Eikonal Blog


Facebook privacy? What Facebook privacy?

Filed under: FaceBook, privacy — sandokan65 @ 10:01

Absence of user data privacy at FaceBook:



  • an insightful comment at user discussion thread “How would you grade Facebook’s handling of users’ privacy?” (The Wall Street Journal, 2010.05.21) – http://online.wsj.com/community/groups/privacy-law-280/topics/how-would-you-grade-facebooks:

      Keep in mind, the CEO is still a punk. I don’t care how smart he may be, how much real-life experience and business experience could Zuckerberg really have? Do you expect him to be looking out for your best interests? Not a chance. He’s just another Silicon Valley huckster out to make money on YOUR information.

      I’ve been on FB for about 1.5 years now and I’ve always been skeptical about how good their privacy is. Consequently, I don’t do ANY Facebook apps. No matter which app you choose, they all require complete access to not only MY information but also to any of my FRIEND’S information. It’s one thing to give access for me, but I can’t abide by compromising my friend’s info.

      Keep in mind FB users: when you friend someone on FB, not only do they have access to all of your posts, but they also have access to any posts that your friends put on your wall. And…if your friends have “light” privacy settings, all sorts of insights could be gained by anyone about you or your friends.

  • “Facebook, MySpace Confront Privacy Loophole” (WSJ.com, 2010.05.21) – http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704513104575256701215465596.html

      Facebook, MySpace and several other social-networking sites have been sending data to advertising companies that could be used to find consumers’ names and other personal details, despite promises they don’t share such information without consent.

      … Most social networks haven’t bothered to obscure user names or ID numbers from their Web addresses, said Craig Wills, a professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, who has studied the issue.

      The sites may have been breaching their own privacy policies as well as industry standards, which say sites shouldn’t share and … See Moreadvertisers shouldn’t collect personally identifiable information without users’ permission. Those policies have been put forward by advertising and Internet companies in arguments against the need for government regulation. …

      … For most social-networking sites, the data identified the profile being viewed but not necessarily the person who clicked on the ad or link. But Facebook went further than other sites, in some cases signaling which user name or ID was clicking on the ad as well as the user name or ID of the page being viewed. By seeing what ads a user clicked on, an advertiser could tell something about a user’s interests. …

      …”If you are looking at your profile page and you click on an ad, you are telling that advertiser who you are,”…



  • Facebook helps you connect and share with the people in your life. Whether you want to or not. – http://youropenbook.org/

      # What has Facebook done wrong?

      1) Facebook has made two clear mistakes here. First, they do not do a good job of indicating how public each piece of information you share on the site will be.

      2) Second, they change the rules far too often. If you understood Facebook’s privacy settings two years ago (or even six months ago) that information would be worse than useless with today’s bewildering settings.

      # How can I tell what information Facebook is sharing about me?

      There is a project here to make this information clear: http://www.rabidgremlin.com/fbprivacy/. However be warned that it does require that you trust the author of that project.






  • “The Big Game, Zuckerberg and Overplaying your Hand” (The Jason Calacanis Weblog blog) – http://calacanis.com/2010/05/12/the-big-game-zuckerberg-and-overplaying-your-hand/

      Who’s been Zucked and how? Let’s take a look back:

    • 1. FourSquare was Zucked when Facebook stole their check-in feature.
    • 2. Twitter was Zucked when Facebook stole their public facing profiles.
    • 3. Facebook users got Zucked when the site flipped their privacy
      setting–three different times!
    • 4. The co-founder of Facebook was allegedly Zucked when he was kicked out of the company he helped found.
    • 5. The founders of ConnectU got Zucked when he allegedly screwed them over by not delivering their social network and then launching Facebook at the same time–and joked about it!
    • 6. Harvard reporters reportedly got Zucked when Mark hacked their accounts to try and stop a negative story/investigation about him.
  • “Facebook’s Open Disdain For Privacy” by John Gapper (Business Insider, 2010.05.12) – http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-zuckerberg-has-recently-been-displaying-a-disregard-bordering-on-disdain-for-facebook-users-privacy-2010-5


  • “10 Things to Remember About Facebook Privacy and Security” by Don Reisinger (eWeek, 2010.05.10) – http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Cloud-Computing/10-Things-to-Remember-About-Facebook-Privacy-and-Security-495804/
    • 1. There are privacy concerns
    • 2. There are holes
    • 3. Others can only get what they’re offered
    • 4. Children have no place on Facebook
    • 5. Facebook’s privacy settings are actually useful
    • 6. The Web isn’t the place to share sensitive information
    • 7. Sometimes privacy isn’t best for a social network
    • 8. The alternatives aren’t any better
    • 9. Some privacy is gone forever
    • 10. It’s easy to blame Facebook




  • How to Delete Your Facebook Account with Extreme Prejudice (and a Bit of Style) – http://bit.ly/fb-privacy-with-style (YouTube)
  • “Top Ten Reasons You Should Quit Facebook” by Dan Yoder (GizModo) – http://gizmodo.com/5530178/

    • 10. Facebook’s Terms Of Service are completely one-sided
    • 9. Facebook’s CEO has a documented history of unethical behavior
    • 8. Facebook has flat out declared war on privacy
    • 7. Facebook is pulling a classic bait-and-switch
    • 6. Facebook is a bully
    • 5. Even your private data is shared with applications
    • 4. Facebook is not technically competent enough to be trusted
    • 3. Facebook makes it incredibly difficult to truly delete your account
    • 2. Facebook doesn’t (really) support the Open Web
    • 1. The Facebook application itself sucks



  • “Erasing Your Digital Tracks on the Web” by Tony Bradley (PcWorld, 2010.05.02) – http://www.pcworld.com/article/195270/xxx.html
    We routinely enter personal information at various sites on the Web–and the Internet never forgets. Here are some sound ways to take your data back.

    Almost half a billion people are members of Facebook, and you may very well be one of them. But have you read the Facebook Privacy Policy? If you’re like most people, the answer is no, in which case you may be only vaguely (or not at all) aware of what that policy’s mind-numbing text says with regard to the myriad ways that Facebook may share your information with other parties.



  • “Report: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Doesn’t Believe In Privacy” by Eliot Van Buskirk (Wired, 2010.04.28) – http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/04/report-facebook-ceo-mark-zuckerberg-doesnt-believe-in-privacy/
    “Off record chat w/ Facebook employee,” begins Bilton’s fateful tweet. “Me: How does Zuck feel about privacy? Response: [laughter] He doesn’t believe in it.”
  • “Facebook’s High Pressure Tactics: Opt-in or Else” by Sarah Perez (ReadWriteWeb, 2010.04.28) – http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebooks_high_pressure_tactics_opt-in_or_else.php
    But even for those who actually do consider the implications of everything about themselves being made public, they’ll soon encounter another issue. Something that Li didn’t explain in the cheery blog post was what would happen if you refused to link to these new Pages: your profile information will be removed and your profile page will be left empty.

    … So what should your takeaway be from all this mess? Look before you link.

    In fact, it may be best if you just assume that everything on Facebook will be public from now on and act accordingly.
  • “Five ways Facebook should improve user privacy” by Ian Paul (PC World) – http://www.macworld.com/article/150901/2010/04/facebook_privacy.html
  • “A Handy Facebook-to-English Translator” by Richard Esguerra (EFF 2010.04.28) – https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/handy-facebook-english-translator

    Term Meaning Examples
    Public information This is the term Facebook uses to describe information that it wants to share with anybody and everybody. Knowing what information Facebook considers “public” at any given moment can be confusing, but it’s key to understanding what information Facebook may share with its business partners without seeking further permission. Any time “public information” is referenced now, Facebook is talking about your: name, profile picture, current city, gender, networks, complete list of your friends, and your complete list of connections (formerly the list of pages that you were a “fan” of, but now including profile information like your hometown, education, work, activities, likes and interests, and, in some cases, your likes and recommendations from non-Facebook pages around the web).
    Visibility Facebook offers a number of controls over what information is “visible” on your profile. This determines what can be seen by someone who visits your profile page, but does not change whether the information is “public information.” “Keep in mind that Facebook Pages you connect to are public. You can control which friends are able to see connections listed on your profile, but you may still show up on Pages you’re connected to.” LIkewise, “While you do have the option to hide your Friend List from being visible on your profile, it will be available to applications you use and websites you connect with using Facebook.” Because Facebook deems this information “public,” it reserves the right to share that information with its business partners and third party websites, regardless of your visibility settings.
    Pages Facebook’s “Pages” are distinct from regular Facebook user profiles, and have generally been used to represent non-user entities like companies, non-profits, products, sports teams, musicians, etc. Community Pages are a new type of Page “dedicated to a topic or experience,” such as cooking. These will replace interests and activities. Last December, Facebook made your Page affiliations available to everyone — non-Friends, advertisers, and data miners included — by classifying Pages as publicly available information.
    Connections You create a “Connection” to most of the things that you click a “Like button” for, and Facebook will treat those relationships as public information. If you Like a Page on Facebook, that creates a public connection. If you Like a movie or restaurant on a non-Facebook website (and if that site is using Facebook’s OpenGraph system), that creates a public connection to either the applicable Page on Facebook or the affiliated website. Last week, Facebook announced a plan to transform most of the bits in your profile (including your hometown, education, work, activities, interests, and more) into connections, which are public information. If you refuse to make these items into a Connection, Facebook will remove all unlinked information.
    Social plugins Social plugins allow other websites to incorporate Facebook features and share data with Facebook. Examples of social plugins include “Like buttons” that share information back to your Facebook profile when clicked; an “Activity Feed” that will show content that you’ve Liked on that site to Facebook friends; and more. From the Facebook FAQ: “If you click “Like” or make a comment using a social plugin, your activity will be published on Facebook and shown to your Facebook friends who see an Activity Feed or Recommendations plugin on the same site. The things you like will be displayed publicly on your profile.”
    OpenGraph OpenGraph is a new Facebook program that grants any website a way to create objects that can become “connections” on Facebook user profiles. At the moment, some sites appear to be using OpenGraph in conjunction with the Facebook “Like button” in order to publish information back to your Facebook profile’s list of Pages — information that everyone is able to see. For example, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) appears to be using OpenGraph in conjunction with the Like button social plugin. When you click to Like a movie on IMDb, that movie gets added to your list of Pages.
    Instant Personalization Instant Personalization is a pilot program that allows a few non-Facebook websites to obtain and make use your public Facebook information as soon as you visit those websites. For example, the music website Pandora receives access the list of music artists that you Liked on Facebook in order to pick songs to play (for users who are logged into Facebook and who have not opted out of instant personalization). For users that have not opted out, Instant Personalization is instant data leakage. As soon as you visit the sites in the pilot program (Yelp, Pandora, and Microsoft Docs) the sites can access your name, your picture, your gender, your current location, your list of friends, all the Pages you have Liked — everything Facebook classifies as public information. Even if you opt out of Instant Personalization, there’s still data leakage if your friends use Instant Personalization websites — their activities can give away information about you, unless you block those applications individually.






  • “How to Delete Facebook Applications (and Why You Should)” by Sarah Perez (Read Write Web, 2010.04.22) – http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/how_to_delete_facebook_applications_and_why_you_should.php
      At Facebook’s f8 conference, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was removing restrictions on user data retention within Facebook applications. Previously, the company had a policy where developers couldn’t “store and cache any data for more than 24 hours,” Zuckerberg said while speaking to the audience of Facebook developers crowded into the San Francisco Design Center on Wednesday. “We’re going to go ahead and…get rid of that policy,” he said. The audience cheered. …
      …. How to Remove Facebook Applications: … there is something very easy everyone can do to minimize their risk and that’s delete the Facebook applications you no longer use. The process of doing so is incredibly simple. After signing into Facebook, do the following:

      • 1. Click on “Account” at the top-right of the screen.
      • 2. Click “Application Settings”
      • 3. Change the “Show” drop-down box to “Authorized.” This will show all the applications you’ve ever given permission to.
      • 4. In the resulting list, click the “X” button on the far right next to each app you want to remove to delete it.
      • 5. On the pop-up box that appears, click “Remove” then click “Okay” on the next box confirming the app was deleted.

      Repeat this process to remove all the apps you no longer use on a regular basis….

  • “Facebook’s Ambition” by Robert Scoble (Business Insider, Apr. 22, 2010) – http://www.businessinsider.com/facebooks-ambition-2010-4
  • “Facebook Plots its Future: Will it Be Our Overlord?” by Peter Smith (PCWorld, 2010.04.22) – http://www.pcworld.com/article/194765/facebook_plots_its_future_will_it_be_our_overlord.htmll
  • “Why I, Like, Really Dislike Facebook’s ‘Like’ Button” by Dan Tynan (PCWorld, 2010.04.22) – http://www.pcworld.com/article/194818/why_i_like_really_dislike_facebooks_like_button.html
  • “Facebook: Privacy Enemy Number One?” by Dan Costa (PCMagazine, 2010.04.22) – http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2362967,00.asp
  • “How to Opt Out of Facebook’s Instant Personalization” by Kurt Opsahl (EEF, 2010.04.22) – http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/how-opt-out-facebook-s-instant-personalization



  • “What’s a Little Cyberbullying Among Friends? Facebook Launches New Safety Center
    Written” by Sarah Perez (2010.04.13) – http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebook_launches_safety_center_to_educate_users.php

      … It’s a somewhat ironic statement from a company that recently prompted its 400-plus million users to accept “recommended” changes that opened up their data – including status updates, photos, videos, links and friend lists – to a public audience, revealing details that many users assumed were private.

      Around the same time as the “privacy debacle,” as we like to call it, unfolded, Facebook also announced a “Safety Advisory Board,” a group whose purpose is to review safety-related procedures and documentation as well as make suggestions regarding best practices and other procedures. How about this safe practice, Facebook: don’t publicize people’s private information?










  1. […] Boog (2010) Facebook Privacy, https://eikonal.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/facebook-privacy-what-facebook-privacy/ 22 May [date […]


    Pingback by ‘News Feed’ and privacy « Joanna Pappa 33 — 2011.06.04 @ 22:09

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    Pingback by New Facebook machinations « Eikonal Blog — 2011.11.30 @ 13:37

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