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Facebook Privacy Boosted As Private Message 'Leak' Is Dismissed 44

Posted by timothy
from the check-the-foundation-for-rot dept.
judgecorp writes "Claims that old private Facebook messages have been leaking onto people's Timelines have been dismissed by the French privacy watchdog, CNIL. Apparently, as many concluded early on, the "leaked" messages were just old Wall-to-Wall posts, that users had mistakenly believed were private. Given the lack of user understanding, now is a good time for Facebook to revamp its privacy help pages. Let's hope users pay attention, and Facebook genuinely resists exploiting their naivety." Update: 10/04 17:42 GMT by T : Maybe we shouldn't be so hard on Facebook; Mark Zuckerberg says keeping up with a billion users makes it tough to follow all that data.
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Facebook Privacy Boosted As Private Message 'Leak' Is Dismissed

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  • Good thing (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anubis350 (772791)
    this post on /. is private. Now i can discuss CmdrTaco's sexual proclivities without embarrassing him!
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      this post on /. is private. Now i can discuss CmdrTaco's sexual proclivities without embarrassing him!

      So is that why you chose a nickname that contains the words 'anus' and 'bi'?

      • by Anubis350 (772791)

        this post on /. is private. Now i can discuss CmdrTaco's sexual proclivities without embarrassing him!

        So is that why you chose a nickname that contains the words 'anus' and 'bi'?

        Perhaps, but I find I generally like tacos better :-p

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Facebook is a publicly traded corporation. Their product is you. They gather info on you, your friends, your family, your buying habits, political affiliations, pet peeves, pets and sell that to advertisers and government agencies.

    the question is "Boosted from what?". A terribly intrusive data-mining operation?

    • Re:"Boosted"? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @11:59AM (#41549871)

      Boring generic anti-Facebook tirade aside, you do raise an interesting question: Facebook's privacy didn't change, it just failed to be breached. So what got 'boosted'? Your perception of it?

      • by Mitreya (579078)

        Facebook's privacy didn't change, it just failed to be breached. So what got 'boosted'? Your perception of it?

        Facebook unintentional (i.e. the kind that doesn't make them money) privacy breach has been proven false.
        Facebook intentional privacy breach (i.e. turn sharing of everything on and either move around or completely remove the means of disabling such sharing) is their whole mode of operation

        So their legal defense against the potential lawsuit got boosted a little.

        • by admdrew (782761)

          turn sharing of everything on and either move around or completely remove the means of disabling such sharing

          Are you referring to anything specific?

          • Re:"Boosted"? (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmHORSEail.com minus herbivore> on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:35PM (#41550349)

            Are you referring to anything specific?

            I do not use facebook much, but I tend to notice things when I do. For example, the chat feature had been enabled on my behalf. I do not want people to see that I am "currently online" and by now I have disabled that feature more than once, since it somehow magically gets reset to "enabled"

            Then there is this tendency to allow indirect access. See here [growmap.com]. Basically, applications may access your information by your friend's permission instead of yours.

            Finally, see a quote from this article [readwriteweb.com]. It is from 2009, but I think it is very representative of Facebook attitude. Most of the time you _can_ keep your setting private, but _only_ if you are actively tracking how facebook re-enabled access by default and proactively re-disabling that in settings.

            Facebook announced this morning that its 350 million users will be prompted to make their status messages and shared content publicly visible to the world at large and search engines. It's a move we expected but the language used in the announcement is near Orwellian. The company says the move is all about helping users protect their privacy and connect with other people, but the new default option is to change from "old settings" to becoming visible to "everyone."

            • by admdrew (782761)

              I have disabled that feature more than once, since it somehow magically gets reset to "enabled"

              This I don't understand - I, too, dislike/don't use facebook chat, but I have turned it off once and haven't had it reset on me. Also, it appears to be a server-side setting, as logging in with other browsers/other machines keeps me offline with the list minimized. If yours keeps getting reset, that's a perfect time to open a bug with facebook devs (which is easy, and they amazingly do respond).

              I'm not really argu

              • by Mitreya (579078)

                This I don't understand - I, too, dislike/don't use facebook chat, but I have turned it off once and haven't had it reset on me.

                Maybe it was an accident for me. I wouldn't say that it happens every time - just once or twice. I was very surprised though when it did.

                I just think that users need to adopt some responsibility for managing their own privacy, which includes both staying on top of the service's privacy controls, and being aware of what you're posting.

                No, no, NO (well, I agree on "being aware of what you're posting" part)
                I should NOT "stay on top" of the privacy controls. You make it sound like an arm race, in which user should be participating. Privacy settings should stay put! I should not spend my time doing research to see how they may have changed settings behind my back. It's not a fair fight - facebook could

              • This I don't understand - I, too, dislike/don't use facebook chat, but I have turned it off once and haven't had it reset on me. Also, it appears to be a server-side setting, as logging in with other browsers/other machines keeps me offline with the list minimized. If yours keeps getting reset, that's a perfect time to open a bug with facebook devs (which is easy, and they amazingly do respond).

                Excuse me, but how do you open a bug with facebook devs?
                A couple months ago, a website of mine was being hit by facebook bot about a hundred times per second, all asking for the same url.
                I tried to find a way to contact them, but couldn't.. the only form I found was not working (the ajax loader popped when submitting, and then it wouldn't complete).
                I managed to work around it by banning facebook bot with an apache rule, but that wasn't ideal.

  • Their help pages? THEIR HELP PAGES? How about they just change their policy on collecting as much data as they can from their users and then selling it to anyone anywhere ever or governments, in which case it's free and more extensive.
  • by admdrew (782761) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:12PM (#41550053) Homepage

    When this first started being posted around facebook, I had a few friends that insisted their actual private messages were being displayed, even after being presented with evidence to the contrary.

    I do find it interesting that so many of us users have essentially forgotten or misremembered how our facebook socializing has changed with updates over the years.

  • by logicassasin (318009) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:13PM (#41550073)

    Surely we can all agree that "Facebook Privacy" is an oxymoron.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Surely we can all agree that "Facebook Privacy" is an oxymoron.

      Exactly. "Privacy" esttings are really just a scam to get people to reveal more information than they normally would.

      The age-old saying of "Don't post online what you don't want the world to know" holds truer than ever before. As long as what you're sending is handled by a third party, there are no guarantees. Just like there are no guarantees what the recipient of your message may do with your message as well (perhaps they have no privacy compu

  • I remember checking into the claim of a security change when the claim was first made. It was easily disproven by checking my Facebook E-mail notifications from 2007. Every message that had been identified as a private message was not on my wall, and every message that was on my wall had been identified as a wall post.
  • by cerberusss (660701) on Thursday October 04, 2012 @12:20PM (#41550181) Homepage Journal

    Hi Rob,

    God you really got out of this hell hole on time. That cocksucker from Dice Holdings walks around like he's the king or something. Chrissake he told me to come on time tomorrow! And of course sourceforge is acting up and the guys over there aren't so chummy anymore, we're just another user to them.

    Say, do you remember where we put the design document on the private messages system? There's several bugs open, but CowboyNeal wrote that module so you probably have an idea of the "quality" of the code. He's a fucking monkey felcher and you know it.

    Anyway, see you Saturday in town. We can talk about Kathleen and Jeff, and again, I'm sorry you had to go through her email to find out about them. I'm going to fucking kill that asshole.

    Cheers
    Timothy

  • Where is the single Make Everything Private Now and Forever button? I keep looking for it without success.

    Or do only FB stockholders get that one--as long as they promise never to sell?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's labeled "Deactivate your account".

      • Nope. It'll still be there. No one can see it, but it's there and will come back the moment you log back in. The only way to win is not to play!

  • If a user is too stupid to understand the difference between a private message and a message posted to a Facebook wall (or timeline, now), he doesn't need to be using Facebook. In fact, someone who doesn't understand that distinction probably isn't bright enough to be online in the first place. There are a lot of potential problems with Facebook, and I don't like some of the company's practices. But this is a case in which the company did nothing wrong and Facebook-haters leapt on it in an effort to find S
  • Apparently, as many concluded early on, the "leaked" messages were just old Wall-to-Wall posts, that users had mistakenly believed were private.

    facebook user. n, /fsbook yoozr/
    A person (living, deceased, real, fake or other) who mistakenly believes they have any measure of control over information they provide to facebook.

    facebook shareholder. n, /fsbook SHe()rhldr/
    A person (wealthy, poor, playing with someone else's money, possibly underwater or other) who understands the definition of a facebook user, believes such creatures will continue to flourish, and believes shareholders have any measure of control over the company.

    Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Claims that old private telephone calls have been leaking onto people's Timelines have been dismissed by AT&T. Apparently, as many concluded early on, the "leaked" messages were just old calls recorded in room 614A - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Room_641A [wikipedia.org], that users had mistakenly believed were private. Given the lack of user understanding, now is a good time for AT&T to revamp its privacy help pages. Let's hope users pay attention, and AT&T genuinely resists exploiting their naivety.

  • "Maybe we shouldn't be so hard on Facebook; Mark Zuckerberg says keeping up with a billion users makes it tough to follow all that data."

    Somebody should show him how to use a computer. I think if he learned how to do that he might have a fighting chance!

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