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Home, my Facebook's taking me Home, my Facebook's taking me Home
April 5, 2013 5:09 AM   Subscribe

Facebook announces Facebook Home, a layer of apps for Android that turns your phone into a Facebook hub. The Verge has a review with pictures – they seem to like it. But Om Malik fears that Facebook Home destroys any notion of privacy for its users:
So if your phone doesn’t move from a single location between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. for say a week or so, Facebook can quickly deduce the location of your home. Facebook will be able to pinpoint on a map where your home is, whether you share your personal address with the site or not. It can start to build a bigger and better profile of you on its servers. It can start to correlate all of your relationships, all of the places you shop, all of the restaurants you dine in and other such data. The data from accelerometer inside your phone could tell it if you are walking, running or driving. As Zuckerberg said — unlike the iPhone and iOS, Android allows Facebook to do whatever it wants on the platform, and that means accessing the hardware as well.
posted by Rory Marinich (183 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
There's nothing in Om's list that a dozen other companies can't (or don't already) do. Google, Apple, Microsoft, et al.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:13 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, the figuring-out-where-you-live (And work!) thing is an explicit feature of the Google Now software in recent Android updates.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:14 AM on April 5, 2013


Oh, what people will give up for the chance to reconnect with people they were glad to be shot of, many years ago.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist at 5:14 AM on April 5, 2013 [26 favorites]


In my experience, a good number of people are spending all their phone time inside the Facebook app already. This doesn't seem much different really.
posted by smackfu at 5:15 AM on April 5, 2013


Fun fact: your cell phone could be helping transportation planners figure out how to better manage traffic flows, as some companies work with (anonymized) personal data from major cell phone carriers, figuring out where people live, work, shop, and how many people attend major events.
posted by filthy light thief at 5:16 AM on April 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, not switching to Android.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:19 AM on April 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Android allows Facebook to do whatever it wants on the platform, and that means accessing the hardware as well.

So this why when I came downstairs this morning, my wife's Android phone was dancing, dancing around a pot of water boiling on the stove, my iPhone slowly lowering into its roiling depths at the end of some sort of crude winch made from butcher's twine and an eggbeater. In the living room, the Chromebook and Kindle Fire had chased the iPad up a bookshelf, it having seen what the paid did to the Xbox.

And through it all the blue light on the Wii kept blinking, blinking, finally glad nobody has thought about it in years.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:19 AM on April 5, 2013 [74 favorites]


What amazes me is the way people are not just willing, but eager to make themselves into feudal serfs again, pledging their loyalty to their vendor of choice, be it Apple or Google or Facebook or Microsoft.

The Net balkanizes, and everything turns to shit, because people are easily tempted by a shiny gadget. We're selling Manhattan for glass beads, all over again.

All we have to do is stop taking bad deals. Instead of making yourself subservient to corporations, make them work for you.

Every time you buy an i-anything, or a closed Android device, or Windows 8, or install a program like this, you make the world a crappier place. It doesn't have to be this way. We can be in charge; we're the ones with the money.

If we won't part with it for devices that try to control our behavior ("sorry, citizen, that is an unauthorized use of your hardware") and spy on us, then manufacturers will stop making them.
posted by Malor at 5:20 AM on April 5, 2013 [44 favorites]


Just remember - Mr. Zuckerberg cared so much for the privacy of others he used their passwords to enter other computer systems.

Now where's that custom ROM for the Android so you can monitor and block outgoing traffic?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:20 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


There's nothing in Om's list that a dozen other companies can't (or don't already) do. Google, Apple, Microsoft, et al.

Yeah, if this is his big worry (and it's the only thing that articles discusses), it seems very much like he's just writing link bait.
posted by hoyland at 5:20 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, that's interesting, but can it report on the health of my colon?
posted by indubitable at 5:24 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


And, another note: until we stop taking these lousy deals, the deals will only get worse. They will keep pushing and pushing forever. There is no limit to how bad this crap can become.

Every time you take them up on a reprehensible offer like this, you help insure that the next offer is even more abusive.
posted by Malor at 5:24 AM on April 5, 2013 [8 favorites]


I genuinely look forward to the adjustment period wherein people confuse the status update box for the google search box:

Grandma
download kesha song free

Fourth Grade Teacher Mrs. Heller
how to cover up affair

Your Boss
UDDERS

FREE UDDERS

JPG UDDERS FREE

You
UDDERS
posted by griphus at 5:26 AM on April 5, 2013 [62 favorites]


Now where's that custom ROM for the Android so you can monitor and block outgoing traffic?

If you want per-app firewalling you can install AFWall+ on whatever ROM you like as long as you've got root.
posted by jaduncan at 5:26 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I want everyone spying on me all the time. I want computers to sell me things and I want the walls on the street to greet me by name and take my picture. I want a little nanoscopic camera inserted into my eyes that will record every waking second of my life and allow me to play them all back whenever I like.

I want complete and utter Singularity between me and the consumer choices the world offers.

If these devices are too clumsy to do this now, the fault is with them and not my personal freedom. I want to be the brightest blip on the datascreen and I am standing by for the greatest offer NOW.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:31 AM on April 5, 2013 [12 favorites]


Interesting how Open Source has given the world the exact opposite of what its promoters claimed. Andriod is free as in free beer, not free as in free speech.

The price people are willing to pay for free never disappoints.
posted by three blind mice at 5:34 AM on April 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


> Every time you buy an i-anything, or a closed Android device, or Windows 8, or install a program like this, you make the world a crappier place. It doesn't have to be this way. We can be in charge; we're the ones with the money.

You've ruled out all the smartphone companies with over 1% share of the market in the United States and Western Europe, except Blackberry. Surely you're not suggesting that storing our data on Microsoft Enterprise Server had been the answer to our need for personal freedoms all along.
posted by ardgedee at 5:34 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, if this is his big worry (and it's the only thing that articles discusses), it seems very much like he's just writing link bait.

I can't agree with that sentiment. I trust Apple far more than I'd trust Facebook with my location because of their different goals. Apple wants to sell me a new computer and phone every 2-3 years. Facebook wants to know every single bit of data they can possibly collect about me so they can sell me to advertisers.

The idea of a Facebook phone is extremely frightening from a privacy standpoint.
posted by letitrain at 5:36 AM on April 5, 2013 [27 favorites]


Interesting how Open Source has given the world the exact opposite of what its promoters claimed. Andriod is free as in free beer, not free as in free speech.

...AOSP says wat.
posted by jaduncan at 5:36 AM on April 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


...AOSP says wat.

What?
posted by GenericUser at 5:37 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interesting how Open Source has given the world the exact opposite of what its promoters claimed. Andriod is free as in free beer, not free as in free speech.

I have no idea what this sentiment has to do with people installing new Facebook software on their phone.
posted by smackfu at 5:39 AM on April 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


letitrain put good words to my feelings on this.

Apple wants to sell me stuff.

Facebook (and Google) just want to sell me.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:41 AM on April 5, 2013 [34 favorites]


Even forgetting the privacy issues, why would I want a phone interface that changes for no good reason every six months?
posted by stevis23 at 5:43 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's entirely true, but since the Facebook Home package can only be installed to Android, which is already designed to sell you to advertisers, well, good job noticing the open barn door but that horse is long-gone.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:44 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Even forgetting the privacy issues, why would I want a phone interface that changes for no good reason every six months?

Eh, people complain for two weeks about them and then get used to them. I prefer it to never changing things, and then after a while the whole interface just seems old and boring but is so fixed that it can never change.
posted by smackfu at 5:46 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interesting how Open Source has given the world the exact opposite of what its promoters claimed. Andriod is free as in free beer, not free as in free speech.

The price people are willing to pay for free never disappoints.


I don't think you understand how Android works. The "target users" of Android are device manufacturers and telecommunications companies. The Libre/Free aspect of Open Source is precisely what they use to build tailored, branded Android derivatives despite Google's preference for a unified platform that uses its services as the backbone.
posted by verb at 5:46 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Interesting how Open Source has given the world the exact opposite of what its promoters claimed. Andriod is free as in free beer, not free as in free speech.

Is it really all that surprising?

The average person does not have much of an opinion of (or even an awareness of) the principles of the open source movement. They do, however, have an opinion of (and an acute awareness of) how much money they have to spend to get things they want.

Free as in beer trumps free as in speech for most people, as it always has.

That said, I heard about this announcement yesterday, and my reaction then is my reaction now: so? Analysts are in a tizzy trying to say how this is a big game changer, but really, is it? The headline might as well be, "Company that monetizes walled gardens sees, duplicates walled gardens created by other companies".

It's a no-brainer, but it's also not really that interesting or exciting, despite what Zuckerberg would like people to think. The paradigm shift he's proclaiming is ... what? "We're going to make our own app store and it will be better BECAUSE REASONS"?

Time will tell, as it always does, but so far this seems like bandwagon jumping and marketing hype.
posted by tocts at 5:46 AM on April 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


What amazes me is the way people are not just willing, but eager to make themselves into feudal serfs again

But see, the thing is, 'kids these days' really don't care. My son (he's 16, so granted, he's not an old hand at life) and his friends and their generation really see nothing wrong with all of this. They like it. They like targeted ads and checking in and all that stuff. I do not understand it one bit.
posted by cooker girl at 5:48 AM on April 5, 2013


Apple wants to sell me stuff.

If by stuff, you mean "overpriced and functionally limited items which are primarily used as social status signals", then yes, Apple does want to sell you stuff. Congratulations on your purchase. Thank you for moving this conversation into a derail about unrelated Tech companies.
posted by zoo at 5:51 AM on April 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


There's nothing in Om's list that a dozen other companies can't (or don't already) do.

Then perhaps its time for your support for this bill: California Assembly Member Bonnie Lowenthal, a representative of the city of Los Angeles, has introduced a bill known as “The Right to Know Act of 2013″ that would compel California-based companies that store customers’ information to share that data with said customer upon request. If they do not comply, the companies can face legal consequences, including a civil suit on behalf of the subject.

Something else to consider about that pocket surveillance devices:
new DHS documents it received via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, showing that DHS regularly spied on peaceful demonstrators and activists. Because exercising your First Amendment rights must make you one of them there "anti-government" Americans, which means the DHS is free to spy on you.


What is claimed to be a DHS goal (but no proof to the source material) Homeland Security sees the role of the military as a subset of its own mission. A right wing position paper from a think tank noted how the Army has taken critical steps to broaden its mission to include homeland security tasks. But the thinking was that the Army needs to redirect its focus and broaden its nission to augmenting its capacity to operate in the "Homeland" and broaden the reach of DHS.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:52 AM on April 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Who is Facebook targeting with this? Who will actually bother to install this?
posted by asnider at 5:53 AM on April 5, 2013


There's nothing in Om's list that a dozen other companies can't (or don't already) do. Google, Apple, Microsoft, et al.

And here we are, with the Overton Window shifted so that privacy no longer matters and users are no longer in control of devices they purchased, use and think they own.
posted by DU at 5:58 AM on April 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


Who is Facebook targeting with this? Who will actually bother to install this?

I don't get why anyone uses Facebook, actually. It makes no sense.

But smoking makes no sense to me either.

Facebook is the Marlboro of the Internet.
posted by sutt at 5:58 AM on April 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm trying to figure out how to accurately get across how amazed I am that how much revenue "Facebook (and Google) just want to sell me" can actually generate. They're not selling guaranteed buyers, just potential. That potential is worth an incredible amount of money. It's truly mind-boggling to me.
posted by nevercalm at 5:59 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


... but since the Facebook Home package can only be installed to Android, which is already designed to sell you to advertisers, well, good job noticing the open barn door but that horse is long-gone.
Exactly. It's just two fish (Google and Facebook) fighting over the same piece of plankton (you).

These devices and applications are designed to keep your attention in between adverts, that's it. Television + daytime soap opera, but you carry it around with you 24x7.

And gladly! because it is so damned useful.
posted by Walleye at 6:00 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Interesting how Open Source has given the world the exact opposite of what its promoters claimed. Andriod is free as in free beer, not free as in free speech.

Really? Where are the changes to the Apple/Microsoft phones that allow for monitoring of the network traffic and blocking of that traffic?

If I could find the link to the one custom ROM for the Android platform that does that I'd provide the link.

Part of the "platform problem" here is the phone networks. On Ting I can get unlocked bootloader phones that I can't get on Sprint or any of the other users of Sprint. How is Open Source supposed to address the issue of locked bootloaders of the phone network providers?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:01 AM on April 5, 2013


How is Open Source supposed to address the issue of locked bootloaders of the phone network providers?
Richard Stallman is rolling over in his grave, for sure.






Oh wait, he's not dead yet. O_o
posted by Walleye at 6:06 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The current Facebook Android app is crap, and has been that way for a while. It's slow. It crashes unexpectedly, sometimes immediately after I press the button to post a status message, which means everything I've written evaporates irrecoverably and isn't sent to the server. Notifications don't come through consistently. It doesn't give you the ability to manage your privacy settings as tightly as you can through a desktop client, so you have to log on through a computer to make those changes. It doesn't allow you to delete status messages. Uploading photos when you're not on a wifi network is frustrating at best. I've used the same Facebook app on multiple android phones and have had equally negative experiences on them all.

Android apps still frequently ask for unnecessary access to hardware they have no reason to mess with. Why in heaven's name would I want to grant that access to a developer whose previous apps have inspired little to no confidence in their ability to do their job properly?
posted by zarq at 6:08 AM on April 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Am suddenly reminded of this game (previously on MeFi).
posted by en forme de poire at 6:09 AM on April 5, 2013


I want complete and utter Singularity between me and the consumer choices the world offers.

Derail - There is some kind of video/performance art project that features a taxidermied bear, a taxidermied cat placed on a sealed envelope, 2 ad execs who's mission it is to in 30 minutes come up with a business name and ad campaign for a new taxidermy business. After 30 minutes the idea of a bear with wings and a harp with a name of animal heaven was decided on and that mostly matched what's in the envelope the cat was over. The punchline is how on the way to the meeting the 2 execs passed harp, wings, wording and other things to place a subliminal impression upon them to 'nudge them' in the direction of the outcome obtained. Anyone know the source of this video/performance art as described?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:09 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why in heaven's name would I want to grant that access to a developer whose previous apps have inspired little to no confidence in their ability to do their job properly?

zactly!

And that is why I just now dumped all things facebook from my phone. It is not like I was using it anyway but this new dev makes it more obvious to disavow my phone entirely.
posted by lampshade at 6:11 AM on April 5, 2013


rough ashlar: It's from one of Derren Brown's TV series. You should assume there's other trickery involved.
posted by edd at 6:12 AM on April 5, 2013


I can't agree with that sentiment. I trust Apple far more than I'd trust Facebook with my location because of their different goals. Apple wants to sell me a new computer and phone every 2-3 years. Facebook wants to know every single bit of data they can possibly collect about me so they can sell me to advertisers.

Well, sure. But Apple also already know where I live--I gave them my address to ship my computer to. I kind of assume Google knows where I live, too, though I haven't given them my address. The odds of this would only be increased if I had an Android phone, which I'd need if I were to run this Facebook Home thingy. There's a chance Facebook doesn't know, given that I don't have a Facebook account. But if I'm the sort of person who'd want Facebook taking over my phone 'experience', I'm probably the sort of person who doesn't care and I'm not going to be dissuaded by this bloke's article, which is totally lacking in substance.
posted by hoyland at 6:13 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't get why anyone uses Facebook, actually. It makes no sense.

I can't speak for anyone else, but it's a dead easy way to share pics of the kid or whatever I am working on with my extended family and friends and still maintain some reasonable privacy over it.

Sure, I could set up my own server and then hand out passwords and manage accounts and all that. But it's easier and cheaper to just let facebook have a copy of them and they can deal with all of that.

This stupid facebook home thing ? I don't see the appeal. There is nothing in that for me. Maybe some other people, I dunno - AOL was pretty popular, too and this seems much the same as that.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:13 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


But it's easier and cheaper to just let facebook have a copy of them and they can deal with all of that.

Yeah I can't even claim to have the current email address of half the people I need to get in touch with for this or that.
posted by griphus at 6:15 AM on April 5, 2013


I don't get why anyone uses Facebook, actually. It makes no sense.

Because until someone makes the "everyone send pictures of their dogs to phunniemee and phunniemee sends pictures of her dog to all of them" app that has a comparatively broad userbase, facebook is the place.
posted by phunniemee at 6:16 AM on April 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


'Because until someone makes the "everyone send pictures of their dogs to phunniemee and phunniemee sends pictures of her dog to all of them" app that has a comparatively broad userbase, facebook is the place.'

That app is email.
posted by sutt at 6:21 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Om: Facebook Home should put privacy advocates on alert

I do not understand why privacy advocates should be on alert. Privacy advocates should probably not use Facebook.

This is a conversation that comes up often in the Tech City area of London. Privacy versus capability. My current response is to ask, "How much do you pay to use Facebook?". And the answer is usually, "Nothing, it's free". Just because one does not pay for something, does not mean it is free.

Facebook employees thousands of people around the world, and is known to offer premium salaries. In 2012, it costs them $4.5B to operate the company, and they had 1B total users. That means it costs Facebook on average $4.50 per user per year to operate. Yet nobody I speak with pays a fee to use Facebook. People pay fees to advertise on Facebook, which generated revenues of $5B last year ($5 per user overall), but as far as I know, it is free to use Facebook.

So a company which offers a service that costs $4.5B a year to run does not charge users for the basic level of service. Essentially, anyone 1) who uses Facebook, and 2) does not pay is making a trade. That trade is that Facebook provides the user a service, and the user provides Facebook with data.

Facebook's R&D budget was $1.4B last year, and presumably some of that was spent on Facebook Home. Facebook Home looks cool. All of your messaging centralised in one place. A real-time social stream. Great for heavy Facebook users. And free for people who have one of a number of popular devices. So the users of Facebook Home are in essence receiving a benefit from that $1.4B R&D budget for free. They are again making a trade. They provide Facebook with information, and Facebook provides them with a service.

I continually fail to see how any of this is a problem with regards to privacy. It is inherent in using Facebook that one is trading their information for a service. They are not paying for the costs of the service, yet there are substantial costs for the service. If one has concerns about privacy, one should not use services that are offered in exchange for their data.

Why should privacy advocates be on alert, when the inherent operating model for Facebook has been trading personal information for a connectivity service? This is nothing new, it's exactly how Google works. Google has total operating expenses of $50B a year, yet most people pay nothing for Google's service.

The reason that so many people use both Google and Facebook is that the benefit has been much greater than the cost for them. Most people's personal data really is not that interesting – it's only interesting in the aggregate. People that are concerned about privacy should act accordingly.

There are lots of very wealthy people who have very real concerns about their private data. There are services that exist to live one's life anonymously, when it comes to things like telecommunications. They are not – in fact – free, they can be rather expensive. That is because 1) the user is absorbing the full cost, and 2) the market for that level of privacy is very small. And on the second point, the reason that the market for privacy is very small is that most people's individual data is just not that interesting.

Back in the day, I worked for an email encryption start-up. Basically, a very easy to use version of PGP for large organisations and individuals. Guess what? It didn't sell and the company went out of business. Despite as much fear-mongering as the marketing department could do, people just did not seem to be too concerned with privacy. PGP as a tool has been around forever and it's free. Yet still people don't use it, because the cost is time and complexity.

And finally, this is one benefit of Apple and Blackberry. In each case, content is encrypted during transport to a level that authorities cannot easily access. Android is an open-source low-cost platform for a reason – because privacy and propriety is not a huge goal of the company that created the platform. On the other hand, some people pay a premium for Apple or Blackberry devices because their platforms offer inherently more privacy, as the companies that create the software are product companies, not personal data collection companies.

So much of the press about Facebook Home has been about how invasive it is and how it destroys privacy. That is the point of Facebook Home. Integrating Facebook into your daily life at a level where it geographically interacts with you at every point. For free.

I don't think privacy advocates should be put on alert. Privacy advocates should probably not use Facebook.
posted by nickrussell at 6:22 AM on April 5, 2013 [17 favorites]


That app is email.

Yeah, there's nothing more people appreciate than a 100-person reply-all chain.
posted by griphus at 6:22 AM on April 5, 2013 [21 favorites]


I will say this: if they will give me the phone for free, and not charge me for data usage, so that I am actually getting a free device and free connectivity with my social group in exchange for being marketed to occasionally, then I think that is a deal I could consider.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:23 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think people just don't grasp that a lot of people use Facebook instead of other parts of the web. They don't go to sites like MetaFilter to find interesting links. Instead they just follow feeds on Facebook that post the same kind of stuff to the wall. They don't use Google Reader or Twitter, they use Facebook fro that. They don't use email (they don't even know people's email addresses), they just message them on Facebook.

This is who Facebook Home is aimed at.
posted by smackfu at 6:23 AM on April 5, 2013 [14 favorites]


Yeah, there's nothing more people appreciate than a 100-person reply-all chain.

BCC.
posted by sutt at 6:26 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't get why anyone uses Facebook, actually. It makes no sense.

Because I live alone, there's not much chance of that ever changing, and to stave off insanity-through-loneliness, I can either talk to the wall or to whomever on facebook. Facebook at least acknowledges that I exist.

Yes, it's lousy tool. But for me personally, it's filling a basic human need for connection with other people, that for various reasons, isn't really possible for me otherwise.

If that doesn't apply to you -- good for you, that's great. But there's a lot of people like me out there, and facebook helps us, terrible as it is.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:26 AM on April 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


sutt: " I don't get why anyone uses Facebook, actually. It makes no sense."

Convenience. Most of my family and friends use the service. It's an easy way to share family pictures and keep in touch superficially with folks I don't have time to write long emails to or pick up the phone and call. Also, it lets me share my fun stories about my kids using their real names with an audience who (for the most part) actually knows them and (hopefully) cares about them.

Comfort: Each time a friend has passed away in recent years, the people who knew them have been able to share and talk about their memories of the person on facebook.

Community. It also lets me lend a supportive shoulder or take action if a friend needs me. And vice versa. My son was hospitalized a while back. I posted a worried status message that I was in the pediatric ER with him at 3 in the morning. A friend that I would not normally have thought to connect with under those circumstances saw it, called my wife, asked her if she needed a ride to the hospital and offered to take care of my daughter. Just so my wife could be there rather than worrying at home.
posted by zarq at 6:29 AM on April 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


That app is email.

With a attachment size limits, copious inefficiencies, no real organization - and all that for the same lack of privacy unless you use encryption. After all, every server that handles your message gets to keep a copy, if they want.

Facebook got popular because it filled a particular need, and email just doesn't cut it.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:31 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also, the tautological-yet-true reason that lots of other people use Facebook and as a result social interaction happens there which is not duplicated in other arenas. I held out for a long time, but finally set up an account because I was just not hearing about get-togethers and life events from people I really value as friends, because the only place they announced those things was on the site. I could be "that guy" and remind them to send me my own special invitation in a different format from everybody else, and hope nobody forgot, or I could join the site and interact with people I like. Neither is a perfect option.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:31 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


BCC.

Well, if I was sending a newsletter to business clients I don't need talking to each other, yeah, BCC is perfect. If I want to have a conversation with my friends but don't necessarily want to specifically invite people to it and just leave it open to everyone, BCC is about as useful as making ten different phonecalls at once.

I can't imagine you're on MetaFilter and having a difficult time grasping the concept of a open forum.
posted by griphus at 6:32 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll be the nth person to say that this is a reason NOT to buy this phone. I use facebook, at least once a day, but there is no way I would want it as my "home" screen or for anything other than an app I choose to launch or not launch.

That said, the most interesting/annoying thing I read about the Facebook Home is that Zuckerburg has said that "There won't be advertisements at launch, but this may change."

Great. Just want I want... oh.. you want to launch Angry Birds? Please watch this 30 second ad first, or to have an annoying banner ad at the top of the screen at all times.

This, coupled with something I've only started seeing recently, which is the "This content is blocked until you like our page on Facebook" really is starting to make me think that Facebook is taking the slow ride towards the ramp over the shark tank.
posted by Debaser626 at 6:34 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, the tautological-yet-true reason that lots of other people use Facebook and as a result social interaction happens there which is not duplicated in other arenas.

I am that guy, and yep, lost all my "friends". But, you know, I'd rather have friends than "friends".
posted by sutt at 6:34 AM on April 5, 2013


I can't imagine you're on MetaFilter and having a difficult time grasping the concept of a open forum

How is Facebook, in any way, "open"?

Please explain for those of us who clearly have trouble grasping concepts.
posted by sutt at 6:36 AM on April 5, 2013


Can I rant a bit here? I'm gonna rant a bit here.

One of the fascinating and frustrating things about facebook, to me, is not that they are gathering all of this data (although clearly they are and that disturbs me quite a bit) but that they are so bad at using it.

I get ads all the time on facebook for shit I wouldn't buy. Not only that, it's shit my friends wouldn't buy, either. I see a lot of ads for BofA and Chase Bank and Liberty Mutual Insurance, and I think for Unilever products. And for farmville-type games which I have never wanted to play and have never, ever clicked on.

So with all of this supposedly-valuable data that they have on us, it's still the same scatter-shot method of advertising that goes on everywhere else on the web and in print and on other media. It's just cheaper to serve, so it makes a kind of sense to spam it out everywhere you can.

If I looked at my friends on facebook, and my interests, and all of the political ranting I've done on facebook before I wised up and stopped doing it, I would know not to advertise a big national bank to me. Yes, Facebook gets to charge the bank some fraction of a penny for my eyeballs, but what I don't think they realize is that with every ill-fitting ad they serve, they only remind me again and again that I'm the product.

Facebook has it in their power to filter out ads for things that annoy me or that aren't going to be effective on me. They don't use it. They could serve highly effective ads for things I'm likely to want to buy, which would be win-win for both their advertisers and for me, and when they don't have any advertisers for things I'm likely to want to buy, they could protect their own brand and my experience as a user by not putting Bank of America in between cute pictures of my baby nieces.

It seems to me that Facebook is gathering all of this data about me and about everybody else, but either they don't know how to use it or they are not using it for what I think they are using it for. I don't know whether to believe they are incompetent or scary.
posted by gauche at 6:36 AM on April 5, 2013 [43 favorites]


I do not understand why privacy advocates should be on alert. Privacy advocates should probably not use Facebook.

Because they're not just advocates on behalf of themselves? They advocate for consumers/users who don't know stuff about how privacy does and does not work online, on-phone, on-Facebook, etc. They raise a ruckus about privacy-violating (and sometimes law-violating) policies and actions that are jammed into 5-million-word TOSs. Them just not using facebook is not the point.
posted by rtha at 6:37 AM on April 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


People who don't 'get' or 'like' Facebook can never understand why other people use Facebook, and always underestimate how much they use it.

Mark Zuckerberg says that 23% of time spent on mobile phones is on Facebook. Flurry says it's 18% in the US.

Lots of people love Facebook, and they're the people who are going to use this.

I think the big wins for FB are going to come in search - Facebook is your home screen so that when their search starts to work properly people will be using this a lot.

& then there's NFC. One prediction says that half a billion NFC handsets will ship next year, and if Facebook can make itself people's mobile payment mechanism then they're going to make a lot of money.
posted by DanCall at 6:37 AM on April 5, 2013


Please explain for those of us who clearly have trouble grasping concepts.

QFT
posted by shakespeherian at 6:38 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


One of the fascinating and frustrating things about facebook, to me, is not that they are gathering all of this data (although clearly they are and that disturbs me quite a bit) but that they are so bad at using it.

Why do you think Facebook chooses the targets of the ads, and not the advertiser? That is like blaming CBS for showing bad commercials on a TV show.
posted by smackfu at 6:38 AM on April 5, 2013


Facebook is an RSS feed for personal lives.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:40 AM on April 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


How is Facebook, in any way, "open"?

I send pictures of my dog to to bob6969@hotmail.com, suzy24@suzyssite.net, grandma25@aol.com, phil24@gmail.com and so on. In reply I get:

A mailer-daemon response stating that bob6969@hotmail.com is not a valid address. I have no other way of getting in touch with Bob.

An auto-reply from suzy24@suzyssite.net stating she is now suzy25@suzysnet.com

grandma24@aol.com replying-all, generating more mailer-daemon responses to her and a phonecall asking me why she's being contacted by demons

...and phil24@gmail.com wondering who I am because he didn't put my email address in his address book and only knows me as "hardcoregamer99" from a forum we're both on.

--

Now, let's try this again with Facebook:

I post "hey look at my silly-ass dog" and, directly under it:

Bob: "Hah! Your dog is silly!" (5 likes)
Suzy: "Awww!" (2 likes)
Gradma: "lol so cute" (1 like)
Phil: "Dude your dog is awesome" (10 likes)
My fourth-grade teacher who I don't really speak with but should speak with more often because she's pretty cool: "Such a good dog!" (2 likes)

...and so on.

Email is wonderful. Email is not wonderful for everything. Email straight-up sucks if you don't have an intended audience for something you want to share.
posted by griphus at 6:43 AM on April 5, 2013 [34 favorites]


It seems to me that Facebook is gathering all of this data about me and about everybody else, but either they don't know how to use it or they are not using it for what I think they are using it for. I don't know whether to believe they are incompetent or scary.

It's not just facebook. I bought a 6ton bottle jack from Amazon last week - and ever since, I've seen so many ads for jacks, it's a little crazy. But the hilarious thing is - I already bought one. I'm no longer shopping for jacks. Why show me more ads for jacks ?

I've taken to just looking at random stuff on shopping websites now. I poop on their data.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:44 AM on April 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


Why do you think Facebook chooses the targets of the ads, and not the advertiser? That is like blaming CBS for showing bad commercials on a TV show.

I admit I don't know the details of the process by which it is decided to serve these ads to these users, but it is evident to me that whatever that process is, it must not include the data that privacy advocates (including myself) are worried about. Whether that's Facebook just selling broad demographic categories (age, education, gender, race, &c.) and not the rest of it, or advertisers only buying broad demographic categories, I don't know, but it does diminish Facebook's brand because Facebook ultimately is the entity in charge of determining what I see when I use it's service.
posted by gauche at 6:44 AM on April 5, 2013


But see, the thing is, 'kids these days' really don't care. My son (he's 16, so granted, he's not an old hand at life) and his friends and their generation really see nothing wrong with all of this. They like it. They like targeted ads and checking in and all that stuff. I do not understand it one bit.
posted by cooker girl


If your son 'likes' targeted ads, he's unique. It's not that kids like it, or even notice, they just don't care.

If by stuff, you mean "overpriced and functionally limited items which are primarily used as social status signals", then yes, Apple does want to sell you stuff. Congratulations on your purchase. Thank you for moving this conversation into a derail about unrelated Tech companies.
posted by zoo


Are you stuck in 2005? This is the same lame argument that almost seems to have vanished, but you're holding on to. If you honestly think Apple's success today can be attributed to being used as 'social status signals' you are completely clueless. I drive a 2004 Jeep Liberty. I don't give a damn about social status signals. These sweeping generalizations might be popular on metafilter, but they only exist in your head.

If you don't think there's a difference between a macbook air and a 400 dollar laptop, I honestly don't know what to tell you.

The minute my iPhone doesn't let me do something I want to do, that I find value in, I'll ditch it. Until then your 'functionally limited' argument is nonsense.

The basic premise that facebook wants to sell your eyeballs, and apple wants to sell you stuff, while oversimplified, is true. And is certainly related to yesterdays announcement. Stop playing admin. That's not your job, and you suck at it.
posted by justgary at 6:46 AM on April 5, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's not just facebook. I bought a 6ton bottle jack from Amazon last week - and ever since, I've seen so many ads for jacks, it's a little crazy. But the hilarious thing is - I already bought one. I'm no longer shopping for jacks. Why show me more ads for jacks ?

Yes, Google & Amazon & Zappos do this too. Whatever I search for something, I get a ton of ads for that thing on every website for like a week. But I think Amazon, for instance, would kill to have the kind of data that Facebook is getting for free, and would probably be better at recommending things with it.
posted by gauche at 6:46 AM on April 5, 2013


Still standing by and NOTHING IS HAPPENING.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:47 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Stop playing admin. That's not your job and you suck at it.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 6:48 AM on April 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Here's why I don't want this on my phone: Most of my Facebook friends suck at Facebook. They have crappy, low-res avatars, often featuring people who are not them. They post all kinds of crappy status updates that I don't want to know about. They like, share and comment upon the most inane things I can imagine. I mean, look at that Image Feed lock screen for example. If my weird aunt shares one of those awful manipulative "Like this image of a disabled child!" photos and it shows up on my lock screen I would put my phone in the garbage disposal instantly. Don't get me wrong, I like and love most if not all of my Facebook friends in real life, and I do want to stay friends with them, but maybe 5% of them use Facebook in the way people in ads and mock-ups use Facebook.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:49 AM on April 5, 2013 [7 favorites]


I get ads all the time on facebook for shit I wouldn't buy.

Oh man me, too! I actually facebook status'd ranting about it.

My ads are almost entirely for sparkly dresses, makeup, high heeled shoes, and something called Country Outfitters, and none of those are things I ever use or talk about. Things I talk about include: my dog, Chicago, my dog, the Girl Scouts, my dog, and Jurassic Park.

If they wanted to advertise at me, then I would see ads about pets or (and let's go for an easy one here) local Chicago businesses. I am 100% ok with being advertised at, but dear god, you know so much about me, at least make it worthwhile.
posted by phunniemee at 6:49 AM on April 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why show me more ads for jacks ?

...it's because of the other jack that you didn't buy. They're hoping to cram ads into the gap between when you started looking for jacks, and when you selected a jack to purchase. For enough people there's a sufficient gap, presumably.

Google is huge in this. If I look at a wallet on any website anywhere, for the next two weeks AdSense is flinging wallet ads in my face, because (so far) they don't know that I already bought a wallet in the real-world.

...which is, of course, why they're pushing NFC.
posted by aramaic at 6:49 AM on April 5, 2013


I send pictures of my dog... and so on.

I understand your use case, now if you could please explain how this equates to being "open".

The Internet has been built from the beginning on open protocols that everyone can share. Not burdened by reliance on a single corporation, or government, or pathway of communication, for that matter.

Sure Facebook has some minimalist APIs. But APIS != open.

Why is there not an open "social sharing" protocol? Why is Facebook not endorsing such a thing? Why isn't Google?

Is it simply not possible to do social sharing in a non-centralized way? I don't buy that.
posted by sutt at 6:49 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I genuinely look forward to the adjustment period wherein people confuse the status update box for the google search box

#alreadyatwitterjoke
@oldmansearch

what does e mail cost

cold toes
posted by filthy light thief at 6:52 AM on April 5, 2013 [4 favorites]


How is Facebook, in any way, "open"?

Are you being purposefully obtuse?

If you honestly think Apple's success today can be attributed to being used as 'social status signals' you are completely clueless

Oh come on now. one doesn't need to go back to 2005. Go to any tech article related to iPhone/Android/Samsung within the last, oh 10 minutes, and read the GRRRRRARRRR MY PHONE IS THE BEST!!! crap. If you don't think Apple loves this then you are truly the clueless.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:53 AM on April 5, 2013


Open as in door, not open as in source. When I post something on Facebook anyone who meets a certain level of permissions can see that thing, instead of needing a personally engraved invitation.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:54 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


But see, the thing is, 'kids these days' really don't care. My son (he's 16, so granted, he's not an old hand at life) and his friends and their generation really see nothing wrong with all of this. They like it. They like targeted ads and checking in and all that stuff. I do not understand it one bit.

Either your son is not a representative sample or there's some nuance that's not coming through in that conversation. Teenagers do like "checking in and all that stuff" just as they like other aspects of social media; they, like others, accept targeted ads, etc. as the price of socializing online (at least until they become aware of technical work-arounds). All age groups find targeted ads and tracking creepy; whether there's a meaningful distinction between the oft-repeated enthusiasm for "I share my stuff" and the suspicion of "Google shares my stuff" is another conversation entirely.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:55 AM on April 5, 2013


Why is there not an open "social sharing" protocol? Why is Facebook not endorsing such a thing? Why isn't Google?

There are a couple of them. As for why Facebook and Google don't get on them: they've decided consumer lock-in is more important to them than perceived openness.
posted by wayland at 6:56 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I understand your use case, now if you could please explain how this equates to being "open".

I think we're working with two completely different definitions of the word "open." When I say "open forum," I mean that as an analogy to a literal open forum: people show up without having to be invited and talk. You are using the word "open" in the sense of protocols, which is a different conversation altogether.

If you want to have that conversation: distributed social networking has yet to find any footing among people who don't refresh Hacker News and GitHub every ten minutes. Can it be done? Sure. Can it be done remotely well? Who knows, but so far the answer is "no."
posted by griphus at 6:56 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't CARE if they throw advertisers at me. I have that rare but wonderful quality known as sales resistance. As to privacy, I am paranoid enough to believe that ship sailed years ago.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:01 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


All age groups find targeted ads and tracking creepy;

It's a sliding scale though. If Facebook shows me an ad for a new bar in town, I don't think most people would have any problem with that. Even though they are only showing it to me because they know I check in at bars and they know where I live and they know that I am in the right age group.
posted by smackfu at 7:02 AM on April 5, 2013


Now that I bothered to look to see what Facebook Home is-what a pile of ridiculosity. Who the heck wants all that mess cluttering up your phone unbidden? Have they lost their minds????
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:04 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh you use Facebook? I didn't realize I was better than you!
posted by Brocktoon at 7:06 AM on April 5, 2013 [15 favorites]


I agree with the above sentiment about FB ads - they're absolutely terrible (I guess I can only say this about myself). But that's because they seem to be geared towards products that I might buy without consulting others - or more specifically, products that aren't "social". FB Home might be useful to people who always want to know what their friends are doing, where to meet them, etc. and don't mind being told that there are two-for-one drinks nearby or that a shoe store is having a sale.

Then again, I refused to install the Facebook app because of privacy concerns, and I'll surely avoid this, so who knows if FB can use their location and demographic data in an efficient way.
posted by antonymous at 7:07 AM on April 5, 2013


I think I learned from this thread that everyone who claims to hate Facebook actually just hates their friends.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:08 AM on April 5, 2013 [18 favorites]


Now that I bothered to look to see what Facebook Home is-what a pile of ridiculosity. Who the heck wants all that mess cluttering up your phone unbidden? Have they lost their minds????

Yep, pretty much. I like FB as a part of my phone experience; not some invasive home screen that demands my attention 24/7. I imagine there will be a lot of people who love this and will have no problem with it. This will not be going on any Android device in my house.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:08 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


I thought it was funny that HTC, famous for its often-slow Sense UI skin for Android, is making Facebook Home, yet another skin for Android.

I love my HTC One X.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:09 AM on April 5, 2013


smackfu: "Why do you think Facebook chooses the targets of the ads, and not the advertiser?"

Do you honestly think that advertisers tell Google when to run ads? The ads I get served in Gmail are relevant to what Google knows about me. The ads I see in Facebook (when I am unlucky enough to be logged in without an ad blocker) are almost the exact polar opposite of what I want.

Google makes a lot of money off of ad revenue because they do a good job of using non-invasive ads that are actually targeted pretty accurately. Better targeting means more people click on the ads. If I click, I might be interested in buying. No clickthrough means no chance of profit, and no return on investment means no more selling ads to that service. For all of it's cash on hand Facebook has been having a hard time trying to monetize their service; the best idea they've had so far is to start asking users to pay for the same connectivity they were originally providing for free. But this is a stupid idea for several reasons: First and foremost, when people are used to free getting them to see the service as something worth paying for is a major uphill battle (and a losing one, 99% of the time). Second, the entire draw of Facebook is the constant connectivity and social interaction. And they've broken this, on purpose, and are asking that we pay to fix it.

They have intentionally devalued the only important thing their service ever did - they no longer allow me to see what my friends are up to, because the social connectivity they originally featured has been artificially limited. Their current algorithm seems determined to hide news from all of the people I'd actually like to interact with, randomly selecting 10 or so people to see what I post (whether these 10 are people I want to hear from or casual acquaintances makes no difference, Facebook seems to just draw names out of a hat I guess). There are times it hides my posts from my wife, for cripe's sake, and I know damn well that she and I have marked each other as "Spouse" in the relationship settings. This is not the kind of move one makes if trying to run a successful business. You don't break your primary feature on purpose for short-term gain.

Facebook makes it easy to get all of your friend's contact info. It's baked into the phones these days, iOS too. One click and I have current email and phones for almost everyone. If I have to pay to make contact, I've now gotten a way to pay someone else instead. Full disclosure: I would never actually do this. There is no way in hell I will ever allow Facebook to update my contacts list for me. I use the baked-in Facebook app in iOS to make quick posts without having to actually see the ads now spamming the in-app Facebook feed, but Contacts access is disabled.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:11 AM on April 5, 2013


I don't hate Facebook. Facebook is basically an address book that updates itself. It's useful to have a point of contact with so many of the people I've met and worked with and gone to school with and so on. I'd actually pay for that, come to think of it.

I hate Facebook as a discussion forum, and as a data-mining trove, but those are different things.
posted by gauche at 7:12 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


antonymous: "FB Home might be useful to people who always want to know what their friends are doing, where to meet them, etc. and don't mind being told that there are two-for-one drinks nearby or that a shoe store is having a sale.
"

Weird because this is almost exactly what I was told people use Twitter for before I signed up.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:12 AM on April 5, 2013


I think I learned from this thread that everyone who claims to hate Facebook actually just hates their friends.

Yes, no one has any legitimate reason to dislike Facebook. Not its selling of people's personal lives for profit. Not its closed protocols. Not for its redefining of the word "friend" into inane corporate jingoism. None of that is valid.

One-liner fail.
posted by sutt at 7:17 AM on April 5, 2013 [6 favorites]


The handwringing over why oh why anyone would even want to use Facebook seems kind of weird to me. Almost artificial, even. I want to use Facebook because it's an easy and convenient way to stay in touch, on a surface level at least, with many people who I have pleasant and fond memories of. And I like that. I understand that you might not feel that way, but is it honestly difficult to imagine that someone else might?

I'm also not terribly concerned over privacy issues with respect to things like this. I used to be, and I guess I still am to some degree, but it's growing less and less over time.

I mean, I am still concerned with it on a theoretical level, and I definitely understand why other people would be concerned on a more-than-theoretical level, but... I basically don't even see ads on the internet. If one sneaks through, it's no more than a trivial annoyance that I don't pay attention to anyway. And Facebook figuring out my address? OK, that's kind of creepy, but... I... don't really care. They could just look it up in the White Pages if they wanted to, and anyway, what's going to happen? More specifically targeted ads (that I don't see and don't pay attention to)? Or Zuckerberg's going to show up unannounced when my house is embarrassingly messy?
posted by Flunkie at 7:19 AM on April 5, 2013 [5 favorites]


Do you honestly think that advertisers tell Google when to run ads?

Yes? That is the whole point of bidding for particular AdWords. They are picking an exact search keyword to target.

The main difference between Google and Facebook here is that Google doesn't really have generic ads. If no one bought a relevant AdWord for the page you are on, they just don't show ads on that page. Since Facebook has levels of targeting, big companies like Walmart can basically just target everyone as a fallback. And that can lead to showing untargeted ads. Yes, that's a choice by Facebook, but it's also a choice by the advertiser.

I mean, considering how much data Google has on me, it's a pretty good guess I don't shop at Walmart. But they still show me ads for Walmart if I search for "wireless routers". Google isn't magic.
posted by smackfu at 7:31 AM on April 5, 2013


And re: the Google vs. Facebook being able to monetize ads, remember that when you use Google you are actively seeking out new information from new sources, whether that's a search term, or using Google Maps to get directions or even using Gmail. But when you're using Facebook, you've been conditioned to reject anything that isn't from a known source of information, which is why those "promoted" ads that come up in the middle of feeds now give you that involuntary "GTFO" reaction. You have different levels of receptiveness to unknown data sources with each company's services.
posted by antonymous at 7:36 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't get why anyone uses Facebook, actually. It makes no sense.

Is this the new "I don't even own a TV"?

Facebook is ugly, it's a chore to keep up with, and what passes for privacy protocols are a endlessly changing game of Calvinball. I use it as little as possible, myself.

Still, I get why some people like it. I also hate driving, but I get why people buy cars.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:37 AM on April 5, 2013 [10 favorites]


Social media: we're the people who are making your life more like work
posted by thelonius at 7:49 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hell is other people.

Facebook is full of other people.

Ergo...
posted by hellojed at 7:50 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter is full of other people.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:52 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


...therefore, Sartre is mortal!
posted by griphus at 7:53 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


And finally, this is one benefit of Apple and Blackberry. In each case, content is encrypted during transport to a level that authorities cannot easily access. Android is an open-source low-cost platform for a reason – because privacy and propriety is not a huge goal of the company that created the platform. On the other hand, some people pay a premium for Apple or Blackberry devices because their platforms offer inherently more privacy, as the companies that create the software are product companies, not personal data collection companies.

"Inherently more privacy" is a relative thing. Unless you are using their proprietary services with other people also using their proprietary services, there is nothing different between using iOS or Blackberry or Windows Phone or Android. And iOS users, at least, give up massive amounts of control over the platform, including many ways that more or less negate any of that "inherent" privacy advantage. Quick, tell me the permissions that any given iOS app requests from the user or what level of permissions you get with connections to any given server. There is none. And maybe you encrypt on your end but your mail server or your contact's messaging service doesn't, thereby defeating the entire purpose. Or maybe your dinner reservation app constantly access GPS records and sends them to an unsecured server run by the app makers. Or maybe, like at my company, the corporate e-mail server has the capability to remotely delete content off your phone or even wipe it completely. And for all of that, not a single person using an iPhone or Blackberry was ever notified.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:58 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


They like targeted ads

Just wanted to say .. I have been without TV (not without A tv, but without broadcast or cable television) for around 4 years. Recently I had the chance to stay at a hotel and we ended up turning on the TV for noise.

After re-experiencing the world of mainstream advertising, I have to say, I like targeted ads because the other variety is incredibly just mindnumbingly offensive in a way that is hard to describe if you've been away from it.
posted by rr at 8:05 AM on April 5, 2013


From my Facebook page:

"Johnny Cash added a new photo."

Ok, that there is reason enough to have Facebook. Zombie Cash.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:10 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


"I don't have facebook" is absolutely the new "I don't even own a TV."
posted by saul wright at 8:13 AM on April 5, 2013 [13 favorites]


You know, if you added Skype-like streaming video to Facebook, it would pretty much be the visi-phone/tele-screen feared and dreamed of by sci-fi writers of old.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:22 AM on April 5, 2013


I'm totally amazed that multi-addressee emails with attachments has ever gotten to the point of being considered the lesser evil. But as someone who keeps a clean barely used facebook profile I can understand why it could be considered that way. I'm going to keep using FTP and HTTP for file transfers though.
posted by Mitheral at 8:23 AM on April 5, 2013


Octobersurprise, that's a Google+ "hangout." So basically, we're already in the future, and nobody actually cares.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:29 AM on April 5, 2013


@threeblindmice "The price people are willing to pay for free never disappoints" - true enough. I wonder what makes it worth it though. Knowing everything about me can't possibly be worth that much in terms of cold hard cash, (regardless of the loss of privacy and the value it may have). Is me-being-the-product really worth all services I exchange it for, or are we looking at an information/value bubble? I think the value of knowing about me, at least, is massively overextimated. (YMMV!)
posted by aesop at 8:32 AM on April 5, 2013


Knowing everything about me can't possibly be worth that much in terms of cold hard cash, (regardless of the loss of privacy and the value it may have).

My wife knows even more about me than Facebook does and she still hasn't managed to extract as much value as they apparently have.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:36 AM on April 5, 2013


I got this covered.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:42 AM on April 5, 2013


Most people's personal data really is not that interesting

Hmm, I think the figure/ground fundamental here may be 'they really don't care about you'. Is that good? Is that bad? Can they plug your info into an algorithm that successfully connects you with companies trying to sell things to you? Can they figure out new ways to keep you in an environment where they can get better at doing that / have more opportunities to do that? Is that good? Is that bad? Is that better for some types of businesses, those who can afford to bid for adwords or target you on fb, and worse for others? Or has internet/boutique/niche/etsyization encouraged business diversity?

The 'I'm the product' bit is a little of a canard, becuase it's your money, your consumer dollars that are the product. Otherwise this is just another information bubble that collapses in a pile of catpics and whatIhadforlunches when nobody's buying anything 'real'. Though the bigger idea, that information tech is so cheap that it is cost effective as business to offer to store/share billions of the aformentioned 'updates' in order to make a couple thousand/million sale-connections is apparently not going away anytime soon this side of The big west coast earthquake or next bigger NY superstorm or china having to transition tech production into vast underground caverns as the air quality toxifies.
posted by notesondismantling at 8:51 AM on April 5, 2013


Facebook is Internet with Training Wheels. It's dead easy for those scared of the intertubes to use, and prettier than email. It lets you politely say hi to friends without having to call them or set up a way to meet them..which is great for friends you want to keep but maybe don't have much in common with any more. Old co-workers, people from college etc.

It's also good if you're a band and want to alert people to shows, or are throwing a party and want people to come.

I hate their ads and their data collection, but it is a useful site for a whole lot of people.

(the sad thing about my family is that most of them are so Web-illiterate they don't even feel comfortable on Facebook. But they never emailed either, so there you go.)

I could probably drop Facebook with only a slight ding to my social life, but since I don't have a smartphone so don't use my phone for Facebook, I feel less worried that they will know all my movements that aren't already posted. I mean, any PI worth their salt could find me any day of the week pretty easily but other than that I don't feel tracked by FB in particular. Homeland Security may be monitoring me anyway for all I know, but my FB probably isn't key to that.

The Google Glasses do freak me out more because I don't like the idea of being recognized anywhere I go by random people I may not want to talk to but who will want to talk to me/track me for some reason. Makes me want to never leave the house.

All of these distinctions may be moot of course; maybe privacy was always a myth. Most people aren't superspies who leave no traces. Face recognition just seems more aggressive, somehow. Like the difference between junk mail based on a magazine subscription I made vs. somebody showing up at my door and trying to sell me something (or calling me) while using my name.

I think we are really starting to think about the fact that privacy has always been a kind of courtesy; only stalkers and hateful salespersons violate it, we all agree otherwise to mostly leave each other alone and we all have better things to do than track each other. The Google Glasses thing seems like buying a PI you wear on your face who constantly lets you know what everyone around you is doing and where they are going and seems like it would tear that courtesy away completely, making people who might not have bothered before into stalkers and harassers and busybodies (and informers of course).
posted by emjaybee at 8:56 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Knowing everything about me can't possibly be worth that much in terms of cold hard cash, (regardless of the loss of privacy and the value it may have).

Every dollar an advertiser spends advertising to the non-target audience is a wasted dollar. They certainly will pay to target better.
posted by smackfu at 8:57 AM on April 5, 2013


The only (and the only) reason I would ever install this POS crap on my device is that most of my feed these days is basset hounds, because for my own sanity I have had to tune out all the political spam, all the vitriolic comments on political and social issues that make your newspaper's comments section look like a Sunday school soiree, all the photographs taken of food and scenic vistas from places I can never afford to travel to, and all the other noise (which has been studied and shown to make you more depressed than you were before you signed on). All I want to see is the bassets.
posted by blucevalo at 8:59 AM on April 5, 2013


At the same time, the overwhelming majority of "targeted" Facebook ads I see have all the accuracy of a shotgun fired by a blind four-year-old at a hundred paces. So I can see why they would want that, but I'm still kind of clueless about how this particular product, which is pretty damn poor at selling me, is actually worth the money.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:59 AM on April 5, 2013


If you think about that, that just means no one wants to target you. Are you above 35?
posted by smackfu at 9:04 AM on April 5, 2013


Facebook is Internet with Training Wheels.

This is pretty apt. It's a protected space, where you only see the things your friends share with you publicly. No one is going to surprise you with the horrors of the internet (certain jpegs, hate sites/organizations) unless you are already in a circle that enjoys that sort of thing. And it's all in one screen. No urls to remember (how many times have you explained to someone to type "https://"?), only one password. Great for casual and/or non-tech savvy folks.
posted by Big_B at 9:07 AM on April 5, 2013


The whole fiasco of what they are proposing has been mentioned a few times, but for additional piling on: The facebook app absolutely sucks. Has since I first start using it three smartphones ago. I can't imagine how much a facebook "phone" would suck.
posted by Big_B at 9:09 AM on April 5, 2013


Apple wants to sell me stuff. Facebook (and Google) just want to sell me

Well, Apple want to do both. They have their own advertising network on iOS devices and their privacy policy has the same language about giving aggregated information about you too anyone at all.
posted by markr at 9:14 AM on April 5, 2013


>> I get ads all the time on facebook for shit I wouldn't buy.
> Oh man me, too! I actually facebook status'd ranting about it.


Gauche, phunniemee - late to this conversation, but someone who may or may not be an insider commented on a mailing list that sentiment analysis is something they (Facebook) are actively working on, and they recognize they aren't there yet.

So I can comment about Walmart having sucked a small town dry, and then get invited to Like Walmart in that town, even though (a) really?? and (b) I have very little to do with that town.

Sentiment analysis is easy in some cases, harder in others ("Great job, Carnival Cruises!"). But they are working on it.
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:16 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's one place where Facebook's philosophy of "only likes, no dislikes" hurts them a bit. They need to infer dislikes from your likes, which is not an exact science.

Not to mention that Walmart may still want to advertise to me, even if I don't want them to.
posted by smackfu at 9:20 AM on April 5, 2013


(Sorry about the unclosed italics tag - just missed the edit window. Sigh.)
posted by RedOrGreen at 9:24 AM on April 5, 2013


I feel bad for Microsoft in all of this. I thought MS and FB were BFFs and now FB is all like going with Android for their new ad delivery/doc pic network. A super intrusive FB app would give WP8 a reason to exist. I can only imagine it would violate some sort of license agreements for the unlucky hardware manufacturers delivering WP8 phones.

The real problem is that companies know the wrong stuff about people. I ran out of milk and coffee this morning.I had to walk to the store for a quart of milk and coffee beans. If a facebook app could make sure that milk and coffee would be waiting on my doorstep when I run out, I would join in a heartbeat.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:31 AM on April 5, 2013


some facts:
-whether or not it's "anonymized", FOUR points of location data can identify 95% of users
-I don't know what anyone here is talking about when they say 'targeted ad'. What's an 'ad'? Oh wait, is it one of those things you see before you take 10 seconds to install (srsly...2 clicks) AdBlock? (psst...they also make one for apple)
-if you 'like' (ha) AdBlock, you'll probably like Ghostery too.
-facebook is being surpassed by tumblr amongst the 18-to-25s...more insight on this here. Shark? Jumped.
-also, fwiw, here's a neat chart I just found...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:44 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The idea of a Facebook phone is extremely frightening from a privacy standpoint.

This is a horrible on the privacy front, but it is worse than many imagine. As long as apps have a function to "import my contacts," privacy goes out the window - not because YOU clicked the button to import, but because 'someone you know' did.

This means that 'someone you know' has the power to share your information with that application without your knowledge. And when 'they' have access to the phone book of 'someone you know', well, then, even 'someone you know' cannot stop it.

This proposition makes me red-in-the-face-angry.

'Somebody that you used to know' might even be a bigger issue, if that person is no longer an ally of yours.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 9:47 AM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


Someone else sharing your contact info has been a problem since at least the VCard days, and social network data slurping isn't something unique to any platform. IIRC all four of the majors have Facebook contact syncing integrated into the OS. A "Facebook phone," or more accurately in this case, OS skin/launcher, only dresses it up with a pretty face.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:17 AM on April 5, 2013


And this, of course, is why you should include the bare minimum of contact info (just name, if possible) in any social network. I have a Facebook account, but the only way anyone can contact me with it is via messaging me through Facebook itself.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:21 AM on April 5, 2013


But see, the thing is, 'kids these days' really don't care. My son (he's 16, so granted, he's not an old hand at life) and his friends and their generation really see nothing wrong with all of this. They like it. They like targeted ads and checking in and all that stuff. I do not understand it one bit.

I wonder how much of it is "don't care" and how much of it is "don't understand". When that 16-year-old grows up and is trailed by indelible web pages showing him doing or saying dumb 16-year-old things his whole life, he might reconsider. (Also, the notion that "what 16-year-olds believe today about technology is what we'll all have to believe soon enough" is a bit too prevalent IMO.)

There might even be a case to be made that computer literacy classes (such as they are) should include some instruction in privacy and the long-term impact of uploading your every move or thought or action to the cloud. Since, you know, Facebook could give a toss.
posted by seemoreglass at 10:38 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


And this, of course, is why you should include the bare minimum of contact info (just name, if possible) in any social network.

Fancy-pants luddite.
posted by sutt at 10:44 AM on April 5, 2013


When that 16-year-old grows up and is trailed by indelible web pages showing him doing or saying dumb 16-year-old things his whole life, he might reconsider.

The good part about this is that those things'll be overshadowed by all the dumb 17 year old things he says and does and then by all the dumb 21 year old things he says and does and then by all the dumb 24 year old things he says and does and every other person is doing it too, so unless you're doing something really heinous like raping a girl and tweeting about it, most of the dumb shit you say will just go completely unnoticed. There's always going to be someone else there to upload a more moronic picture.
posted by phunniemee at 10:54 AM on April 5, 2013


But see, the thing is, 'kids these days' really don't care. My son (he's 16, so granted, he's not an old hand at life) and his friends and their generation really see nothing wrong with all of this. They like it. They like targeted ads and checking in and all that stuff. I do not understand it one bit.

For them what we used to call The Global Village isn't just a notion or a metaphor or something "the world is moving toward", it's what they've grown up in. And just as in a village (or for that matter, my more than usually nosy neighborhood) everyone sees what everyone else is doing. It's not something they think about opting into or not, it's where they've always been.

I don't think privacy advocates should be put on alert. Privacy advocates should probably not use Facebook.

This. And seconded about Apple vs. Google/Facebook, at least for now. Apple is not inherently in need of your personal data to simply be in business at all, though I have no doubt whatsoever that they will continue to ease into that space for competitive reasons.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:56 AM on April 5, 2013


There's a fundamental problem with the way we conceive of "fighting back" against the privacy-stealing corporations, as some people said we should do up top:
Every time you buy an i-anything, or a closed Android device, or Windows 8, or install a program like this, you make the world a crappier place. It doesn't have to be this way. We can be in charge; we're the ones with the money.
Pop quiz, hotshot: name a smartphone that doesn't fall into the above category. We've already established that Google and Apple have as much access to your phone's hardware sensors as anyone, and have already used that information for advertising purposes and whatnot. So every Android and iOS product is out. Microsoft's in the above list too (I have to assume that if Windows 8 is on the shitlist, so are recent versions of Windows Phone). What does that leave you? Is Research in Motion (I'm sorry, they're actually called Blackberry now) safe? Their business model isn't based so much on advertising revenue, but neither is Apple's, and we've decided the latter isn't okay. Let's say Blackberry is okay. That means you have one major phone to buy: the Z10. That's it. If Blackberry isn't okay, then we have to dig even further for an acceptable smartphone—something based on the Firefox or Ubuntu mobile OSes, for example.

The point is that nowadays, it's exceedingly hard to avoid technology just because it does a few things you don't like. And by that, I mean that people have already decided en masse that the "price" of giving up some of your privacy is worth the benefits. My younger self would be shocked to hear me say that I actually like how Google Now knows where I live and work without me ever telling it where I live; it's convenient to know how long my commute is going to take.

I still leave web search history and the like turned off because I'm not ready to give Google that much data, but more importantly I don't see what benefit I get out of it. If the day comes where it's suddenly useful to me, then I'm going to have to think long and hard weighing the benefits versus the cost. Most people don't even think that hard about it. Either way, it's a tradeoff, a transaction of sorts.

Privacy doesn't exist in a vacuum, unfortunately. The very things that destroy your notion of privacy are also the things that bring greater connectivity to other people and services around you. We already had this debate years ago about Facebook, and people have been shifting back and forth ever since between people who stay on Facebook because they have enough friends on the service to make it worth it, and people who don't stay on Facebook (or never join) because they don't like Facebook having so much data on them. Everyone will have their own perspective on where the balance is, but these days it seems like if you're not on a social network, it's harder to keep in touch. Even my friend who has never been on Facebook and will probably never be on Facebook (partially for privacy, partially because she worries it'll eat up all her time) acknowledges this. She's willing to put in the extra effort to keep in touch via email, but it IS an extra effort.

If only there was a way to say "I want privacy AND all the other things you're offering me for free." And to some extent, there is; paid services exist that promise no ads and no selling data to third-party vendors and whatnot. I don't want Google to have all my mail, so I buy mail service from an external provider (which, in many circles, makes me a crazy person). But you cannot buy a smartphone that does this, and really you've never been able to. What then? Do you just not buy a smartphone? To many people, that's an unacceptable compromise.

I think you can design a smartphone where privacy is a top priority, and still gives you some of the neat features you want. Run search queries through an anonymous network like Tor, always keep location data on the phone, etc., etc. Let me know when someone's started up such an OS; there are enough smart people with pro-privacy leanings that you'd think this would've happened already if it was trivially easy. My guess is that it's actually very difficult because computer systems tend towards connecting bits of data together to generate meaning, and what we're talking about is a computer system that explicitly doesn't do this, or does so in such a roundabout way that all traces of identity are scrubbed by the time it gets to a third party. In the meantime, what do we do? I don't know.
posted by chrominance at 11:02 AM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well, Apple want to do both. They have their own advertising network on iOS devices

I've had iPhones since the first generation and I have never seen an ad (via Apple, anyway). Is this something I have to explicitly turn on? I get lots of ads on web sites, but I have yet to see the operating system itself slap an ad over the screen. Maybe I need to use more free apps.

The Fortune interview with Zuckerberg is interesting, in that he says he doesn't want Facebook to build phones to reach three percent of users, but he then notes how fractured Android is as a platform:

One of the nits about Android is that the software [on each phone model] is a little different, so it took some work to make it work on every given phone. So to start, we are only going to support downloads on five or six phones.

Uptake of new versions of Android has been slowed by phone vendors and companies more or less locking down phones to whatever version of Android shipped on the device from the factory. I'm not sure even Zuckerberg or Facebook have the clout to get around that fact, even by partnering with HTC. This would seem to bring sharp limitations to releasing new versions of Facebook software, when constrained by whatever the lowest common denominator happens to be when trying to ship new code/features.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:17 AM on April 5, 2013


Blazecock Pileon: "Uptake of new versions of Android has been slowed by phone vendors and companies more or less locking down phones to whatever version of Android shipped on the device from the factory."

Do you have a cite or stats on this? Because I've used five Android phones or tablets (four different brands) through Verizon in the last 3 years and every single one of them has gotten an OS version upgrade through Verizon at some point. It might not have been to the most updated OS, but all of them did have some sort of a formal OS upgrade. Not a low level feature or security update, but an upgrade to a newer version of the Android OS.
posted by zarq at 11:23 AM on April 5, 2013


Also, yes, ads frequently get pushed through free apps on iOS. In games like Temple Run or in programs like MX Player. That is obviously quite different from having them pushed through the OS via Apple, which I have never seen happen on my iPod.
posted by zarq at 11:25 AM on April 5, 2013


Also in contrast to iOS where everything is in the OS upgrade Android updates are piece meal. You can technically be running and older version of the OS but it impacts you less because all the pieces of the OS are up to datish.
posted by Mitheral at 11:30 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


advertising.apple.com
posted by smackfu at 11:34 AM on April 5, 2013


Huh. Interesting.
posted by zarq at 11:44 AM on April 5, 2013


saul wright: "I don't have facebook" is absolutely the new "I don't even own a TV."

Is there a TV show yet showing people doing nothing but using FaceBook? If so, that would really help some people consolidate their hate.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:44 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to assume that if Windows 8 is on the shitlist, so are recent versions of Windows Phone

I might be the only one here with a WP8 phone. Every single app wants my location. Some of them are kinda astonishing, they can tell me the location of the nearest McDonald's to within a few meters and provide hundreds of other eating and shopping Options. It is like the entire gadget is meant to help me consume more stuff.

The phone cost me 99 cents. It is like a supercomputer dedicated to selling me shit and I got it for under $1 (plus "fees")

WP8 doesn't seem to like the fact that I want to have old school contacts with phone numbers, it seems to think I want people from FB and twitter in my "phone book"

I suppose in the future even SMS will be passé, all communication will be through a hodge-podge of FB, Twitter, Skype. It is kind of an interesting inversion of old methods of communication. Phone calls traditionally gave precedence to the callers's time, you dropped everything and hustled to grab the phone. Now people tweet at you and you get back to me whenever. I suppose it was email that changed everything.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:45 AM on April 5, 2013


Do you have a cite or stats on this?

zarq, see here (hardware manufacturers), here (carriers), and here.
posted by rtha at 11:45 AM on April 5, 2013


Is there a TV show yet showing people doing nothing but using FaceBook?

I generally assume any shot of an office with people sitting at computers is exactly that.
posted by griphus at 11:47 AM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


rtha: " zarq, see here (hardware manufacturers), here (carriers), and here."

Thanks. That's fascinating. Verizon scored higher than other carriers on frequency/plethora of updates -- which might explain why I didn't think there was a problem.

In retrospect it should have been obvious, but it honestly never occurred to me that different carriers have different upgrade / update schedules, and some lag behind others.
posted by zarq at 11:59 AM on April 5, 2013


Malor, can you give some examples of how everything is turning to shit because people like different phones than you?

Anyway... I long ago burned out of the geek community because of the narrow whiteness of it all, but keep draping your bizarre hobby horse in the trappings of historical injustice ("selling Manhattan for glass beads".)
posted by Wood at 12:05 PM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


Zarq: The biggest example of this is the Galaxy Nexus, which is in theory supposed to get updates directly from Google since it runs pure Android with no skins. It still took Verizon something like four months longer than any other carrier to push Android 4.2 to its version of the GNex.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:08 PM on April 5, 2013


"I predict that a free p2p social app on mobile devices with 1Tb of storage will doom #Facebook. #Home #First #HTC:"

My tweet from yesterday on the subject.

posted by mmrtnt at 12:12 PM on April 5, 2013


The Galaxy Nexus, like all Nexus products, is amongst the least "locked down" hardware available to consumers, especially compared to Apple and Microsoft devices.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:12 PM on April 5, 2013


Malor, can you give some examples of how everything is turning to shit because people like different phones than you?

Not to speak for him but balkanization, proprietary walled-gardens lead to a failure of interoperability and a winner-take-all mentality. Look at how texting took almost a decade longer to take hold in the US, because unlike the rest of the world the carriers wanted to confine it to their own network so you'd pressure your friends and family to join. Time has a way of defeating this, though, and it's not the biggest problem we face.

Worse is a monoculture, which Facebook is becoming. A single standard is great if it's an open standard that everyone can implement like, oh, I dunno, the internet itself, the worldwide web, smtp email, etc. Y'know, all that socialist stuff that we helped pay for and just works. But when one company owns it, clutches it to its corporate bosom and fucks with it all they want, not so much.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:16 PM on April 5, 2013 [2 favorites]


(And right now in the mobile and social media spaces we have something of a worst-of-both-worlds scenario: fragmented/walled-garden and closed/proprietary. Something's gotta give.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:17 PM on April 5, 2013


I don't get why anyone uses Facebook, actually. It makes no sense.

It doesn't, and I hate it, but many people have stopped sending out event invitations any other way. I discovered that I was being excluded from social occasions by default:

"Hey, are you coming to my party?"
"What party? I didn't hear about it."
"I'm sure I invited you!"
"No, I didn't get any email..."
"Huh, that's so strange, let me check the facebook invite..."
"ah, I'm still not on Facebook."
"Oh."

I hate this, but this is what people are doing. Not going along with it is like not having a cell phone: it makes life comparatively more difficult for the people who like you, but who don't share your opposition, and only your very best friends will put up with it.

Now I have a facebook account. I treat it like a dangerous biological specimen, isolated in a separate browser which I never use for anything else. I never, ever, ever open it on my phone. I run adblock. The browser resets all cookies on every launch. Fuck them. I look forward to the day that the facebook monopoly collapses. The Bell System was a monopoly, too, once...
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:18 PM on April 5, 2013 [3 favorites]


I predict that a free p2p social app on mobile devices

social app based on bitorrent. all your shit is just a zip, signed and encrypted with multiple public keys for your "friends"
posted by Ad hominem at 12:19 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


The biggest example of this is the Galaxy Nexus, which is in theory supposed to get updates directly from Google since it runs pure Android with no skins.

I have this phone. It pesters me roughly twice a day to upgrade. It's been doing this for most of a year, and I can't find any way to disable the alert. I don't want to upgrade and the more it pesters me the more stubborn I become about it. I will probably nuke Android and install Ubuntu Touch someday, when it's a little more polished, primarily because I'm so tired of being nagged to upgrade. It's my phone, not Google's.
posted by Mars Saxman at 12:20 PM on April 5, 2013


advertising.apple.com

The ads are not shown in the OS, or in Apple's apps. Apple's iAd system exists so that third-party app developers can opt to put ads in their apps, i.e., to get paid from free apps.

Of course, in theory, Apple could one day flip the switch and spam your eyeballs with ads every time you want to check your appointments, but they'd lose a lot of customers. Apple are a premium option partly because their economic incentives align with the gadget buyer, rather than corporate partners or advertisers. The bulk of Apple's profits come from the profit margins on their devices, rather than selling ads (still a niche part of their business), unlike Google or Facebook, and they have no incentive to make the experience incrementally crappier for you, which Google and Facebook both have.
posted by acb at 12:25 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Google doesn't have apps in the OS or first-party apps either. Even Gmail, which has ads in the desktop version, is ad-free on mobile.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:32 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


...social app based on bitorrent.

I'm not sure I see the need for bittorrent in this case, but I am not overly familiar with Facebook, either.

I do understand that FB allows you to store and share a bunch of stuff with other people and I figure a stand-alone app on a smartphone with enough storage could take its place.

By the time 1Tb of handheld storage isn't enough, I'm sure there'll be more.

The person/company producing the app could make some money offering backup services as well. A great tagline would be, "It's like Facebook without the privacy concessions!"

posted by mmrtnt at 12:35 PM on April 5, 2013


I remember when Apple was going to take over the world and destroy freedom, what was it like two years ago? Good thing geeks whining made the world safe again.

I don't know if it's that living on the edge of now things but geeks seem to have horrible sense of perspective. Facebook is as much like the Bell monopoly as its phone is like the beads that bought Manhattan.
posted by Wood at 12:36 PM on April 5, 2013


The ads are not shown in the OS, or in Apple's apps. Apple's iAd system exists so that third-party app developers can opt to put ads in their apps, i.e., to get paid from free apps.

You are aware that this is how Android (and presumably WP and BBOS) work as well, right?

The bulk of Apple's profits come from the profit margins on their devices, rather than selling ads (still a niche part of their business), unlike Google or Facebook, and they have no incentive to make the experience incrementally crappier for you, which Google and Facebook both have.

Oh, please. If Apple didn't have the incentive to engage in selling ads, they wouldn't be in the business. It may be a niche business, but it is there, and as mentioned they're not making the experience any more or less crappy than anybody else.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:39 PM on April 5, 2013


I'm not sure I see the need for bittorrent in this case

Was riffing on the P2P idea. My thought was to persist the data in a kind of decentralized way and make it usable by people with feature phones or no phone at all. Obviously a social network based on distributed hash tables and public key encryption will attract a certain type of user.

For normal people? Yeah you are totally right.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:42 PM on April 5, 2013


and they have no incentive to make the experience incrementally crappier for you, which Google and Facebook both have.

They have incentive to let app developer monetize FartApp Free and sill maintain plausible deniability. Ads aren't part of the core Apple apps, but they are an integral part of the ecosystem.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:56 PM on April 5, 2013


Was riffing on the P2P idea.

Ah!

I'm just stoked on the idea of someone making a Facebook clone app, without any ties to central servers - stand-alone, customizable by the n00b and heavily modifiable by the techies - sharing your data only with others totally at your discretion.

Honestly, the only thing I can think of that stands in the way is the lack of storage on mobile devices.

posted by mmrtnt at 12:56 PM on April 5, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honestly, the only thing I can think of that stands in the way is the lack of storage on mobile devices

Discoverability. You need to be able to search for your friends and also find peers. I think it is a great idea though.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:02 PM on April 5, 2013


If you think about that, that just means no one wants to target you. Are you above 35?

Just re Facebook targeted ads, this is kinda wrong. You're not relegated to doddering senior pile after 35 (much as many might want to be).
posted by sweetkid at 1:12 PM on April 5, 2013


Discoverability

It would be extra-delicious if people were to find others on the original FB and then conduct all further interaction with them on the independent app.

peering

Ah hah! This is where Ad Hominem's suggestion of bittorrent could come into play - when you reach some ceiling on connections, people you share certain data types with would be able to supply fragments of that data to others with the same privilege.

???

Profit!



posted by mmrtnt at 1:17 PM on April 5, 2013


Bittorrent-based p2p social networks FTW!

Wait, why is it taking 2 days to load my news feed?
posted by roboton666 at 2:18 PM on April 5, 2013


Wait, why is it taking 2 days to load my news feed?

Is that a reason it can't be done? Because your phone would have to be connected all the time to stay current and the data charges would bankrupt you?

posted by mmrtnt at 2:31 PM on April 5, 2013


I'm not an expert on distributed systems by any stretch of the imagination so I am just spitballing here.

I think there are a couple issues.

I don't think any carrier or non-rooted mobile os will allow incoming data connections.
And there has to be a way to discover the first peer.

I'm going to ignore those issues.

There needs to be something like a DHT, something robust that can't be totally hijacked. This is distributed across all peers.

Write desktop clients as well, there is no reason not to is there? These are likely always connected and can accept incoming connections and work as seeds and proxies.

You updates/dog pics/whatever are individual encrypted files, not one giant mess.

When you connect to your first peer you pull down some others and connect to those.You immediately start syncing the DHT. As well as start trying to obtain updates recently published by your friends.

In addition, you send your updates to your peers and you are also sent other random updates according to some appropriate algorithm. This ensures that your own updates get out into the wider network, so you don't have to stay connected 24/7 to seed your updates, and other people's updates are not languishing on only a few machines.

Searches are handled by the DHT. It stores public keys, which files are associated with each users, which machines have each chunk, etc.

I think the key to making sure it is decentralized, and still works with transient devices like phones, is to make sure there is as much redundancy as possible while also having "always on" seeds, such as desktop clients.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:30 PM on April 5, 2013


Facebook Doesn't Want People To Freak Out About 'Home' Privacy
posted by homunculus at 5:31 PM on April 5, 2013


Facebook’s ‘Phone’ Is Another Triumph of Mediocrity
posted by homunculus at 5:42 PM on April 5, 2013


I have this phone. It pesters me roughly twice a day to upgrade. It's been doing this for most of a year, and I can't find any way to disable the alert. I don't want to upgrade and the more it pesters me the more stubborn I become about it. I will probably nuke Android and install Ubuntu Touch someday, when it's a little more polished, primarily because I'm so tired of being nagged to upgrade. It's my phone, not Google's.

If you're willing to nuke the phone and install Ubuntu, why not just go the much easier and more importantly, currently available, route and unlock and root the phone? All Nexus phones are easily unlockable and rootable by design. Just do it and install a new ROM that's been compiled from source (and as vanilla or tricked-out as you want, I prefer AOKP) and you'll never be bothered by OS update messages ever again.

Unless, of course, you don't want upgrade to the latest version, which modded ROMs almost always get before the non-rooted folks because source is released well before vendor modifications. I don't know why you'd do that, but if you have your reasons, then more power to you.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:32 AM on April 6, 2013


In other news: Brain Wave Sensor Shields You From Phone Calls When Your Mind Is Too Busy
posted by homunculus at 10:57 AM on April 6, 2013


Honest question: I understand Google's advertising model, and how they pull in money through advertising on YouTube, their search results, etc. etc.

However, people are also talking about Android as being another "you are the product" approach. How does that work? I have an Android phone, and the only ads I've ever seen have been from free apps from companies other than Google. I've never seen any ads in any Google Android apps, or in the OS itself, or, well, anywhere. So if I'm the product, who are they selling me to? I can't imagine it's advertisers, because I'm seeing zero advertising.
posted by Bugbread at 4:39 PM on April 6, 2013


"Yes, that's interesting, but can it report on the health of my colon?" posted by indubitable at 5:24 AM

Of course. Any Android app could do that. Using the same GPS data to figure what you've been eating, how long you sit on the john, whether the situation is deteriorating, or whether you're simply sitting there because it's a comfortable spot.

Caveat: each time you run it, the app will charge you a co-pay.
posted by surplus at 6:16 PM on April 6, 2013


A) It's my understanding that the ads you see on the free apps are placed through Google's AdSense network. Which would mean that every ad-supported app is another opportunity for Google to sell AdSense space.

B) It gets people into the Google ecosystem. They make accounts, feed their browsing history, email, search, Google Now preferences (Which includes home and work locations, sports preferences, movie habits and many more things), etc. back to Google, and Google uses those things to target ads.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:43 PM on April 6, 2013


Bugbread: However, people are also talking about Android as being another "you are the product" approach. How does that work?

Well, remember the big furore about Google merging all their privacy policies? What that means is that all the data they collect about you from your Android phone, like where you live, where you work, the routes you drive, who you talk to via SMS, and your contact list (at the very least) all become fodder for advertising at you in other media. Your use of the phone makes you a more valuable asset across Google's huge range of services, since any data coming from your phone is immediately available anywhere Google wants to use it.

That's why I don't give Google GPS permission anymore, which makes Maps much less useful. I wish Garmin would do a standalone Android mapping app, because I'd prefer to just outright buy a mapping app that doesn't spy on me.
posted by Malor at 10:54 PM on April 6, 2013


Ok, that makes sense. Thanks.
posted by Bugbread at 6:34 AM on April 7, 2013


It's my understanding that the ads you see on the free apps are placed through Google's AdSense network.

A minor point, but developers can use any ad network they want, they don't have to use Google's and many don't (although I'm guessing Google's is the most used, so the point certainly stands).
posted by markr at 10:48 PM on April 7, 2013


The sharing (and selling) of Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg: In order to peddle a new product that he hopes will take over your Android phone, Mark Zuckerberg seems to feel forced to share details about himself. After all, the more human he appears, the more you can trust him, right?
posted by homunculus at 7:57 PM on April 8, 2013


Why do you think Facebook chooses the targets of the ads, and not the advertiser? That is like blaming CBS for showing bad commercials on a TV show.

Because they do. I work for a credit union, and we have occasionally tossed around the idea of Facebook advertising. As it stands - it's a terrible horrid platform for advertising. We can't advertise to people who can join our credit union, because facebook doesn't let you control for that sort of thing. It's basically demographic info - age, vague location and male/female. (It's mildly more complex than that, but only just barely.) It's absolutely rubbish. Facebook has all the data in the world, but advertisers don't get to make use of it.
posted by stoneweaver at 2:45 PM on April 10, 2013


Public Service Announcement: How to Uninstall Facebook Home
posted by homunculus at 12:39 PM on April 14, 2013


In other news: Siri Remembers Your Secrets, But for How Long?
posted by homunculus at 12:44 PM on April 18, 2013


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