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Facebook Tracks the Status Updates and Messages You Don't Write Too 163

Posted by samzenpus
from the let's-have-a-look-at-what-you-have-there dept.
Jah-Wren Ryel writes "It turns out Facebook tracks the stuff that people type and then erase before hitting the post button. If you start writing a message, and then think better of it and decide not to post it, Facebook still adds it to the dossier they keep on you. From the article: 'Storing text as you type isn't uncommon on other websites. For example, if you use Gmail, your draft messages are automatically saved as you type them. Even if you close the browser without saving, you can usually find a (nearly) complete copy of the email you were typing in your Drafts folder. Facebook is using essentially the same technology here. The difference is that Google is saving your messages to help you. Facebook users don't expect their unposted thoughts to be collected, nor do they benefit from it.'"
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Facebook Tracks the Status Updates and Messages You Don't Write Too

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:27AM (#45703871)

    I can see myself following a policy of "never type directly into a web browser, only copy and paste" in the near future. (And here's yet another reason to avoid "cloud" services and prefer local storage for anything personal.)

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:38AM (#45703963)

    "The difference is that Google is saving your messages to help you."

    Well, we hope at least. When Google's robot army kicks down my door for looking up subversive material, will we still be saying this?

    Obviously drafts do help you ... but I wouldn't mind betting they also analyse the data and use it to predict your preferences in exactly the same way that Facebook does!

  • Re:Thought process (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:41AM (#45703993)

    Capturing a person's though process has a lot of value, sometimes more than the actual post written. Think of brand recognition, for a simple example. I like Pep... oops, I mean, Coke.

    And that is quite harmless. Its if writing a draft "dear mum and dad I'd like to telly you I'm gay. I know its against your religious beliefs", then deleting it will result in adverts for gay support groups, or anything else that could give someone an idea of what might not have been said that there is a problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:45AM (#45704029)

    If not Facebook violates EU law.

    So what? It should be pretty clear that Facebook isn't run by moral people by now. You can pretty much assume that they violates every damn law they think they can get away with.
    When you deal with the local thugs they generally have some sense of morality, large corporations, not so much.

  • by G-forze (1169271) on Monday December 16, 2013 @11:53AM (#45704121)
    Exactly my thoughts. This seems to be a good case for "poisoning the well", by using some simple Selenium script and a couple of e-books, for instance. Have the bot post random text snippets from the books to all kinds of people, events and pages, and then delete before sending. Make this data collection useless.
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@lynx . b c.ca> on Monday December 16, 2013 @12:56PM (#45704825) Journal

    That's about on par with the suggestion that people can save a lot of money on gasoline by walking to work or cycling.

    My point being that the recommendation carries with it a set of disadvantages that heavily weigh against it when it comes to convenience. Much of the modern web today is not usable in any practical sense without javascript. If you can manage without it, that's nice... have a cookie. Just because you only visit websites that only present archaic interfaces doesn't mean everybody else does.

  • by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Monday December 16, 2013 @01:32PM (#45705229) Homepage

    Which makes sense because they were never stored.

    The source article that the linked article refers to says that Facebook records the fact that you entered text but never posted it. It does not record the text.

    But after three levels of "telephone", we have this thread.

  • by anegg (1390659) on Monday December 16, 2013 @02:33PM (#45705861)
    I'm with you. The benefits of the evolution of communications into personal digital communications across the globe has been stolen by corporate interests and the government and used to create a mindfuck situation of unbelievable proportions. It seems like not long ago the US federal government was arguing about how new digital telephone switches so impacted their traditional ability to intercept calls that they need special legislative provisions that required interception capabilities to be built into all telephony switches or else they would lose their ability to investigate crime. Now we all wonder if we have any privacy at all, even in our own homes (how do you know your cell phone hasn't been programmed to perform electronic eavesdropping of your every conversation?), never mind in our on-line e-mails, and now possibly even in our thoughts about blog postings. Its enough to make one paranoid!
  • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Monday December 16, 2013 @03:25PM (#45706515)

    The trouble with NoScript is that you end up having to make an (at least temporary) exception for almost every site you go to in order to use it at all.

    (Not to mention you also need exceptions for things like ajax.googleapis.com, which will surely integrate the functionality of googleanalytics.com if enough people start using anti-tracking technologies.)

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