Skip

Your facebook is an open book.
January 22, 2010 1:43 PM   Subscribe


 
I don't get the fixation on this. Why would I worry about my facebook being private. What's the point. What little I put on facebook I put there so it can be public. If you have things you want kept private publishing them on facebook is a poor way to go about it.
posted by Babblesort at 1:54 PM on January 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


If you have things you want kept private publishing them on facebook is a poor way to go about it.

this
posted by eyeballkid at 1:56 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you have things you want kept private publishing them on facebook is a poor way to go about it.

Maybe you want an easy way to keep in touch with a few friends and not share your personal life with everyone?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:58 PM on January 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


I never understood the confusion over this. Don't people check their privacy settings? Is it so hard to understand that "Only Friends" means only friends, and "Everyone" means everyone?
posted by Saxon Kane at 1:59 PM on January 22, 2010


Maybe you want an easy way to keep in touch with a few friends and not share your personal life with everyone?

Email?
Private, password-protected blog?
Livejournal community?
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:01 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Email?
Private, password-protected blog?
Livejournal community?


How about Facebook, along with some reasonable privacy settings? I really don't understand why this is so controversial, on both sides.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:03 PM on January 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Sure BP. But does that mean that you should complain to the FTC when your free easy way to communicate with a few friends turned out to not work the way you thought it did? I like facebook fine for what it is but I don't see anything it provides as a right that I need a government agency to police for me.
posted by Babblesort at 2:04 PM on January 22, 2010


Just saying that there are no shortages of ways to do what you're proposing, sometimes even easier and on an even more private level.

Facebook's old privacy settings were great, but apparently people found them too complex. The new ones suck, but are easier for everyone and their parents to understand. I don't get the confusion over the current settings either.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:06 PM on January 22, 2010


I think the issue is that they recently changed how they had their privacy settings set up, and that threw everyone off. I know that all my settings went from "friends only" to "friends of friends" and I was kinda thrown.

And it's not a matter of putting things of a national-security level up - I don't want my exes (who are "friends of friends") seeing pictures of me where I am looking anything less than completely fierce and fabulous and HOTTTTTTTTTTTTTT.
posted by Lucinda at 2:06 PM on January 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Don't people check their privacy settings?

You'd be surprised. Facebook recently did a bunch of changes and even if though I was aware of it, and thought I made it the correct privacy settings, some of my info was open to the public. A guide to privacy on Facebook is probably the best way to find out, since you can push a button and find out what other people see your page as. I'm kind of surprised when I open some people's pages, friends of friends, and find as much info as I do.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:07 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


And by people found them too complex, I mean they didn't sit through and read every layer. There is, of course, the other side of the coin that is Facebook trying to monetize its base better.
posted by cmgonzalez at 2:07 PM on January 22, 2010


My solution to the problem was to give up the notion of privacy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:08 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why would I worry about my facebook being private. What's the point.

FTA:
If you accepted the new recommended settings then you voluntarily gave Facebook the right to share the information about the items you post with any user or application on the site. Depending on your search settings, you may have also given Facebook the right to share that information with search engines, too.

That's why.
posted by anti social order at 2:09 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess I just don't understand why people don't spend all their time in a virtual-reality simulation of reality with computer-generated friends and family. I mean, is actual reality really necessary? There are plenty of other ways to live.
posted by blue_beetle at 2:10 PM on January 22, 2010


But does that mean that you should complain to the FTC when your free easy way to communicate with a few friends turned out to not work the way you thought it did?

Absolutely. But then I think we deserve to have strong privacy rights that automatically override the commercial interests of entities like Google, Microsoft, Metafilter, Facebook, et al. So I support the FTC on this, as much as I support people who call Internet companies on trying to get away with these shenanigans, such as monetizing your personal data without your consent. I guess it's a matter of perspective.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:12 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Don't people check their privacy settings?

Yeah, and they always floss after eating and fully review all software licenses before hitting "I accept".

Company says "X" but it's actually "Y & Z", thus the complaint.



Aside: what with the snarky "not-questions"?
posted by anti social order at 2:12 PM on January 22, 2010


My solution to the problem was to give up the notion of privacy.

Mmm, pizza.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:14 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Livejournal community?

Carrier pigeon?
Delivery via running slave?
Seriously, Livejournal? I understand if you're uncomfortable with new things, but don't be ridiculous. I read the article, made the recommended changes, and now I'm fine.
posted by DecemberBoy at 2:15 PM on January 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's not so much controversial, but as anyone that is the least bit security savvy knows most people don't change default security settings. This is more a matter of education just like it is with stupid passwords.
posted by melt away at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2010


FTA:
If you accepted the new recommended settings then you voluntarily gave Facebook the right to share the information about the items you post with any user or application on the site. Depending on your search settings, you may have also given Facebook the right to share that information with search engines, too.

That's why.
posted by anti social order


Nope. I did adjust my security settings on an item by item level. But I wouldn't have cared anyway.

My default assumption when I put something on the net is that it will show up in search engines and other parts of the application. Facebook is free. I don't have any inherent right to it. If I accept their default settings and use their free service on those settings why should I be able to complain?

I'm serious about this. It'd be something different if my IRS forms became available via google. I'm required to submit those. No one requires me to use facebook. If you aren't comfortable with facebook's privacy options, don't use it.
posted by Babblesort at 2:17 PM on January 22, 2010


Only way to get some privacy is to not give out any real data. Which is why FB is out of the question for me.
posted by telstar at 2:23 PM on January 22, 2010


No one requires me to use facebook. If you aren't comfortable with facebook's privacy options, don't use it.

That same reasoning could be used to get rid of all kinds of government regulation of business transactions.

No one requires people to eat meat or drink milk, for example, but we still have food safety laws that regulate their production and distribution, because there is a public interest in doing so.

For something as widespread as the Internet, there is a good argument for a public interest in privacy policies and enforcement. Facebook shouldn't be above the law.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:23 PM on January 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Facebook is free. I don't have any inherent right to it. If I accept their default settings and use their free service on those settings why should I be able to complain?

Got it. Why use facebook when you can GOOGLE RON PAUL!
posted by anti social order at 2:35 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why would anyone want to use Facebook to communicate with people they do know when they could use MetaFilter to communicate with people they don't know about how why don't you get outside and send someone a fucking telegram like we used to already?
posted by 0xFCAF at 2:43 PM on January 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


The cunning thing about Facebook is that they've managed to create the widely-held impression of a private environment, while leaking as much data as possible to search engines and apps.

I wouldn't say their approach to privacy is unethical... but it certainly feels a little sneaky and disingenuous.
posted by malevolent at 2:49 PM on January 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


I've gotten 3 Facebook ads in the past week that are like "We're giving away a trip to a 35 year old woman!" and I'm all HOW DID YOU KNOW??
posted by desjardins at 2:57 PM on January 22, 2010


I guess I need to rethink how I feel about this. Evidently, because I can't get too excited about people not making use of the simple controls on their free toy, I am a libertarian who wants to poison children's milk.
posted by Babblesort at 3:10 PM on January 22, 2010


Can you prove that you don't want to poison children's milk? Huh?
posted by desjardins at 3:16 PM on January 22, 2010


It's a fair cop. I do in fact want to poison children's milk. By god I hate milk! Not the precious children you understand, I love them. But the milk must die.
posted by Babblesort at 3:23 PM on January 22, 2010


I am a libertarian who wants to poison children's milk.

No middle ground, huh.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:33 PM on January 22, 2010


Is Facebook something I'd have to have the Internet to know about?

/always wanted to be that douchebag here, just one time
posted by GamblingBlues at 3:38 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


No middle ground, huh.
posted by Blazecock Pileon


ummm. that was kinda the point I was implying there with my response.

My lack of excitement about facebook privacy issues got turned into GOOGLE RON PAUL and a teflon slope argument for removing regulations on food safety. The point I was trying to make in a humorous way is that I think my meh response to facebook privacy outrage lies closer to the middle ground than libertarians poisoning milk.

I really don't care enough about facebook to be in a fight with anyone about it. I've said my piece. I don't think I have anything useful to add.
posted by Babblesort at 3:46 PM on January 22, 2010


I guess I just don't understand why people don't spend all their time in a virtual-reality simulation of reality with computer-generated friends and family. I mean, is actual reality really necessary? There are plenty of other ways to live.

Exactly! Sometimes actual reality is not an option. I'm disabled, sometimes bed ridden for weeks, and connecting with people via the internet IS my only socialization. I cannot wait for a virtual world with computer-generated friends and family - then I can have them programed to actually give a shit about my status updates!
posted by _paegan_ at 4:55 PM on January 22, 2010


You know, only a CIA front would spend as much effort as facebook to get people's real names.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:47 PM on January 22, 2010


I am seriously dubious that real names are wise for social networking sites. Twitter solves this problem by not expecting that twitter accounts are unique, honest, or identifiable.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:54 PM on January 22, 2010


I read the article, made the recommended changes, and now I'm fine.

You are? I'm less concerned with "the public" getting my data than I am with FaceBook itself.

That said, the main reason I don't use FaceBook, other than that it is unusable, is that I already have an internet that isn't owned by a private company. Why people who laughed at AOLonline now use FaceBook is beyond me.
posted by DU at 6:02 PM on January 22, 2010


Email?

Guess you haven't run into anyone yet who responds to "what's your email address with?" with "just friend me on Facebook, I don't check email anymore."

Livejournal community?

Don't really see the difference in trusting your private info to Livejournal vs. Facebook. Especially with that weird Russian Livejournal buyout.
posted by smackfu at 6:43 PM on January 22, 2010


I am seriously dubious that real names are wise for social networking sites

I am seriously dubious that many people understand how flimsy the protection that pseudonyms versus real names offer them against any person sufficiently motivated to figure out how they are, particularly if the person interested in them has any connection, official or unofficial, to law enforcement.

People post all sorts of personal information on MetaFilter and other public forums, a lot of that information way more personal or potentially controversial than what one usually sees on Facebook, yet quite a few seem to think that because they aren't using their real name they have this great protection against people figuring out who they are. This a false security. The amount of personally identifying information posted just here by users operating strictly under nicknames is probably sufficient to out over half of them, as a WAG, even without the intervention of legal or extralegal processes.

I suspect that the main reason most people posting under a moniker don't get outed is because almost no one cares all that much who they really are.

(Operating under my real name online for approximately 25 years now, and not even one stalker yet. Dammit!)
posted by mdevore at 6:58 PM on January 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


As a once avid Livejournaler, I can attest to the fact that it is and never was a good means of "social networking." It's ridiculous to think that the service could be used to be even half of what Facebook is. Email is even more barbaric in this regard. Facebook isn't for people who want to send the occasional "Here's all the kids in a pile of leaves! Sally's in 5th grade, they're doing a play - she'd love for you to attend!"

Perhaps the concept doesn't make sense to a lot of people, and that's fine, but that doesn't mean that the people who do use it shouldn't have the right to say "I only want friends with the exception of co-workers to see this," and not have that be the case. I make it a point to keep things - specifically photos - I don't want publicly thrown about.

I can obviously still copy an image's location and paste it for absolutely anyone and everyone to see regardless of if they are friends with that person or not. I know this, but not everyone does. MySpace is the exact same way. There's really no getting around things like this for the time being. I wish that people were made more aware of this, but at the same time, it really isn't anyone's responsibility but the person who uploaded the photo's.

Then you've got ~*~sXeLiZzY224~*~ who says she's 18 but is actually 11 uploading scantily clad photos of her and her friends and then befriending her teachers and relatives, not understanding the concept at all.

So really, it's both the responsibility of the site and the end-user. But fingers will continually be pointed at both and kids will be told to get off lawns and go to other, "greener" grasses, where the problem at it's heart still stands.
posted by june made him a gemini at 8:17 PM on January 22, 2010


I don't get the fixation on this. Why would I worry about my facebook being private.

I don't know about you, but when I joined Facebook, it was private. So I think I'm entitled to an expectation of privacy, there, which I'm no longer receiving.

As well as that: when FB made the last privacy changes, they recommended that people adopt less secure settings (so if you didn't pay attention and just clicked 'yes' to what they told you, you can say goodbye to your privacy.

It's not easily obvious how to change some of your privacy settings (for instance, the option to make your friends list private isn't available under the Privacy heading; it's accessed through your profile - and whoever looks at their own profile?).

I like FB, but their approach to privacy is not ideal.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:04 PM on January 22, 2010


I don't know about you, but when I joined Facebook, it was private. So I think I'm entitled to an expectation of privacy, there, which I'm no longer receiving.

And that's a good summary, right there.

Or to sum up the problem with Facebook in three words: bait and switch.
posted by gimonca at 8:39 AM on January 23, 2010


My solution to the problem was to give up the notion of privacy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:08 PM on January 22 [2 favorites +] [!] .


Mmm, pizza.

posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:14 PM on January 22 [1 favorite +] [!]

I think the point Astro Zombie was trying to make is not that we should give up on privacy altogether, but that we should give up any idea that FB's controls will reliably give you the privacy you might expect.

In FB you cannot set an entry to friends-only, but you can set a bunch of privacy controls that may result in items being hidden when combined with your application settings, search settings, block lists applied, networks and groups joined, your 'friend list' settings, and your friends 'friend list' and privacy settings.

The only way to reliably figure out all the FB controls is to create a second SockPuppet account, friend yourself and start testing, just bear in mind that FB will change the rules from week to week, so you will have to keep repeating this exercise regularly.

By comparison, in LiveJournal you can just set an entry to Friends only - it becomes visible only to friends - old school, simple, understandable. A lot of people underestimate LJ, theres some very good content on there but you won't get access to the good stuff without an invite.
posted by Lanark at 8:51 AM on January 23, 2010


OK, this is way worse than I thought, and I take back my previous "now I'm fine" comment. For one thing, you know those wacky "what Muppet should I fuck"? quizzes? Well, it turns out that Facebook has not implemented privacy controls at ALL for those, and they can freely grab anything you've written anywhere on Facebook. And Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has made it absolutely clear that he considers privacy a quaint relic of the past. This info is all going around in Facebook groups, so I can't really link to it, but if you're on Facebook take the ACLU's demonstrative quiz about how much info quiz/other apps can access.
posted by DecemberBoy at 10:08 AM on January 23, 2010


Set your profile to public, Mark Zuckerberg

Full disclosure: this is my friend's group that he started shortly after I re-posted this story to Facebook.
posted by DecemberBoy at 7:15 PM on January 23, 2010


I'm all for facebook having reasonable privacy settings but like
"Think your facebook profile's private?"
Anybody who thinks this after this long is just.. not thinking.
posted by tehloki at 3:28 PM on January 24, 2010


« Older A Russian army recruit's scrap book   |   Jurors have a power so secret... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post