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Facebook Throws Privacy Advocates a Bone 126

sarysa writes "In response to a week-long assault by privacy advocates, and following a well publicized all-hands meeting, Facebook has introduced two new security features in response to privacy concerns. One feature allows users to whitelist devices associated with a Facebook account, and the other allows users who verify their identity to view previous logins. While both are useful features, they do nothing to address the recent privacy complaints."
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Facebook Throws Privacy Advocates a Bone

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  • What??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2010 @12:34PM (#32220336)

    This isn't a bone.. its not even scraps, its more like the leftover grease from a Macdonalds happy meal.

  • Red herring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @12:35PM (#32220346)

    is an idiomatic expression the purpose of which is to divert the audience from the truth or an item of significance. For example, in mystery fiction, an innocent party may be purposefully cast as highly suspicious through emphasis or descriptive techniques; attention is drawn away from the true guilty party.
    How is this any different than my bank forcing me to get an 'authorization code' via Text every time I login with a computer that doesn't have their cookie set?

    The ninth highest search on Google is "delete facebook account [sophos.com]"

    Looks like the house of cards is starting to crumble. I know it's stupid, but maybe if they kept it simple like back in the day.... (Although I love the API for batch uploading photos [github.com])

  • Non Sequitur (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sexybomber ( 740588 ) <boccilino.gmail@com> on Saturday May 15, 2010 @12:38PM (#32220358)
    The result of this will be very telling. If the firestorm over Facebook's privacy settings dies down after they roll out two features that have absolutely nothing to do with the problems people had with them, then people are even bigger sheep than I thought they were. I weep for the future of civilization.
  • by Rand310 ( 264407 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @12:38PM (#32220362)
    When you white-list your computer, the suggestions are something like "my home computer", and "office computer 1", and "vacation computer". This simply provides facebook with even more personal information to use in targeted advertising. If anything, though this does enhance security, it is at the expense of even more of the user's privacy.
  • by Protonk ( 599901 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @12:39PM (#32220376) Homepage
    Insofar as those two things are separate. Both of these measures are security measures. The former a convenience measure designed hopefully to get people to use better passwords in exchange for not having to remember them on a half dozen mobile devices. The latter for damage control of sorts.

    The fundamental problem remains: facebook's founder and corporate elite have a specific interpretation of privacy, identity and self. Their service is built around this interpretation and so their users are forced to share it, operationally. That is the problem which eats away at the core of facebook. Small feature changes only shore up the edges.
  • Re:wha? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:03PM (#32220548)

    Email, a blog and - if just for photos - Picasa; all freely available from Google...

  • by junglebeast ( 1497399 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:14PM (#32220632)

    I think a lot of people are angry. At this point a lot of people are revolting by using fake names, or putting less info in their profile. But you can't really leave it yet because the social connections it provides are useful even if you hate it. I think that people are just waiting for something better to come along, and when that thing comes, it will give Facebook a run for its money and force them to either change their ways or lose the battle. Remember when Facebook took over myspace? The same can happen again.

  • Re:BFD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Interoperable ( 1651953 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:29PM (#32220742)

    One of the most important aspects of friendship is trust. A friend is not defined by by clicking the "friend" button on a website, a friend is someone that you share a bond of mutual understanding and respect with. Friends have always had privileged access to embarrassing information, stories and photos because they're the people that you trust information like that with and sharing it strengthens those bonds.

    Facebook doesn't change the nature of friendship, it just provides new ways of communicating. Providing people that you don't trust with information about your personal life is a poor idea, as it has always been. "Friending" someone changes the access that that person has to your personal information and such access should be granted on the basis of trust and respect. People need to be aware of the access privileges that they provide to different groups of peers. Facebook is a useful tool and can be almost a necessity for remaining in touch, but nobody is forcing you to change who you trust your information with.

    One thing that I think would be a good idea for Facebook to implement would be rule-based access privileges for different groups that you can define. The groups shouldn't be visible to anyone other than yourself, of course; the last thing you'd need would be for "friends" to see that they weren't "good friends."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:30PM (#32220756)
    Funny how Facebook implements these new security measures when most of the uproar has been over privacy issues relating to changes in their terms of service (changes which were made without user consent or re-agreement).

    Seems like an attempt at misdirection to me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:43PM (#32220822)

    I agree -- FB making some big hoopla about a couple of 'security' issues they're implementing is just smoke and mirrors. Security and Privacy can be interrelated but they are most definitely not interchangeable. It's sad when tech media writers cannot distinguish between the two and so easily fall into such an obvious ploy.

  • Re:BFD (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ZekoMal ( 1404259 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:47PM (#32220850)
    I hate to say it, but you are unusual. Go to a college. Any college. Every dorm at my college followed the same path: Facebook friend your room mates and everyone on your floor, so you can chat with them. Then shout responses to their Facebook messages so you can both laugh out loud. I wish I were joking.

    The snarky, yet 'insightful', AC comment claiming that I need new friends (as if I was using my own circle of friends as an example, ha) is a beautiful dream. In the end, the average human being is stupid, and on Facebook. You can either dissociate yourself with the millions of people who use Facebook, or you can swallow your egotistical pride. The choice is yours, although you won't always like the results.
  • by schmidt349 ( 690948 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @01:47PM (#32220854)

    If you can think of a way to "manipulate" or embarrass me because I like Into Thin Air and How to Train Your Dragon, then go nuts. You could maybe tell my DGS about the children's movie but he'll probably just ask me if his kids will like it. You know how nine year-olds are (the kids, not the DGS).

    Your world is paranoid, hostile, and generally malevolent. That tells me a lot more about you than your Facebook profile would have.

    Font was a screwup (selected Extrans by mistake).

  • by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:16PM (#32221050)

    More down to earth - Was that DJ right? Is Facebook losing huge numbers? Is there any way to know for sure?

    If you're on Facebook, there's a really easy way to tell: Have any of your friends dropped off?

    I can say that none of my friends or family have, and every single one of them is aware of the privacy issues that have been talked about. It's in the mainstream news, after all.

    Until there's an easy way for them to migrate to another service - and when I say easy, I mean an easy way to move all their photos, etc. and perhaps even more importantly, apps such as iLike/Music or any of the popular games - they'll very well stay put on Facebook.

  • by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:27PM (#32221140) Homepage

    I didn't "quit"[*] because I was afraid my data was being leaked to my phone. I "quit" because it was being leaked across the whole goddamn Internet. This move is beyond worthless, and shows just how Zuck doesn't get it.

      [*] No one really quits. They just "deactivate," while facebook keeps all your data. Remember when Facebook said that users owned their own data [facebook.com], yet never provided a way to completely delete it, nor export it [acm.org]? Talk is cheap. Platitudes even cheaper. Code is law [harvardmagazine.com].

  • Re:Non Sequitur (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mmaniaci ( 1200061 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @02:57PM (#32221284)
    I pity the fool who depends on Facebook for his well-being.
  • They don't get it (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 15, 2010 @03:05PM (#32221368)

    "It's clear that despite our efforts, we are not doing a good-enough job [of] communicating the changes that we're making," Elliot Schrage, vice president for public policy at Facebook said to the New York Times.

    No. You're not getting it.

    If people disagree with what you're doing, it's not a question of your needing to communicate better.

  • by CuteSteveJobs ( 1343851 ) on Saturday May 15, 2010 @05:09PM (#32222082)
    Zuckenberg's strategy on privacy has long been to do something, see what the reaction is, then peddle backwards or forwards as appropriate. Then do it again. Creeping forward while they're not looking has worked brilliantly for Google. I hate the idea of their recording my search history and scanning my e-mail, but slowly I've learned (unwisely?) to trust them and so while those things bother me still, they don't bother me so much as they used to.

    Look at Google's recent scanning of Wireless networks from the Streetview cars. Supposedly this was an accident. Oh LOL. But if they do it again in a few years maybe by then people won't mind. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/13/2898947.htm?section=business [abc.net.au] In most countries we even accept Google peeping over our fences, literally! When this news broke I remember some people (who presumably weren't employed by Google) vigorously defending Google's rights to do this: the public screaming for less privacy. http://www.smh.com.au/technology/biz-tech/google-to-reshoot-japanese-street-view-images-20090615-c9f1.html [smh.com.au]

    We shot the messenger when Scott McNeally said we had no privacy - get over it, but he knew what we didn't: Never stand between a corporation and a pot of money.

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.