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Facebook Responds to EPIC FTC Timeline Complaint 150

An anonymous reader writes with a snippet from a ZDNet article: "The Electronic Privacy Information Center is unhappy with the way Facebook launched its new Timeline profile. Last month, the privacy organization complained Facebook went too far because it started rolling out the redesign without asking users first. EPIC then followed up with a (four-page letter (PDF) to the Federal Trade Commission asking it to investigate the new feature to insure that it meets with the terms of a November 29th FTC-Facebook settlement. Facebook denies these claims, saying that the Timeline launch has nothing to do with its users' privacy."
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Facebook Responds to EPIC FTC Timeline Complaint

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  • by DCTech ( 2545590 ) on Monday January 09, 2012 @09:44AM (#38636698)
    As far as I can see, the only change is how user profile is displayed. It's a cosmetic change. There is nothing visible that wasn't visible to begin with. The only change is that events and posts are grouped together based on their dates instead of that flat style that was before. But even then the dates were visible, they just weren't grouped together.
    • It just makes you even more aware/scared of all the things Facebook has on you. Which is good.
      Aside from the privacy-concerns of giving away so much information at once it is a really nice visualization feature.

    • one of Facebook's motive is to confuse users as much it can with respect to privacy. Timeline is doing that. for e.g., if u enable timeline any person on FB can see where u are born , what u did in which year n all type of activities. It helps advertisers whom FB is selling your information.
      • by DCTech ( 2545590 )
        Anyone could see those years and dates to begin with. They were always there. Timeline isn't helping advertisers in any way, nor is FB selling your information to them. That is their valuable asset, why would they be selling it? They run advertising system where you can somewhat target users, they're not selling information. And I've actually run a few ads on Facebook and you can't target that well, Google lets you target much more.
        • Anyone could see those years and dates to begin with. They were always there.

          According to the complaint in TFA, that is not quite true.

          EPIC described Facebook’s launch by saying the social networking giant is posting “archived user information” so as to make “old posts available under Facebook’s current downgraded privacy settings” all “without user consent.” Furthermore, the group noted “users have just a week to clean up their history before Timeline goes live.”

          So if you do nothing and the feature goes live, information that would have previously been not displayed due to your privacy settings will now be displayed.

      • one of Facebook's motive is to confuse users as much it can with respect to privacy. Timeline is doing that. for e.g., if u enable timeline any person on FB can see where u are born

        you mean people will be able to view what is already public record? oh the horror!

    • It's a cosmetic change. There is nothing visible that wasn't visible to begin with.

      Agreed. The backlash after any Facebook redesign is ridiculous. Now we have to complain to the FTC?

    • by Nursie ( 632944 )

      It will, however, make facebook worse.

      Not that this should be a legal issue, but every time they make a change to the interface, it gets worse.

    • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Monday January 09, 2012 @10:25AM (#38637012)
      Wait. I'm confused. There's privacy on Facebook? When did this happen?
      • There's always been privacy on Facebook. Any data that you place on Facebook is made difficult to access for anyone who doesn't pay Facebook.
    • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

      It used to get real slow to find posts more than a couple pages off the first wall page (things may have changed in 2 years though).

      But I agree, stuff used to be there. Also, don't you need to install a timeline app, and pick who gets to see a timeline vs your wall?

      I hardly feel it was shoved down users throats.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 09, 2012 @09:49AM (#38636738)

    I'm not a Facebook fan at all, but if anything it appears to me that the new timeline and accompanying activity view make it easer to hide, delete and change the audience of individual items.

  • Oh NOES!!!! (Score:2, Redundant)

    Facebook has changed its page layout again! Whatever shall we do?1!?!?!1/
  • by Pionar ( 620916 ) on Monday January 09, 2012 @09:53AM (#38636764)

    The first thing I noticed in TFS was the unmatched parentheses.

  • Facebook? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bytesex ( 112972 ) on Monday January 09, 2012 @10:04AM (#38636838) Homepage

    Facebook is not critical infrastructure (or even near it); users willingly and knowlingly signed up for what amounts to a toy. A toy with commercial motives.

    • Re:Facebook? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Monday January 09, 2012 @10:25AM (#38637018)

      Unfortunately, the way they work, they already have a profile on you even if you dont sign up on their serivce. So many websites add that "useful" Like button, that servers as a tracking trojan, that it's impossible to navigate without being caught and profiled by Facebook. They keep growing a profile on you even if you dont have an account. They'll just tie everything up the day you actually make an account to "check some friend's pictures" or something.

    • Re:Facebook? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Max Romantschuk ( 132276 ) <> on Monday January 09, 2012 @10:27AM (#38637034) Homepage

      Facebook is no mere toy. Used properly it is an efficient communications platform. Not perfect by any means, but denying Facebook's strength as a communications platform is really quite ignorant.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        .....ha ha ha ha ha ha

      • by http ( 589131 )
        What communication feature does Facebook have that email/IM does not?
        • What communication feature does Facebook have that email/IM does not?

          Tehnically: Nothing.

          In practice: I don't have to hunt for email addresses or tell my technically clueless friends how to use IM brand X. I just tell them that well talk/message on Facebook and from their perspective, things Just Work.

  • Facebook is ok on this one, to an extent.

    The only thing that I can tell the timeline does is make information on someone's profile page absolutely impossible to find. That should IMPROVE the users' security if nothing else.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This "free" service has a cost and that cost is the value that the company can extract from your information by selling it to whoever is willing to pay for it.
    Four-five years ago, the notion that FB was collecting and selling private info was dismissed as conspiracy theory. Today, it causes outrage.
    The remedy, as always is to stop using it. Judging by the ever increasing number of users, that's not happening, so the privacy concerns only bother us enough to register the token complaint but not enough to sto

  • There's a reason that there are two different words, one meaning "a fiscal investment against mishap" and the other meaning "to make certain."
    • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Webster's Dictionary [] disagrees.

      Definition of INSURE
      transitive verb
      1: to provide or obtain insurance on or for
      2: to make certain especially by taking necessary measures and precautions

  • this free service I use keeps doing things with out asking me first.
  • I wonder who Facebook isn't paying? Not to troll too much, but the government has been pretty corporatist lately. I suggest to Facebook to get some better paid lobbyists. Yes, I'm terribly cynical.
  • host file : etc...
  • Give FB users the option of paying 1 dollar per month (okay...99 cents) for the service. Offer premium options.

    Lord know they have plenty of well paid staff on board to build the option.

    Roll experimental services (that annoy people) out to all non-paying members, explain that they can avoid all such issues by paying the nominal fee. The 12.00 per year will give you some form of SLA and a requirement by FB to conform to some other norm. Paying clients will appreciate the extra voice they have, because they a

  • It's a lot easier to see if you left any old messages undeleted.

    Of course fb doesn't remove these messages. It just sets visibility = false and never forgets...

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984