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Facebook Calls All-Hands Meeting On Privacy 302

CWmike writes "A Facebook spokesman said that the company will hold an all-staff meeting on Thursday to discuss privacy issues, but would not say whether executives are looking to make significant changes to the popular site's highly contentious privacy policies following a bevy of changes to the service." (More, below.)
"In an interview with Computerworld last week, Ethan Beard, director of the site's developer network, defended Facebook's policies and even said users love the changes that Facebook has made. However, it seems calls for people to delete their Facebook accounts, which have gathered momentum, have not fallen on deaf ears at the company. Adding to the perception of a crisis on hand, the NY Times profiled on Wednesday a project called Diaspora, which is creating a more private, decentralized alternative to Facebook."
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Facebook Calls All-Hands Meeting On Privacy

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  • Limey (Score:2, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:48PM (#32201414) Homepage
    I don't particularly find Facebook's stance and practices on privacy anymore troubling that societies general attitude toward to the subject.
  • by 18_Rabbit ( 663482 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:50PM (#32201436)
    Because they are going to need some, and soon. EVERY time they make a change to the privacy scheme, it's ridiculous and gets the whole user base riled up.
  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:52PM (#32201464)
    Serious? Our eyes and minds are being sold to advertisers and you don't find that troubling? We are not the consumers any more, we are the product. If society mimicked Facebook you're damned right there'd be privacy concerns. If I stop by a motorcycle shop to buy some oil and they sold that information to other distributors without my consent so they could bombard me with unwanted solicitations there would be hell to pay.
  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:54PM (#32201494)
    If the user base gets riled up, then riled up again, then riled up some more, than extra-special-super riled up, and they keep subjecting themselves to it... Then the user base is full of morons. Admit it, you people are hooked on the crack.
  • Re:Limey (Score:4, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:55PM (#32201508)
    A secret meeting about privacy doesn't bother you? Geez, talk about a tough audience.
  • by AnonymousClown ( 1788472 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:57PM (#32201530)

    "I see the clouds of a civil war on the horizon between users and the platform vendors as users want more discrete control over their history, privacy and data, and the platform vendors who drive advertising and data mining businesses."

    The ability of Facebook to generate revenues requires the exploitation of their users data and their privacy - if they want to keep it "free" for the users. Otherwise they'll have to charge a subscription.

    Advertising on pages for revenue? Enough to pay the bills let alone drive the sky high stock prices?

    Ask the management of Digg and Slashdot about that.

  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jafafa Hots ( 580169 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:58PM (#32201536) Homepage Journal

    "Our eyes and minds are being sold to advertisers and you don't find that troubling?"

    For a second I thought you were referring to the TV and Radio broadcast industry as it has existed for the last... oh,70 to 80 years?

  • Re:Limey (Score:4, Insightful)

    by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @06:59PM (#32201560)

    I believe he was saying a more disturbing problem was that most people don't care about the issues you mentioned.

  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LurkerXXX ( 667952 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:02PM (#32201594)
    They want lots of privacy for things THEY do. Just none for things WE do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:06PM (#32201648)

    For as much flack as Google gets around here lately, they do a pretty decent job of selling advertising without completely raping their users' privacy.

    And, no Facebook, changing your privacy policies every 6 months and then claiming your users are consenting because they didn't opt-out of the 120 new "please sell my ass to the highest bidder" boxes that are confusingly labeled and located on 50 different pages doesn't cut it.

  • by Roberticus ( 1237374 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:06PM (#32201650)

    You oversimplify. Facebook changes privacy policy for the worse, users complain, Facebook backs off (though rarely all the way) or offers (torturous and convoluted) ways to bypass new privacy violations.

    I won't dispute the "base is full morons" point, but to say everyone there just whines to no effect is inaccurate.

  • by Mr. Neutron ( 3115 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:06PM (#32201656) Homepage Journal

    My opinion is that if you post personally identifiable information to a public website, and expect that information to be kept from all the world's eyeballs, you're being incredibly foolish.

    I'm not saying Facebook has no responsibility here, just that people should take care to only share in a public forum what they are comfortable sharing with the entire universe. My Facebook profile contains nothing that I wouldn't want my mom, boss, pastor, or future employer to see.

    I'm probably departing Facebook because... well... just watch the South Park Facebook episode and that sums up everything I hate about it.

    Privacy? I don't post private stuff to a public website, no matter how much they promise only to share that stuff with "friends" and "networks."

  • Too Late (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Graff ( 532189 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:11PM (#32201692)

    Yeah, sorry Facebook, you are too late. I'm out.

    Maybe my single voice means nothing but I'm willing to bet there's a lot more people who are fed up with not only Facebook's privacy activities but also their inane games, spam from other users, advertisements from all sorts of snake oil salesmen, and "friends" who you've barely, if ever, had contact with.

    I'll stick to other ways to keep in contact with the people I really care about. The rest of them can stick their social media somewhere unpleasant.

  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo ( 1000167 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:12PM (#32201708)
    The problem isn't the opt-in. The problem is the arbitrary changing of the TOS with little fanfare. I will grant you that I am a giant hypocrite since I doubt I'll be abandoning Facebook any time soon. I think I was able to deal with TV and radio because it was just broad advertising. Being targeted just seems a little creepier.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:16PM (#32201774)

    I agree.

    But what about when I configure my Facebook account to only share information with people on my friends list. That's the first thing I did when I signed up. And yet at least 3 times now Facebook has changed their privacy policies and set all or parts of my private account to be public by default. Literally, every 3-6 months there's some new "feature" rolled out that, by default, shares my private information publicly unless I specifically opt-out... by finding the confusingly labeled checkbox on an account settings page three links deep.

  • by rueger ( 210566 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:25PM (#32201846) Homepage
    The goal of FB is to sell eyeballs to advertisers. Like Google they figured out that packaging users into nice groups makes them worth more money.

    What they're doing now is eliminating all of the people that likely aren't making them revenue - the losers, the people with no profile info, the grouches that aren't in the advertiser's target group.

    In other words, every time some slashdotter or blogger drops out of Facebook they're actually helping FB to be MORE successful!
  • by kuzb ( 724081 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:27PM (#32201862)
    Just deleted my account. Screw facebook.
  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:33PM (#32201916) Homepage Journal

    "Our eyes and minds are being sold to advertisers and you don't find that troubling?"

    For a second I thought you were referring to the TV and Radio broadcast industry as it has existed for the last... oh,70 to 80 years?

    Leela: Didn't you have ads in the 21st century?"
    Fry: Well sure, but not in our dreams. Only on TV and radio, and in magazines, and movies, and at ball games... and on buses and milk cartons and t-shirts, and bananas and written on the sky. But not in dreams, no siree.

  • Unlikely (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:34PM (#32201924)

    I see it more like a meeting to tell everyone "if you don't shut up and smile to it, you're fired". And it's not sent as a memo because it could be forwarded.

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:34PM (#32201926) Homepage

    Not really. Users are product, but unlike most industries this "product" has legs and can walk off on it's own. The more product Facebook has, the more valuable it is to it's customers. The less product, the less valuable. Now, the major reason people use Facebook is that the other people they know also use Facebook. The larger a percentage of the people they know that use something other than Facebook, the less incentive there is for them to use Facebook too. This is one thing Google gets: no matter how profitable something may seem in the short term, if it scares off or runs off your product it's not a good idea in the long term.

    And it isn't just this one thing. Facebook's gotten some press lately over employers looking over people's profiles. The new forced networks based on things like employer don't help people with jobs feel comfortable, which makes them more likely to drop off Facebook. Which makes everyone they know just a little more likely to drop off too.

    The whole thing isn't linear. Reach a critical mass and your product base grows exponentially. Drop below that critical mass, and your product base implodes exponentially too. I think Facebook's starting to worry that if they don't do something they may drop below critical mass.

  • by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:35PM (#32201934)

    I'd drop $5 on Fark before I'd drop $5 on Facebook.

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:44PM (#32202008) Journal

    Thanks for that link. Well, I guess from now on I am allowed to tell Facebook users that they are "dumb fucks" according to the Facebook founder and CEO.

    It always felt quite good not to be a Facebook user, but now it's even more pleasant!

  • Re:Limey (Score:3, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @07:53PM (#32202088) Homepage

    The problem isn't the opt-in.

    I was referring to the fact you do not have to use Facebook.

  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metrometro ( 1092237 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:00PM (#32202166)

    If you think it's OK that the Internet is turning into what the TV and Radio broadcasting industry has given us for the last 80 years, then yeah, it's all good. I, however, will fight this with everything I've got. It's worth it.

  • by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:02PM (#32202176)

    "The ability of Facebook to generate revenues requires the exploitation of their users data and their privacy - if they want to keep it "free" for the users."

    The HELL it does. That's 100% NOT true. That may well be the spin their marketing droids spout, but it is absolutely not, in any way, true.

    TV advertising remains the most lucrative form of advertising. It does not require detailed information about all its viewers. They know demographics, and they occasionally survey samples to validate that, but no personal information is needed. And this system works.

    It is pretty easy to work out Facebook demographics. They do not need to target-market to this level of granularity. The only reason they are doing so, is because people at Facebook (and Google for that matter) are letting them.

    There's enough eyes on Facebook that they WILL generate revenue from ads targeted at the whole Facebook demographic, rather than individually targeted ads.

    There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that Facebook needs to hand over private information -- other than naked greed.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:03PM (#32202182)
    That is exactly the problem. The company reflects the attitude of those who run it. So long as Zuckerberg has no concern about the privacy of the users of Facebook, there will be no privacy for the users of Facebook. The "all hands" meeting is little more than a public relations event to give the illusion that Faebook is doing something about privacy.


    The only way to bring privacy and security to Facebook is to replace Zuckerberg with someone who cares about the privacy of Facebook users. Until Zuckerberg is replaced, little or nothing will change.

  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:06PM (#32202204)

    There will be no "getting a handle on the corporate takeover"- Corporate America sponsors the largest part of US "government"; there is very little divide between the two. In time it -will- turn into cable vision, and there's not a damned thing you can do about it. The cute little policy rulings by the FCC, the passionate wailings of the EFF are no more than attempts to hold back the tide with a rake- The last twitches of a failed republic. Take an objective look at things.... The power -will- follow the money; corporate America has and will continue to use phenomenal amounts of money to bend government to it's will; They've got all the time and money they need- do you really think they'll give up / stop?

  • Re:Limey (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BitHive ( 578094 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:28PM (#32202364) Homepage

    Yep, in the end the panopticon emerged because enough people chose to opt in. No conspiracy required.

  • by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:31PM (#32202392)

    My Facebook profile contains nothing that I wouldn't want my mom, boss, pastor, or future employer to see.

    It may more likely be your (public) list of friends, rather than any other particular piece of info that you choose to share, that creates problems in the future. There was a time back in the 50s when just being seen talking to the wrong person could land you on a blacklist.

    I still find the idea that people willingly post lists of all their friends and acquaintances for anyone to see to be a bit mind-boggling. Shit does happen. Then again, maybe I draw suspicion on myself for not doing just that...

  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by metrometro ( 1092237 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:38PM (#32202454)

    Actually, I help run a small but scrappy nonprofit dedicated to providing democracies with good information, and part of that is looking after the tools that make that possible. []

    I know it's Slashdot, but some of us actually do mean what we say.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:51PM (#32202562)

    This already has happened. MySpace's base is eroding, and we already have seen Friendster and Orkut essentially crater. I'm sure sooner or later, someone is going to come out with a social networking service that can one-up Facebook. Then if it can get people to move there, FB will get left in the dust as last year's social networking, similar to how Geocities is remembered.

    FB needs to start valuing the privacy of its users. If not, there are people out there who will happily capitalize on this mistake and offer everything FB does, but better and easier to use privacy settings.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @08:58PM (#32202628)

    Five bucks says the meeting is less about how to respect peoples' privacy than it is about how to more surreptitiously subvert it.

  • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) * on Thursday May 13, 2010 @09:05PM (#32202686)

    My opinion is that if you post personally identifiable information to a public website

    Part of the problem is that these are not entirely "public" websites, and there were promises about your privacy in Facebook's published policies. Over time those policies have changed, and by consequence the level of privacy has changed despite what was originally promised. If privacy changes are retrospective in effect to their application to your submitted information that's very, very bad. If your argument is that nobody should have any expectation of privacy even on a website with a published privacy policy and "privacy controls", I think that your argument is wrong and instead companies who don't stick to their own promises should face some consequences, as their users inevitably will.

    I suggest you take a look at this timeline from the EFF: []

  • Re:Limey (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @09:26PM (#32202814)
    Only to the recently cool.
  • by Rival ( 14861 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @09:49PM (#32202976) Homepage Journal

    If they offered the option of a subscription service, and in return I got no advertising and had complete control over my privacy settings, I would totally do it. I use Facebook a lot, not just to interact with my friends, but to get the word out about updates to my website and new music tracks I make. $5-$10 a month for something as ubiquitous as Facebook would be well worth the money, in my opinion.

    You will never have "complete control over your privacy settings" as long as Facebook keeps the "Friend's Apps Have Access To Your Data" permission. Facebook will not remove that, because if they did, major application developers would stop making free Facebook apps. Access to your personal information is why Zynga (the maker of virtually ALL the most popular Facebook applications []) gives away their games.

    The real problem is that Facebook suckers people in with a semblance of privacy and control over it, then changes the Terms of Service -- over and over again, often with little or no notice -- then makes the changes retroactive and sells your personal information to all interested parties.

    If they defaulted to sane privacy settings and opt-in marketing "features", there would be no current uproar. They could still make money from ads like normal sites do; they already have insane numbers of page hits. If they behaved responsibly in this way, and then offered enhanced functionality (such as customizable layouts, themes, members-only applications, &c.) for a monthly or annual fee, then I would very likely subscribe. I do use Facebook on a daily basis to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, and in that regard it works quite well.

    But who am I kidding? Their track record is soiled so badly that it would take a complete change of ownership, management, privacy settings and implementation, before I could trust them enough to type any credit card or other payment information in the same browser session as Facebook -- let alone into their page.

  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by surmak ( 1238244 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @09:56PM (#32203032)

    I think the real problem is not Facebook, but a system that allows businesses to retroactively and without notification, change the the agreement that the user agreed to when business relationship was first established.

    If Facebook wants to change the TOS, privacy policy, or anything else, about the service, they should have to require an affirmative opt-in from the user first. They have the right (in the absence of a contract) to cancel a user's account, on the service, but not to change the terms or settings. If they want to change the terms, they can either advertise how great the new features are, and ask users to opt-in to them, or they can put up a notification at the next log-in telling exactly what has changed, and require the user to accept or reject the changes. (Depending on how critical the changes are to the business, a rejection may require closing the account.),

    In a just world, that is how all terms with a business should be. It is unconscionable to require the users to keep checking a document on a website with no notification that the terms have changes. And yet, Facebook, ISPs, credit cards, and many other businesses scam their users with such sneakwrap provisions.

  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LaminatorX ( 410794 ) <sabotage.praecantator@com> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @10:39PM (#32203244) Homepage

    :"Where did they all go?"

    :::"Economies of scale happened to them."

    Not so, the same fate befell the small players as did the big national ISPs and online services: They got squeezed out of the broadband market by last-mile carriers abusing their monopolies.

  • by Cryolithic ( 563545 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @10:51PM (#32203326)
    It's who the others are that concerns me. When I joined facebook years ago, it was a great tool to connect with friends that live in the city I previously lived in. These are people I genuinely want to stay in contact with and know how they are doing, but I am not a phone type of person. I don't like talking on the phone, so this was a great way to stay in contact. Everything in my profile at that time was shared *only* with these people. As time has passed and Facebook changed it's TOS, more of my stuff has become available to the entire internet. This is not what I want.
  • Re:Limey (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:31PM (#32203538)

    Serious? Our eyes and minds are being sold to advertisers and you don't find that troubling?

    No. Seeing a business taking advantage of the state of affairs is not troubling, it's to be expected. What is troubling is the complete willingness of people to give away their private information, and when you ask them why they tolerate a company acting like that, they say "Who cares?" The problem isn't the company, the problem is the people themselves.

  • Re:Limey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Eskarel ( 565631 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:37PM (#32203570)

    The issue with facebook is really rather simple.

    Facebook's value for its investors is that it's a gigantic comprehensive advertising database where the marks *cough* I mean customers input all the data on their own. People put information into Facebook that they'd never tell someone taking a survey and you don't even have to pay someone to ask them the questions. Achieving this goal is basically top on Facebook's list of long term priorities, just as it will be on any other free social networking site which doesn't want to operate at a massive loss.

    The conflict is that the users of facebook didn't sign up for that. They want and quite rightfully expect a certain level of privacy for the content they post on the site. You might argue that telling everyone about your personal life is the antithesis of privacy, but privacy is about your ability to determine your own level of disclosure, not having some specific level of disclosure which the older generations find appropriate.

    Essentially the end result of all of this is that every 6 months or so, facebook tries to turn all the information it has into cold hard cash and shortly thereafter their userbase throws a wobbly and they have to back out.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:43PM (#32203612)

    Wow. I hope I can be a rebel and brag like you someday.

  • Re:Limey (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cruciform ( 42896 ) on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:45PM (#32203624) Homepage

    If they happened to maintain the levels of privacy the users agreed to without changing them up and forcing the users to play catch up it wouldn't be an issue.

    Instead of having control over the dispersion of information among their social network people are sticking fingers in the dike to plug up new leaks every day. People may be overly trusting with their data, but if they have to agree to terms of service then Facebook should have some obligation to honor the users rules of dissemination.

    So on that note, gut your Facebook profile today [] or delete it altogether.

  • by nacturation ( 646836 ) * <nacturation @ g m> on Thursday May 13, 2010 @11:49PM (#32203640) Journal

    That's why I created my new social networking site "Holocaust".

    Pseudo-on-topic-rant: what's with the asterisk in "diaspora*"? Every time I read an article about it I want to scroll to the bottom of the page to see what the footnote says.

  • by Todd Knarr ( 15451 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:23AM (#32204346) Homepage

    I think it'll take more than an alternative popping up. There's plenty of alternatives to LiveJournal, for instance, but that hasn't significantly hurt LJ's position. I think what it'll take is a number of closely-spaced nasty events where regular people got seriously hurt (fired from work, say) over things they thought they'd secured on Facebook but that were actually exposed through Facebook's new networks. When that happens you'll see a critical mass abandon Facebook, but I doubt before that.

  • by msgmonkey ( 599753 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @02:35AM (#32204408)

    One thing I find disturbing is that even when/if Facebook backs down, it has already given away your information. For example when they decided to put what you're a "fan" of in your public profile that any web-crawler can see. Even if they backed down, I'm sure that information is now stored in a number of databases outside of Facebook and you don't have to be completely paranoid to think maybe Facebook has a hand in this.

  • Re:Limey (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jaruzel ( 804522 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @04:11AM (#32204744) Homepage Journal

    Government made the internet, and they goddamn well better get a handle on the corporate takeover of it before it turns completely into cable television.

    I totally agree with this point. I am sick and tired of following a news headline in my RSS reader only to find that the destination page is just an embedded video player of some talking head hack reading out loud the article I was fully prepared to read for myself in the first place.

    If I wanted to watch TV, I'd turn it on. Now, get off my lawn!


  • Re:Limey (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Aradiel ( 1631073 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @04:54AM (#32204916)
    It's somewhat like telling someone something personal that is relevant to the conversation at hand, on their guarantee that they tell no one else. Then 6 months later they sell the story to a newspaper without your consent.
  • Re:Limey (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata ( 1282944 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @05:07AM (#32204966)

    What a bunch of bullshit. The people moderating this nonsense up are letting their ideology show.

    The difference between then and now is huge. For one, websites in general are more secure (you can't fuck up a messageboard anymore just by typing in !). They're much, MUCH more well-designed, just go look through for evidence of this. Forum softwares are DRASTICALLY better, instead of relying on geocities people register their own .com easily and affordably; e-mail accounts are MUCH easier to get (remember why hotmail got big?). Music, video (youtube, etc) are all easily transferred over the internet when it wasn't possible before. Internet shopping has matured greatly and amazon, newegg, and smaller sites offer great deals--yeah, yeah, ebay went downhill, whatever... So many amazing sites exist now that weren't even imaginable back then.

    Yeah, let's just ignore Hulu (oh wait, that's the corporate takeover of the internet according to PopeRatzo),, all the blogs that have popped up by experts in their fields, the rise of bittorrent, Steam (for gaming), Google and the many peripheral services they provide, oh I could go on and on.

    There's not much to whine about other then the death of usenet (although I insist it died because forum softwares improved and became accessible outside websites such as insidetheweb and ezboards) and the rise of spam.

    The underlying technology is just vastly superior, if you disagree you can just shut up and go back to dialup and prove me wrong.

  • Re:Limey (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrogers ( 85392 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @06:36AM (#32205344)

    What is troubling is the complete willingness of people to give away their private information, and when you ask them why they tolerate a company acting like that, they say "Who cares?"

    Nobody I've talked to about this has ever said "Who cares?". The most common reaction is "Yeah, I don't like it either, but all my friends are on Facebook." And that doesn't mean people are mindlessly imitating their friends - "All my friends are on Facebook" means "All my friendships depend, in part, on Facebook."

    It's easy to call that shallow, but the fact is that even in solid, long-lasting friendships, visibility matters. Willingly cutting yourself off from contact with your friends for the sake of privacy is seen by many people as a snub, just as it would be if you went into your room and shut the door instead of hanging out in the living room. If people don't see you on Facebook, their first thought isn't likely to be, "Oh, he's probably making a stand against intrusive corporate surveillance. What a great guy. I'll write him a letter instead." In fact their first thought isn't likely to be about you at all, because you just made yourself invisible.

    So no, the problem isn't the users. The problem is the marketers who've realised they can use our need to keep in touch with our friends as a lever to extract information we'd never normally reveal to a stranger. The people who deliberately manipulate and exploit us are the ones we should be blaming, not each other.

  • by Siridar ( 85255 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @10:04AM (#32206730)

    ahh, but if your friends don't remove *their* apps, they'll have access to your data. Have you ever noticed there's no "block all apps, except those that I specifically allow" option?

  • by swordgeek ( 112599 ) on Friday May 14, 2010 @11:19AM (#32207634) Journal

    I like the idea, but it's a geek idea - not an average user idea.

    As an example of what I mean, I went to the diaspora website as an average user, expecting an alternative to facebook. Instead of seeing "register here and create your profile", I saw several paragraphs explaining the distributed paradigm, how your local profile for different web-applications is stored elsewhere (on your computer or in 'the cloud'), and so forth.

    Guess what? People don't want to read. People don't want to have to figure out a new paradigm that involves personal involvement. What people want is facebook, but with a better interface and security policy. (and with Zuckerberg nowhere to be seen)

    How many people use citizendium over wikipedia? How many people muck with bittorrent or even grooveshark, vs. buying songs on iTunes? How many auction sites have usurped eBay, after they changed their pricing model, paypal affiliation, etc.? People just don't switch to something better-but-different, unless it's (a) familiar looking, and/or (b) totally ground-breakingly new *for them* (i.e. the background and model don't matter).

egrep -n '^[a-z].*\(' $ | sort -t':' +2.0