up invading users' privacy until they get replaced by a site that cares about user privacy. And I can guarantee that that caring attitude will last precisely long enough to bury Facebook as a competitor before they start doing exactly the same thing. Users just have to accept they can have privacy or Facebook, but not both.
      • Agreed. Facebook won't give up invading users' privacy until they get replaced by a site that cares about user privacy.

        I think you mean "until they go out of business." The reason that they go out of business isn't terribly important, but as long as they're in business, this is the business they're in.

      • by hey (83763)

        Well, where is it.

        Diaspora: non finished.

        Appleseed - no traction.
        http://opensource.appleseedproject.org/ [appleseedproject.org]
        Not sexy enough.

        What else?

      • Re:Well, duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by mlts (1038732) * on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:19PM (#33974890)

        I am cynical, but if a site comes along that does respect user privacy, they won't make the ad revenue, unless other funding is obtained.

        FB does not make a dime from the people who have accounts with them, other than the gift services. The real customers are the advertisers and the developers like Zygna. To FB, account-holders are considered whining maggots, a necessary evil so advertisers can be handed their information and in return, hand FB cash.

        TANSTAAFL. Want to know how to change this? Have a social networking site paid for by either subscription fees, or by grants from governments/universities/funds in return for privacy/security guarantees of user data?

        • Re:Well, duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by nedwidek (98930) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @03:18PM (#33978020)

          Advertisers are not handed the information. Advertisers specify the characteristics of the user they'd like to advertise to. I helped a friend advertise her bistro. We said who we'd like to show the ad to. Facebook then said how many people it was shown to each day, but never who. For all I know they could have lied on the number and charged her credit card anyway, but her fan count definitely took off quicker with the advertising and business went up. Was it the advertising onFacebook? It appears so, but I can't prove it.

          As for application developers, of which I am one... Please tell me how you expect the social aspects of the games are supposed to work if I CAN'T pull information? Sure you can lock everything down. These are the same people who can't lock their account down. They're going to bitch when things don't just work in the games because they can't figure out how to open them up.

          Here's what I tell people: If you don't want it known, don't tell it to Facebook. Belong to the Church of Satan, but don't want people to know? Don't put it in your profile. And maybe take 10 minutes to go through the privacy controls they're not that hard.

          Still don't like it? Don't open a damned account. It's nice that you put up solutions, but the possibility of any of those happening is zero to nil.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by mlts (1038732) *

            The social stuff can work, but FB's app model is all or nothing. You hand over not just your info to any app developer who comes along, but your friends' info too. I have yet to see a FB app developer ask for anything less than the whole shebang for their stuff.

            The "love it or leave it" argument isn't valid either. I know when I was looking for work that I was turned down for jobs because I didn't have a FB profile, thus HR reps thought I was a dinosaur. I was even asked about it in interviews, and when

      • by asdf7890 (1518587)

        Agreed. Facebook won't give up invading users' privacy until they get replaced by a site that cares about user privacy.

        And such a site would not survive without eventually pulling the same tricks or charging their users somehow. I'm guessing the server resources needed to run facebook are not small. Something distributed like Diaspora might work but only if everyone runs their own server (so they are not trusting a service who may sell the data anyway) and installs security updates promptly (otherwise Joe Bloggs will get exploited and immediately all his info and anything the accounts on his server has access to).

        And I can guarantee that that caring attitude will last precisely long enough to bury Facebook as a competitor before they start doing exactly the same thing.

        Exactly. E

      • Re:Well, duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Ash Vince (602485) * on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:39PM (#33975186) Journal

        Agreed. Facebook won't give up invading users' privacy until they get replaced by a site that cares about user privacy. And I can guarantee that that caring attitude will last precisely long enough to bury Facebook as a competitor before they start doing exactly the same thing. Users just have to accept they can have privacy or Facebook, but not both.

        I don't think this is limited to facebook.

        Our privacy has been successively eroded over the past 20 years since companies realised how valuable information about their customers could be. We have gained many "free" services as a result of this that we otherwise would have had to pay for, but we have don so under the small print proviso that we would be allowing them to make money by selling information gleaned from watching us.

        Even before the current days of the web customer loyalty cards were built on this premise. They could give us a small discount on our shopping in return for the data they could gather on us as a result of us identifying ourselves every time we purchased something.

        The only way facebook would ever be overtaken by another company that did not behave this way would be if people cared enough to leave because of it, I have sneaky feeling that most people do not.

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by Rogerborg (306625)

      Well, quite, but I don't think "duh" really captures it.

      Duuh. Duuuuh. Duuuuuh DUUUUUUUUUUUH!

      For extra points, add "spazz face". I mean, really, this is a "Bakers secretly intend to continue turning flour into bread" level revelation.

    • Re:Well, duh. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:56AM (#33974510) Journal

      I find myself re-iterating this fact to my family members every month.

      See, yesterday or the day before the Wall Street Journal published an article, I guess they sent someone in and investigated the whole Facebook Application scheme, and found that 10 out of the top 10 developers are selling the information they gather and that it's not unusual for LOTS of Facebook apps to do so. This is technically a breach in the "privacy policy" set forth by facebook, but no one has ever done anything about it, ever, so its still rampant.

      Of course, my mother works downtown in a nice tall skyscraper and she catches a glimpse of this, catching the words like "Facebook - Privacy - Security - Breach - Applications - Farmville" so she went and formed her own little news snippet in her head completely different from whats actually going on. She sends an email to the entire family along the lines of "Facebook announced that some popular apps like Farmville have been hacked, so double check your personal/financial info to make sure none of your banking credentials were stolen!"

      My first reaction was a double take with a massive head jerk thinking that the makers of Farmville (Zynga? w/e) had managed to make their application place tracking cookies or other devices in the browser that could do simple keylogging and report back to their server. I immediately pull up my browser and start searching for anything regarding the subject matter - only to find nothing but that Wall Street Journal Article.

      So I had politely drafted up an email to everyone in that email explaining the whole privacy issue with Facebook right now - making careful to note that their computer hasn't been hacked by accessing a facebook app - but any information they've put on Facebook is essentially on there, has probably been sold to advertising companies, and can't be removed.

      I can't seem to get it to stick...

      • Re:Well, duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by idontgno (624372) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:42PM (#33975230) Journal

        That's an unfortunate chain of events. When you explain the facts and the "OMG, they're hacking my bank accounts" panic fades away, the truth winds up seeming a lot less grim. People may not be able to work up the appropriate levels of concern. Relief you haven't been shot may keep you from reacting to the fact you're being robbed.

      • Re:Well, duh. (Score:4, Informative)

        by Glendale2x (210533) <slashdot.ninjamonkey@us> on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:43PM (#33975236) Homepage

        I can't seem to get it to stick...

        Because, in the end, users do not want privacy. They want their Facebook, Gmail, et al for free, and are unable or unwilling to make the connection that "free" has a non-monetary price to them. These companies know this and will continue to do whatever they can get away with to make the money that keeps it "free" to the audience.

      • Re:Well, duh. (Score:4, Insightful)

        by X_Bones (93097) <danorz13.yahoo@com> on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:48PM (#33975322) Homepage Journal
        I can't seem to get it to stick...

        you can lead a brain to knowledge but you can't make it think.
      • The key insight conveyed in the parent post is that the real reason why Facebook violates its users' privacy is not merely because that is part of its business model, but because its users are either too ignorant to understand what such violations actually entail, or if they know, they don't care because they feel Facebook offers them sufficient value in exchange for that data.

        What makes Facebook successful is that EVERYBODY seems to be on it. As long as people collectively think they get some kind of soci

      • I don't understand why no one seems to be able to understand this. And I don't just mean the non-techie's among us. It's very simple: if you put info on facebook, facebook has access to that info. I don't even consider this an "invasion of privacy." I mean, you gave it to them. It's not like they're following you around filling in your info or anything. They just ask, and you give them as much or as little as you want. The people who don't follow this stuff seem to assume that they can put up their info and
        • Well then you're missing the actual issue - it's not that Facebook has the data. We get that, it's that they've essentially gotten around the hassle of having to keep the data private. I have a confidentiality agreement with my bank that they can't sell information regarding my purchases. People have an agreement with their Shrinks not to disclose the information discussed in their meetings.

          Facebook - at first, claimed that the data gathered would not be distributed in any way shape or form. The problem cam

          • by lgw (121541)

            So thats why it's getting so many attacks on it - there's a LOT of holes in the system and its not just "You gave it to Facebook" - it's a sort of "You gave me a check box that said ONLY people on my friends list could see it. Now an App developer has that information and is selling it. WTF"

            Nah, it really is as simple as "you gave it to Facebook". Putting info on the internet is making that info public, period. If you believe Mark Zuckerberg when he says "trust me honey, I'll pull out in time", that's just your naivete. Companies tell you lots of things when they want you to use their product, all lies, and yet people are somehow surprised that this one specific company lied to them? Please.

            If you put it on the internet, expect it to become public, simple as that. That includes email, VOI

    • by mbone (558574)

      Bet me to it - what else can you say ?

    • Why is this news?

      Because sometimes, the truth needs to be repeated many, many, many times for it to finally sink in.

      How many times were you told as a kid that candy rots your teeth and makes you fat? How many of you, despite that, would have eaten candy until you were sick as a kid?

      Granted, with the slashdot crowd, some of you may have come back with "correlation is not causation" and in depth critiques as to the statistical relevance of "4 out of 5 dentists say so." A good number of you probably just shouted "first post!

    • Re:Well, duh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rochberg (1444791) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @02:26PM (#33977178)
      "If you aren't paying for the product, you are the product." (I wish I could claim credit for the quote, but I can't. And I've heard it from so many sources that I don't know the origin.)
      • by Bassman59 (519820)

        "If you aren't paying for the product, you are the product." (I wish I could claim credit for the quote, but I can't. And I've heard it from so many sources that I don't know the origin.)

        As the great Aussie band the Saints sang, "Know Your Product," alternately, "No, You're Product."

  • by 2names (531755) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:37AM (#33974240)
    No really. Don't let the deadpan delivery fool you into thinking I am not shocked. I am. Really.
  • Because it's a perv?

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:44AM (#33974316)
    When Facebook announces new privacy-preserving settings for its users, what they mean is "we have implemented a new zero-day exploit that will allow hackers to steal all your info with a simple script and sell it all off on the internet with very little effort."
    • When Facebook announces new privacy-preserving settings for its users, what they mean is "we have implemented a new zero-day exploit that will allow hackers to steal all your info with a simple script and sell it all off on the internet with very little effort."

      s/zero-day exploit/API/; s/hackers/business partners/

      True, hackers will also occasionally discover how to do it, but that of course isn't intentional, since there's no profit for Facebook.

  • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:45AM (#33974332)

    If you're not paying for the service, you are the product, not the customer.

    • by technomom (444378) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:51AM (#33974420)
      Really successful businesses are able to make you pay for the service, PLUS sell your data (or eyeballs). See the publishing industry (up until about 1999) and television.
      • by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:09PM (#33974710)

        Really successful businesses are able to make you pay for the service, PLUS sell your data (or eyeballs). See the publishing industry (up until about 1999) and television.

        You're correct, but the problem with Facebook is that it needs you to share lots of information in order for them to sell it to others. It's well known that opt-in services, whilst being great for consumer privacy, typically have a lousy take-up rate. I'm amazed at the number of people who have completely open profiles, probably because they didn't know that they were like that.

        Therefore it is in Facebook's interest (and their bottom line) to ensure that you have to opt-out and preferably in a way which is convoluted enough to make you not bother but not so convoluted that they're accused of being evil*.

        Their goal of helping your connect with friends has long gone as the functionality available today is more than adequate for that purpose. All new features added in the last year or two are solely geared around you sharing more information that can be sold.

        (* with the exception of Facebook Places, which they've blatantly decided that you cannot block check-ins from your friend stream without completely blocking the friend - presumably in the hope that you'll be persuaded to actually use the service)

    • by gstoddart (321705)

      If you're not paying for the service, you are the product, not the customer.

      And, even if you are paying for the service, you may still be the product. Which is why advertisers on TV think you should be obliged to watch their ads.

      In short, you're always the product.

  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gorzek (647352) <gorzek@Nospam.gmail.com> on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:48AM (#33974378) Homepage Journal

    ...water is wet, the sky is blue, and Elvis is still dead.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure this will be an unpopular post, but Facebook is NOT violating privacy.

    Really, if you post something on the internet and expect it to be private, you are an idiot. You can't reasonably expect privacy on someone else's servers. Once you release information in the wild, you have no control over what happens to it. None. Those privacy settings mean jack shit. They are only veils. In fact, those privacy settings aren't even guaranteed.

    If you don't want people to know something about you, don't post it o

    • by RazorSharp (1418697) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:54AM (#33974464)

      I'm sure this will be an unpopular post, but Facebook is NOT violating privacy.

      Really, if you post something on the internet and expect it to be private, you are an idiot. You can't reasonably expect privacy on someone else's servers. Once you release information in the wild, you have no control over what happens to it. None. Those privacy settings mean jack shit. They are only veils. In fact, those privacy settings aren't even guaranteed.

      If you don't want people to know something about you, don't post it on the internet. It really is THAT simple. If you don't want the evidence to make it to your wife, your boss, or whatever, don't put that evidence in an archivable medium AT ALL. And lastly, if you don't like the way Facebook uses your information, DON'T USE THE GOD DAMN SITE. If you aren't using it, they can't "violate" your "privacy."

      Bullshit. When you do online banking, you expect your information to remain private. When you click a box on Facebook that claims to protect your privacy, it dammed well better.

      • No, when I do online banking I expect privacy because if I don't get it I will take my money somewhere else. The bank makes money on the money I put in the bank.

        Facebook makes money on stuff I put in facebook, but I can't take it out once I put it in.

        • by gstoddart (321705)

          No, when I do online banking I expect privacy because if I don't get it I will take my money somewhere else.

          Well, that and the federal laws the require it.

          Don't give up on that indignation thing though. That's fun too. :-P

  • No one cares (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RazorSharp (1418697) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:50AM (#33974402)

    And that's what's so sad about this. When friends encouraged me to get on Facebook I told them about the profit model and why they shouldn't contribute to it, but they all had the same response, "who cares?" It was hard enough for them to understand why their personal information would even be profitable in the first place, but for them to actually care was impossible. Lets face it, Facebook users have the same view of privacy Zuckerberg has: they don't value it and they don't understand why anyone would (unless, of course, they had something to hide).

    I value my privacy and I find Facebook to be the finest example of everything that is wrong with capitalism. But that's why I'm here on Slashdot and not there.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      What private information can facebook sell? My name? that's not private. My public posts? that's not private. Seriously, what private info do they sell and to who?

      • by Cro Magnon (467622) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:03PM (#33974612) Homepage Journal

        My posts aren't supposed to be public. They are supposed to private, just between me and my 5,000 closest friends.

        • My posts aren't supposed to be public. They are supposed to private, just between me and my 5,000 closest friends.

          In Norway there recently was a case about whether it's OK for the media to quote from Facebook postings on a closed profile. The PFU (Norwegian media regulatory commission) concluded that it was fine. Since the guy had 2700 friends, several journalists amongst them, it constituted a public expression.

          Here is a somewhat strange translation. [google.com]

      • Re:No one cares (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:15PM (#33974808) Journal

        Even the private messages that go between you and someone else on Facebook are still technically posted "To Facebook" so it is "Facebooks Data" and within "Facebooks Data collection" and permissable for them to sell or do whatever they want to.

        But that's not really the thing. Your name IS private. When there are only two parties involved, yourself and someone else, and they ask you your name, you can choose not to disclose that information. This is where aliases online became popular to help anonymize people. Facebook discourages anonymizing and wants to identify people, makes it easier to aggregate their data.

        When I log onto facebook and when my girlfriend log onto facebook, we'll see different advertisements. Why is that? Clearly they've collected enough information on me to know that I like video games and she likes Jewelry. Simple enough matter - perhaps thats just gender profiling? Well when I log on compared to my brother, I see ads for MMO's, he sees advertisements for sports and poker.

        The point is that basically all the stuff about you, even stuff you don't generally make public - ends up getting grouped together into a profile that gets sold to advertisers so you are constantly bombarded by the stuff you are most likely to buy. Just by creating that profile, and then clicking on certain links - that info gets put to work profiling you. Hey, you like Mafia Wars? This kid probably likes the idea of Gangs and guns. Lets grab some related clothing and see if he clicks on the ad that says SALE!

        Then, when someone messages you "Hey, whats your Phone #?" Facebook gets that info. When someone asks "Hey where's your house again?" They get your address. "Whats your email?" - yada yada yada.

        The big fear everyone has is that this will go much farther reaching than advertising. Oh hey, you were looking up medical conditions, you have a self diagnosis app on facebook... Health Insurance company buys the info... Oh look your premiums are going to go up, they suspect you might have something. You came down with something? Well theres some searches you made 5 years ago that suggests it might have been present before buying the insurance, so no payout.

        Things like that.

        • by Whalou (721698)

          Your name IS private. When there are only two parties involved, yourself and someone else, and they ask you your name, you can choose not to disclose that information. This is where aliases online became popular to help anonymize people.

          I thought your name really was Monkee Dude. Thanks for ruining it.

    • Re:No one cares (Score:4, Insightful)

      by CannonballHead (842625) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:04PM (#33974624)

      If Facebook is the best example of everything that's wrong with capitalism, capitalism would appear to be a pretty good system. I doubt socialism is an inherently privacy-valuing system... it would seem to me that for a socialistic model to work, more of your privacy would have to be violated?

      • by cmholm (69081)

        Socialism 101: the employees own their place of employment. It could be directly, such as a partnership, or via proxy (ie. shares of stock). Period.

        Some people prefer a more indirect proxy (ie. a Socialist government). Obviously, *that* model has had problems.

        Social Democratic parties prefer the employee-ownership part. But, rather than require it and overturn the whole apple cart, accept that yer gonna have owners exploiting employees, and use social welfare programs to ameliorate the "getting screwed" par

    • by dasdrewid (653176)

      When I joined facebook in '04, it actually seemed like they cared about privacy. They had reasonable privacy controls, they made it easy to establish how much privacy you wanted on your profile, and they hadn't started selling ad-space of any kind, nor mentioned what their business model would really be. Unfortunately, by the time they began changing, selling user info etc., *everything* at school ran on facebook. *everything*. You couldn't be involved in student government, either as an official or just a

    • by ciaohound (118419)

      I agree with your last points there, but not enough to stop me from creating a Facebook account. If my Facebook account gets sold out, well, I didn't reveal anything really private there anyway. But if my Slashdot ID were outed and linked by some app to my Facebook account, hrmmm, that wouldn't be pretty. I wonder if it could be done?

    • Re:No one cares (Score:5, Insightful)

      by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <.marc.paradise. .at. .gmail.com.> on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:14PM (#33974796) Homepage Journal

      Lets face it, Facebook users have the same view of privacy Zuckerberg has: they don't value it and they don't understand why anyone would (unless, of course, they had something to hide).

      And they're 100% right -- for if they do not see value in their privacy, then their privacy has no value.

      For those whose privacy does have value - they'll do as you do, and avoid Facebook et al entirely.

    • Re:No one cares (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:23PM (#33974950) Homepage

      When friends encouraged me to get on Facebook I told them about the profit model and why they shouldn't contribute to it...

      Wait... *why* shouldn't they contribute to it? You say that as if it's a given, but please, elaborate on this point for me.

      Because it seems to me this is a classic example of a win-win situation: the users give information to Facebook, which Facebook deems valuable, and the users, in turn, receive a service they find useful.

      Now, certainly people can choose whether they want to participate in that arrangement, and I can see why *you* shouldn't. But I fail to see why no one else should.

    • by tgd (2822)

      So rather than ranting about how stupid your friends are, how about breaking down why you're so concerned about that sort of information being private?

  • by kheldan (1460303) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:51AM (#33974434) Journal
    If you actually use your real name and personal information on any social networking site, then you are an idiot, plain and simple. You may not even be able to exercise damage control at this point by erasing everything and deleting accounts; it's all still out there somewhere and someone has it -- and in many cases, it's people you never even met in person who you allowed on your friends list in the neverending quest to have more "friends" than your buddies do.
    I already know I'm going to get modded down to -1, Troll or -1, Flamebait for posting this, but you can't escape the cold hard truth that so many of you have not been wise, and now you're paying the price.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Paying what price? huh? people keep saying shit like that, and yet no one can point to where facebook actually makes money from selling any private information.

    • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:11PM (#33974742)

      Why? Your name is generally a matter of public record. It's not private. Pretty much the opposite, in fact.

      If you post any actual private information on a social networking site then you're taking a risk. You might be an idiot, or you might have weighted the costs and benefits and made an informed decision.

      • by kheldan (1460303)

        ..informed decision

        Don't you see, that's my point: most people haven't made an "informed decision", they didn't even think about it! All my friends are doing it, I should do it too!

        • by ceoyoyo (59147)

          So? Why do you feel the need to protect everyone?

          And really, what are they losing? Probably the same stuff we've all already given to Google.

          You did realize that Google collects information on you, right? And (assuming you use any Google services) you made an informed decision to use it, right?

        • by shentino (1139071)

          Thing is most people's informed decisions fail to take into account the trustworthiness (or lack thereof) of a business that has a vested interest in breaking any sort of privacy promise they make to you.

          It's in facebook's best interest to lure you in with promises of shelter from the public, and then whip out their TOS to throw you under the bus by reselling your soul to the advertisers.

    • If you actually use your real name and personal information on any social networking site, then you are an idiot, plain and simple.

      Well, except maybe linkedin.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      If you actually use your real name and personal information on any social networking site, then you are an idiot, plain and simple.

      Because...?

      Come on, the least you could do is, like, actually present an argument.

      I already know I'm going to get modded down to -1, Troll or -1, Flamebait for posting this

      Ahh, classic. The ol' "I know I'm going to get modded down for thus, but..." insurance game... it's amazing the idiot moderators actually fall for it. *sigh*

    • by hey (83763)

      Everyone has their birthday there.

    • by swb (14022)

      and in many cases, it's people you never even met in person who you allowed on your friends list in the neverending quest to have more "friends" than your buddies do.

      I think this is the big mistake people make, coupled with Facebook's "friend of a friend" permission that allows people you really don't know (aka strangers) to troll your profile, friends list and photos.

      Outside of people I knew in high school or college, I make a point to turn down friend requests from business/work acquaintances and people

    • by Dunega (901960)
      Pay what price? They'll deliver more ads to me? Oh gee, no please, oh wait... I block them anyway. Maybe someone will find out my name? Oh god whatever will I do?

      Do I post my entire personal history on there? No.
      Do I like reconnecting with friends I had 10 years ago? Yes, so the extremely minor amount of information that is gleaned from my profile is worth it to me. That doesn't make me an idiot and you should probably watch out when you generalize like that.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by lennier (44736)

      If you actually use your real name and personal information on any social networking site, then you are an idiot, plain and simple.

      Exactly!

      That's why I always walk around outside wearing a Guy Fawkes mask, a biohazard suit and use a different alias at every shop. Can't let just anyone know my real face or true name - and who knows what dark magics they might weave with a lock of my hair?

      Plus it makes everyone who comes to the help desk at work really quiet.

  • "No privacy" is (almost literally) coded into Facebook's DNA. The very premise of the site is that privacy is a thing of the past. The fact that this dovetails nicely with its business model of selling access to information is simply the reason it's financially successful.

    • "No privacy" coded into Facebook's DNA... so true. Reading Zuck's interview in the Sept 20th New Yorker [newyorker.com] allows one to better understand this explicit point, beyond the coarse Harvard email zingers. As the writer points out, Mr. Zuckerberg can afford to take the "open book" approach to life, since he's been on the favored side of the US economy - with the means to protect his livelihood - literally since childhood.

  • I thought the whole point of facebook was that you could put all your information online. You can't have your cake and eat it too, right?

  • by SemperUbi (673908) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @11:57AM (#33974534)
    again and again; it's old news by now. But there are a whole lot of people who just don't seem to either get it or care. Facebook is really good at exploiting that ancient "be part of the pack or else you'll die" thing that got us through the Pleistocene era.
  • Listen! And understand! Zuckerborg is out there. He can't be bargained with! He can't be reasoned with! He doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until your privacy has been violated!

  • See, here's the trick: If you use a social networking site, don't post sensitive information. AHA! The penny's dropped! The most sensitive information anyone could get from my facebook site is the town I live in and relatives' names. No phone number, no address, no credit card numbers, nothing. So the bottom line is that any information facebook could sell about me is totally meaningless and most likely available all over the net anyway.
  • Facebook will have to man up and offer an ad-free / privacy-guaranteed subscriber model for $x dollars a month/year, before someone else does. Call it "Cadillac level service." I'd want this option before I'd ever consider getting an account, and I'd be more likely to "friend" someone if I knew they were paying extra for privacy.

    .
  • The same thing will happen to the Facebook social networking service as happened to the Compuserve electronic mail service. New, open protocols and standards will negate the network effects it currently enjoys, and it will become one of many inter-operative social networking platforms.

  • Facebook provides a service. The price of that service is information about users' online behavior and social networks. Paying that price is painless, and most people would contend that it's not even a payment. Loss of privacy? Nonsense. Privacy is what people expect in the bathroom, when they're changing their clothes, when they're on the phone. Facebook is effectively free for them - they are not giving up anything of value to use the service.

    In other words, most people don't care if their public
  • A year ago, we launched a privacy site with the goal of providing a safe, secure, simple means to share information using end-to-end encryption. Without going into detail and without mentioning the name of the site, I can tell you that we succeeded and we have a small group of regular users. We don't have an advertising budget, so most users find us through google ("private secure encrypted"). Even those with no knowledge or understanding of how encryption works can figure out how to use this site. Sinc
  • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:44PM (#33975256)
    Since people keep using it, they're sending the message that they don't care about invasions of privacy. It's not too hard to figure out how to avoid this invasion: don't use the site.
  • by necro81 (917438) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @12:45PM (#33975268) Journal
    One key part about it is that Facebook, and particularly Zuckerberg, is convinced that privacy is an illusory notion at best in today's world. Privacy was all some strange social construct that is now, or soon will be, thoroughly antiquated. It's an impediment to the future; a mental hangup. It's right up there with believing the Earth is flat and the sun revolves around us. The sooner we all realize this the better off we'll be.

    Within this philosophy each move that Facebook makes isn't some sort of violation or theft. You can't steal what someone doesn't have. Instead, it is an object lesson to the unenlightened. I, for one, believe this is total bullshit. Then again, I'm also not on Facebook. The movers and shakers in technology have been all about this for a long time: dragging the masses kicking and screaming to that future only he has the genius to see. Usually, they have limited it to technical or economic matters, a'la Bill Gates. Or, like Steve Jobs, they have an overt social vision behind their technological heavy-handedness, but folks generally haven't been too offended by it. Zuckerberg is upping the ante in a dramatic way.
  • by jDeepbeep (913892) on Thursday October 21, 2010 @01:08PM (#33975630)
    FB cares about privacy in the same way that McDonald's cares about nutrition.
  • No. That's not correct. Facebook is an unethical business. It lies. It deceives its users. Deceit is not required to be in business. There are ethical and unethical businesses and which type of business they are depends on the morals of the people who run them. Dishonest people run unethical businesses. Honest people run ethical businesses. Do not lump the honest people in with the dishonest ones. They are nowhere near being alike. They are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

  • by Evro (18923) *

    You put your data on its server for the purpose of sharing it with others. Any expectation of "privacy" on a system designed to share information seems misinformed, especially when all that information is further shared with third parties (apps) over whom Facebook has no control. You might reasonably expect your FB inbox to be private but that's about the only type of information on the entire site that isn't "shareable."

    Plus, if you're not accessing a service exclusively over SSL, do you really care how

  • I came here to say that people are almost certainly over-analyzing the issue. Really, it's simple: Selling personal information on its users is how it makes money.

    Except in this case, they didn't over analyze it at all! :-)

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