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Cats Defending Henhouses
September 30, 2008 11:58 AM   Subscribe

Worried about social-network data mining? Facebook hires Ted Ullyot, former right-hand man to former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, as its general counsel. Tapping Ullyot, who worked on the infamous torture memo and other illustrious projects, is a sign that the burgeoning Scrabble platform "is a little more grown-up," says Facebook public-policy VP Elliot Schrage.
posted by digaman (40 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
He's got a helluva resume. Former GC of AOL Time Warner Europe too.
posted by digaman at 12:01 PM on September 30, 2008


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by The White Hat at 12:03 PM on September 30, 2008


"burgeoning Scrabble platform"... classic.
posted by shmegegge at 12:06 PM on September 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Facebook continues to differentiate itself by going for the "be evil" market, I see.
posted by enn at 12:06 PM on September 30, 2008 [14 favorites]


Er... hmm. Time to find a new social networking site.
posted by Caduceus at 12:07 PM on September 30, 2008


*pokes Mark Zuckerberg in the eye*
posted by clearly at 12:10 PM on September 30, 2008


Facebook continues to differentiate itself by going for the "be evil" market, I see.

When your main competitor is MySpace, I'm not sure I'd call it differentiation.
posted by designbot at 12:12 PM on September 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


If one felt strongly about it, one could write privacy@facebook.com and let them know.
posted by jedicus at 12:12 PM on September 30, 2008


Mohammed al-Qahtani was poked by: Donald Rumsfeld.
poke back | remove
posted by designbot at 12:17 PM on September 30, 2008 [11 favorites]


Perhaps closer to Harrison Burgeoning Scrabble platform. *rearranges letters from "Unfairer Gaol," nearly spells ORGANFAILURE, but forgets due to a blast of pipe organs from his Harsh Equalization Techniques Headphones*
posted by adipocere at 12:21 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


If one felt strongly about it, one could write privacy@facebook.com and let them know.

Everyone knows how this will really go down--an anti-Ullyot facebook group, of course.
posted by Benjy at 12:23 PM on September 30, 2008


As long as I can keep marking diet-related ads as "offensive," I think I'll be okay.

(ok, I'm addicted to the D&D Tiny Adventures application. I'll admit it. Please don't judge me.)
posted by giraffe at 12:26 PM on September 30, 2008


That guy definitely looks like 100% pure, concentrated dick molded into the shape of a human being, almost like a more youthful McCain who with the greater range of bodily motion afforded him by turning the clock back forty years would delight in using every last shred of this extra slipperiness in a remorseless attempt to fuck your girlfriend the minute you left the room.

Having said that, the flipside is how willingly people dish their shit out on Facebook; it's just about every day that I get some notification on there saying "YOUR FRIEND WANTS YOU TO HELP TEND HIS IMAGINARY GARDEN PATCH. LOOK, THERE'S LAWN GNOMES, JUST PLUG THIS JACK DIRECTLY INTO YOUR BRAIN AND LET US FEEEEEEEED OFF YOU" and I'm like, shit, if you want my goods you're going to buy me some coke or something, man. You got to fly me somewhere in a Lear jet full of naked supermodels, you know, plugging into the mainline just for "good karma" or a cupcake or some shit ain't cutting it.
posted by The Straightener at 12:29 PM on September 30, 2008 [8 favorites]


I couldn't care less.
posted by smackfu at 12:30 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


(About Facebook hiring some random "bad" lawyer that is, not the comment above mine. I bet most GCs couldn't stand up to scrutiny of their resumes.)
posted by smackfu at 12:31 PM on September 30, 2008


Everyone knows how this will really go down--an anti-Ullyot facebook group, of course.

Already there. It is ironic and stupid, I know, but also a quick way to spread a word inside Facebook, and inside Facebook is what matters here. It is easier to leave Facebook if people you're in contact with by Facebook leave with you.
posted by Free word order! at 12:31 PM on September 30, 2008


A one column-inch "Valley Moves" entry from the Business section of the San Jose Mercury is the best of the web? Really?
posted by GuyZero at 12:34 PM on September 30, 2008


This post is kind of self-defeating; the phrase "cat guarding the henhouse" suggests that he's in charge of something valuable but you dismiss it as a 'burgeoning scrabble platform'. Am I supposed to be alarmed that somebody who's bad is guarding something that's useless?
posted by mattholomew at 12:39 PM on September 30, 2008


Mattholomew, I'll have to have you parse all my FPPs so closely in the future to avoid similar mortifying disasters. Thank you, sir or madam.
posted by digaman at 12:45 PM on September 30, 2008


Joseph Palmi: Let me ask you something... we Italians, we got our families, and we got the church; the Irish, they have the homeland, Jews their tradition; even the niggers, they got their music. What about you people, Mr. Wilson, what do you have?

Edward Wilson: The United States of America. The rest of you are just visiting.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:48 PM on September 30, 2008


*moves over to Assbook*
posted by jimmythefish at 12:50 PM on September 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Why does Facebook have a public policy VP? How much interest does Facebook have in shaping and changing public policy? How does Facebook intend to make money from customer and member reactions to new policy?
posted by infinitewindow at 12:56 PM on September 30, 2008


Everyone who worked for Bush should recieve The Mark.
posted by Artw at 12:59 PM on September 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Mohammed al-Qahtani was poked by: Donald Rumsfeld.
poke back | remove


Maybe waterboarding will be a new option, instead of just poking?
posted by inigo2 at 1:09 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


(And to think I was just shunning them because they're a "walled garden".)
posted by lodurr at 1:09 PM on September 30, 2008


I will be closing my facebook account.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:12 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Everyone who worked for Bush should receive The Mark Subpoena.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:12 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Worried about social-network data mining?

Not exactly.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:14 PM on September 30, 2008


Why does Facebook have a public policy VP?

Given that people frequently propose laws that would regulate or affect various aspects of social networking sites (eg privacy, safety, intellectual property, net neutrality) it makes total sense for them to have someone working in this area. Pity they hired someone who's such a creep.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 1:18 PM on September 30, 2008


I Google Image Searched "ted ullyot" and got a high kitten-to-noise ratio.

I guess this is Facebook's way of whitewashing Ullyot's sordid past.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:22 PM on September 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Scrabilious, now in Beta.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:01 PM on September 30, 2008


I think it's important to clarify something that these links are omitting. Ullyot may have been at the White House when the Torture Memos were first proposed by Yoo and Bybee, but there's really no way he had a hand in them. The insider's account of The Terror Presidency by Jack Goldsmith makes it quite clear how Yoo and Addington employed secrecy to make sure that the only people involved were those who would never fight back.

So the real question is this: do we want to condemn anyone who ever worked for the Bush Administration through guilt-by-association? I mean, this guy has incredible credentials and I was under the impression that some on this board wanted the best-and-the-brightest to go work for the public sector. If we just throw the baby out with the bathwater, then a lot of really qualified liberal attorneys may cautiously wonder if it's worth working for Obama if a change in the political winds means you're permanently unemployable.

I probably disagree with this guy on everything he's ever thought of and can't imagine we'd ever be drinking buddies. Yet until there's any evidence that he had any role in wrongdoing, it's a huge mistake to lump him together with those that really did the damage. Hell, for all we know, he fought hard to uphold the rule of law and fight back against those like Yoo and Addington. Find me something concrete and I'll get my pitchfork and lead the charge. This is pretty weak though.
posted by allen.spaulding at 2:13 PM on September 30, 2008


do we want to condemn anyone who ever worked for the Bush Administration through guilt-by-association?

That depends on what you mean by "condemn". If you mean establishing guilt beyond reasonable doubt, through the formal due process of law, that would be going a bit too far.

Better to just extraordinarily rendition them all to Poland or Kazakhastan or somewhere, and waterboard them until they admit they know the whereabouts of that 1.5 Trillion that supposedly "just disappeared".
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:26 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


So the real question is this: do we want to condemn anyone who ever worked for the Bush Administration through guilt-by-association?

Yes. Because what makes this administration bad isn't a "change in the political winds". This administration has been criminally inept, and ineptly criminal. And it's come out time and time again, ESPECIALLY at the DOJ that blind loyalty was at the top of list of interview questions.

We know who the people who spoke up and fought back were. They were the ones who were called traitors to their country and fired, or worse. Remember the whole Valerie Plame/Scooter Libby thing? That was what happened when you spoke up.

I don't know if this guy is a bad guy or not, but it's not a stretch in the slightest to look at anybody coming out of this administration with skepticism and distrust. The benefit of the doubt for this crew was squandered long ago.

But it doesn't really matter.To quote The Wire. Why'd you keep letting him play when you know he's gonna break up the game and steal the money?

This America, man...Gotta let him play.
posted by billyfleetwood at 2:36 PM on September 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


“Ted has extremely strong connections with the Republican party, and we think that’s a good thing,” Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president of communications and public policy (and himself a lawyer), told the LAT.

Way to keep up with the times, there.

Anyway, as others said I've never heard of this guy before, unlike Addington or Yoo. To say that no one who had a high level job with the Bush Administration can ever have another high-level job is... Well actually I would be fine with that.

But someone really ought to come up with an open version of facebook that's not centralized. Centralization didn't work for Napster, and I don't think it's a good idea here. some MIT Students actually came up with a protocol, noserub but It doesn't seem to have really taken off.
posted by delmoi at 2:41 PM on September 30, 2008


Er... hmm. Time to find a new social networking site.
posted by Caduceus


Er.... hmm. Time to go outside and see the real world.
posted by Eekacat at 2:43 PM on September 30, 2008


INT. FACEBOOK GLOBAL MOUNTAIN HQ

Data Support Guy (breathless): Sir! Sir! We've finally collated all the stripmined personal data from our servers! You're not going to believe this!

Boss Guy: Well? What is it? For God's sake man, spit it out!

Data Support Guy: We're still working on the exact figures, but this preliminary report seems to suggest that...that Rachel likes Troy but she caught Melissa kissing Aaron, but that was only because Rochelle told Carla about Franco and Danielle behind the janitor's shed, and then they shared a cigarette they stole from Xavier's mom's handbag and drank a whole Bacardi Breezer and got like, so smashed.

Boss Guy: This is a very troubling development indeed!

Data Support Guy: That's not all, sir...

Boss Guy: You mean to tell me there's more? Very well, go on.

Data Support Guy: It's just...it's hard to say exactly...but looking at the information I have here, it seems that...it seems that a lot of these people really like cats.

Boss Guy: Sweet merciful virgin mother of our Lord Christ Jesus.

Data Support Guy: And they hate the new layout!

Boss Guy: I guess a part of me always knew this day would come. GET THE WHITE HOUSE ON THE LINE RIGHT AWAY!
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:18 PM on September 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


I must now roam the streets looking for a conversation into which I can inject "kitten-to-noise ratio." I'm like a zombie that way.
posted by JHarris at 3:19 PM on September 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Where the hell are the singing cats?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:22 PM on September 30, 2008


Er.... hmm. Time to go outside and see the real world.

How incredibly ironic.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:27 PM on September 30, 2008


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