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Facebook knows where you are.
August 20, 2010 2:41 PM   Subscribe

Facebook Places is the latest creation of the Facebook team. Similar to Foursquare, it seeks to make it easier for people to share their location with their friends. Perhaps predictably, people are publicizing steps for how to disable it on your Facebook account. Over at Slate, writer Farhad Manjoo debates the impact Places might have on society. Ready, set, go!
posted by elder18 (69 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
The best part about Facebook Places is the logo. See that? There's no way that's not intentional.
posted by koeselitz at 2:46 PM on August 20, 2010 [10 favorites]


The really frustrating part is that you can't disable it. Sure, you can prevent your friends from checking you in. But you can't stop them from "tagging" you as being at a particular place when they check themselves in.

Well, actually, the really frustrating part is that Facebook keeps doing this. It really shouldn't be that hard to provide meaningful privacy controls to tamp off access where you want to, because most people are going to remain very public and that's fine. But at this point it really is like they're just trying to be dicks about it.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:46 PM on August 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


The biggest thing that irritates me about places from a business prospective is that they haven't given a way to either add place data to your existing business page or to merge/link the two. So in the last 2 years if you setup a Business Page, you now have to start over from scratch with Places for followers, content, customization, etc. It's a very stupid thing.
posted by msbutah at 2:47 PM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


A friend of mine (real life, as well as facebook friend, FWIW) has been enthusiatically using Foursquare for weeks now, broadcasting to all his friends where he is every evening. I said to him, "Well, on the bright side, when you come home one night to find your computer and plasma TV gone you will have a list of 735 suspects."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:50 PM on August 20, 2010 [9 favorites]


But at this point it really is like they're just trying to be dicks about it.

Well, yes.
posted by kenko at 2:50 PM on August 20, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yet another reason to give to my friends for not being on Facebook.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:51 PM on August 20, 2010


Every day, Facebook creates new and unique reasons for people to stop using it.
posted by mattdidthat at 2:52 PM on August 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


mattdidthat: "Every day, Facebook creates new and unique reasons for people to stop using it."

I did, after the last round of privacy-raping, and I couldn't be happier.
posted by Roman Graves at 2:55 PM on August 20, 2010


You can "disable" it by not being in the US.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 2:58 PM on August 20, 2010


If these things were so great they should come opt in.

I wrote facebook a letter complaining that they change their site and their options too damn often. I operate on muscle memory. If logout isn't where i expect it to be I'm not going to do it. If I can't adjust privacy settings easily I won't use facebook.

This is coming from a guy who lives his life online. I don't care about privacy in most places. I do there. On twitter people can see what I say, but the difference there is it's text only and everyone uses it superficially (it's dick jokes and food pics). For me the expectation is higher on facebook. It's more like having a personal blog.

The stupid thing about privacy settings though is that you can block someone, but if you post something you don't want your boss to see, chances are one of your friends will show him.
posted by cjorgensen at 3:00 PM on August 20, 2010


Facebook teaches me important lessons in discretion. It's not simply that it is not a good idea to bail on something you promised because a photo of you, tagged, might show up on Facebook,or you might get mentioned in a Tweet, or geotagged in some way. It was never a good idea, because it was always possible for word to get back to them, and now the mechanism for this is visible.

I have a private identity I do not share with Facebook. It hasn't taken away the part of my I keep from public view. Nobody knows what I do when I am by myself, and would only know if I chose to share it. It involves superhero costumes, and that's all I shall say.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:01 PM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


If Facebook were a place in the real world, I would endorse burning it to the ground and salting the earth in the spot where once it stood.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:02 PM on August 20, 2010 [6 favorites]



I use Facebook, and will continue to I'm sure. But once you break it down, it's really appallingly simple:

The advertisers give Facebook money. They are the customers.
We use Facebook for free. We are the product that advertisers pay to get access to.

So the question is, why do we expect new features to make us happy?
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:05 PM on August 20, 2010 [8 favorites]


What happens if you use a proxy? Could I suddenly hop between somewhere in the Netherlands, then appear in Chile?

"Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity" -- Mark Zuckerberg

"I maintain my integrity by keeping my personal life different from my professional life, because what happens with my friends is no concern to my boss or co-workers" -- filthy light thief

I've propagated a number of different handles across different networks, explicitly to distance myself in different venues. There is some cross-over when I mention my activities on one or another, so someone who was really dedicated could sleuth their way back to me, but that's more work than I'd credit most folks with. And anyway, most of my online activities are quite benign.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:09 PM on August 20, 2010


They should start charging for privacy. For $10.00 a month they will turn this feature off, for $15.00 they could make it so no one (except facebook) sees your wall.

For $20.00 a month they will and break your fingers.
posted by Back to you, Jim. at 3:11 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


when you come home one night to find your computer and plasma TV gone

Andy Baio on your reasoning
posted by 7segment at 3:11 PM on August 20, 2010 [6 favorites]


come and break your fingers.
posted by Back to you, Jim. at 3:11 PM on August 20, 2010


If you're like me, when you find a place you really like, you want to tell your friends you're there.

I am not like this. If I find a place I really like, I just concentrate on enjoying being there, and when I'm done enjoying myself I go home and maybe post about it on FB if I think my friends would be interested in checking it out sometime. I guess I'm just hopelessly out of touch because I'm not on my phone 24/7 texting about where I am and what I'm doing.

Ever gone to a show, only to find out afterward that your friends were there too?

Yeah. So? If I'm at a show I want to watch/listen to the show, not squint at my phone to see if there's anybody I know on the other side of the stadium. Besides, if I'm at a show, I most likely posted about it ahead of time, "I'm going to the [Whoever] concert tomorrow night, can't wait," and if any of my friends were also going they'd have seen that and offered to carpool with me, probably.

Sooooooooooo many solutions in search of a problem these days.
posted by Gator at 3:16 PM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


If Facebook were a place in the real world, I would endorse burning it to the ground and salting the earth in the spot where once it stood.

"If"?? Facebook's not that virtual. The employees all go somewhere every day. Good luck with that plan.
posted by GuyZero at 3:17 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Andy Baio on your reasoning

Actually, it is Andy Baio quoting Family Circle on the perils of answering machines in 1983. This is the whatever the reverse of argument from authority is.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 3:21 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


the [Whoever]

Great band!
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:24 PM on August 20, 2010


The best part about Facebook Places is the logo. See that? There's no way that's not intentional.

Nope. Just looks like the pins from the google maps app. Are you saying the circle is a goatse or something? Seems like a stretch (sorry!).

Sooooooooooo many solutions in search of a problem these days.

I think they are just rationalizations and the way people use these services is more like the way some people compulsively take pictures of themselves "having fun" out at clubs. Some need to prove they are doing fun stuff and have a life to people who don't really care. I might just be a crank though, so grain of salt and all that. Most of my status updates are political. Great passive audience for that kind of thing, and the links get spread fast.
posted by cj_ at 3:26 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


But you can't stop them from "tagging" you as being at a particular place when they check themselves in.

Account -> Privacy Settings -> Customize Settings -> "Things others share" -> "Friends can check me into places" -> Disable.

I assume that people can still comment about being around you when they post, but well that's not new.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:28 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can sort of understand the attraction of the idea of Places/Foursquare, because I live in a city that's small enough that I run into my friends by accident. I suppose in a more spread out place, it wouldn't happen as often, but we might pass within a block of each other, close enough that it would be convenient to spontaneously have lunch together.

But I'd rather just depend on happenstance.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:29 PM on August 20, 2010


Do you carry a cell phone? We already know where you are.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:29 PM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]



MetaFilter: We can hate Facebook because you don't know our real names.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 3:30 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


The best part about Facebook Places is the logo. See that? There's no way that's not intentional.

Nope. Just looks like the pins from the google maps app. Are you saying the circle is a goatse or something? Seems like a stretch (sorry!).


I think koeselitz is referring to the square with the streets that form the numeral 4 (i.e. "bye bye foursquare").
posted by mrgrimm at 3:31 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


So the question is, why do we expect new features to make us happy?

Because no social network, which gains more users by enticing them and catering to their desires instead of being huge dicks about privacy, have pushed it this far. Facebook is the major player in the much of the world, but not everywhere. If the product disappears, why would the consumers still want to pay?

Diaspora*, the Opensource Facebook Killer, is two months into production, but their last blog update was over a month agoThey could be working so hard that they don't have time for public updates, or they're not meeting deadlines and they don't want to tell anyone.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:35 PM on August 20, 2010


I think koeselitz is referring to the square with the streets that form the numeral 4 (i.e. "bye bye foursquare").

Is that what that's supposed to mean? I assumed it was Doctor Doom threatening Reed Richards again.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:45 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is such a scary privacy issue. Did you hear about the new feature they're rolling out next- it's even scarier!

It's called "Facebook Words." ANYONE can tell people EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE just by using the descriptive power of "Words." Frightening.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:47 PM on August 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


I am here. My house is not. Maybe you'd like to go round and borrow some things?
posted by i_cola at 3:54 PM on August 20, 2010


The stupid thing about privacy settings though is that you can block someone, but if you post something you don't want your boss to see, chances are one of your friends will show him.

Pick better friends. Or unfriend them.

My boss is my friend on Facebook. It hasn't hindered my enjoyment of the service much (probably since my mom is too). If I want to post pictures of coke-fueled prostitute parties, I won't post them to Facebook.

If someone posts a picture or video of me I don't want anyone to see, I'd untag myself and ask them to take it down. It hasn't happened yet. If it does, well, see "pick better friends." We'd have a talk.

I can understand the complaints from people who have used Facebook and now think, "hey, this isn't how I wanted this service to develop," but I don't understand how people who don't use the service can hate it so much.

It's a genuine phenomenon. A lot of people who have actively chosen not to use Facebook hate it with a passion. I suppose they think they've been unfairly excluded from photos, videos, and invites from people too stupid to know how bad Facebook sucks? Or else they're worried people are posting images and videos of them without their consent. I dunno. The hatred seems odd to me because I can't put my finger on why.

Maybe it's a little like iTunes Store hate. Facebook is the leading social-network service and they're setting bad behavior as a precedent for everyone else? Is that it?

ANYONE can tell people EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE just by using the descriptive power of "Words."

I think I agree. The "danger" of Facebook was inherent from the start--any input from your friends is (usually) shared with all your other friends. If you have friends who you don't want sharing information (i.e. wife and mistress), you're sorta screwed. It's what Facebook does. Don't use it if you don't want it to do that, or don't "friend" friends you don't want to share with.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:58 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, I see. A 4 in a square. I didn't catch that. I just wanted to make a goatse joke, anyway.

It's called "Facebook Words." ANYONE can tell people EXACTLY WHERE YOU ARE just by using the descriptive power of "Words." Frightening.

Sure. And people could run photocopies of embarrassing pictures and post them on telephone poles, and so on. My objection isn't that it's enabling something that was simply not possible before, but that it automates, abstracts, and obfuscates it to such a degree that this stuff happens without anyone even trying. Yes, someone could post a status update saying where I am at all times. Probably they won't though

This feature wants to make it so facebook knows where I am at all times as an opt-out feature silently rolled out, poorly explained, and integrated with third party applications by default. Fuck that. While I don't actually think it'd be a problem for me, I can see this going all kinds of wrong for someone else.
posted by cj_ at 3:58 PM on August 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Diaspora*, the Opensource Facebook Killer

The problem is that a (centralized) open-source Facebook seems impossible in practice. It would be something else. Sure, somebody will be able to create (and host) her own social network and run it like Facebook, but somebody's got to pay for the machines. The software Facebook runs seems much less relevant than the: machines they've got to handle 1 billion images a minute or whatever; and the already installed user base.

I can see this going all kinds of wrong for someone else.

I do certainly agree there. I'm not sure how much Facebook's behavior should be restricted by law here (probably none), but I can see the myriad of potential problems.
posted by mrgrimm at 4:04 PM on August 20, 2010


if you post something you don't want your boss to see, chances are one of your friends will show him.

pro tip: anyone who would do that isn't actually your friend
posted by hamida2242 at 4:09 PM on August 20, 2010


Damn, beaten like a G20 protestor
posted by hamida2242 at 4:10 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


What if person A used Facebook Places to determine person B was out of their residence, and broke in and stole X, Y, and Z, but had a Facebook Places-based alibi?
posted by fuq at 4:12 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


mrgrimm: Diaspora is distributed social networking, run on the users' own machines. Read up on them.
posted by zsazsa at 4:20 PM on August 20, 2010


It's a genuine phenomenon. A lot of people who have actively chosen not to use Facebook hate it with a passion.

Well, I actually use it, and my complaint is that I'd like to keep using it but they have been such enormous assholes I'm going to have a hard time justifying it for much longer. I do not want every aspect of my private life shared with advertisers, the government, "friends of friends", google, and complete fucking strangers. No, I don't have anything to hide, and I'm sick of that argument frankly. If you can't find any way to imagine why this broadcast of personal details isn't problematic, I posit a lack of imagination. I can sit here giving hypotheticals all day, some more likely than others. I'd rather not have to suss out all the potential ways this could make my life hell. Privacy is argued for on principle for good reason. The "if you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?" argument is bullshit in every context I've seen it trotted out, ever. And so is the "well just don't use it" argument for that matter. I may or may not continue to use it, but either way, they are doing something worthy of criticism, and so I am criticizing it. Ideally they would hear this criticism and adjust their behavior so that I get something I actually want to use. Or perhaps someone else will get the message loud and clear and provide a service I'd prefer to use.

Look, if they were more transparent about every privacy-eroding "feature" they roll out, that'd be one thing. A screen popping up explaining the implications of the new feature and asking if I want to opt in or out, cool, I'm OK with that. I'd even be OK if they didn't let me opt out, but just close my account right there on the spot. If these features are so obviously harmless and desired by the userbase, more people would opt in than out, right? Unless you don't really believe they are harmless. I do not think even they believe that, hence the unannounced and poorly explained rollouts that are enabled by default, despite increasing criticism for this practice.

For a company demanding transparency from its users to the degree Zuckerburg actually insults people who aren't transparent enough in their private life, they are rather opaque in their own dealings to the point of complete hypocrisy. Why is that?
posted by cj_ at 4:25 PM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think koeselitz is referring to the square with the streets that form the numeral 4 (i.e. "bye bye foursquare").


I seriously thought the "location" was a supine person's crotch.
posted by orme at 4:27 PM on August 20, 2010


How do these four square dealies work? Do you just type "I'm at the bank" and foursquare says "Hey look this guys at the bank. Four Square" or is it like a computer that you push a button and it shows where you really are on a map or something? Cause if you just get to type where you are and it just believes you then I am going to do a sociological experiment where I post my location as Buttfuck Junction on Facebook Places every 2 minutes for as long as it takes for all of my friends to unfriend me.

ND¢ is at Buttfuck Junction.

ND¢ is at Buttfuck Junction.

ND¢ is at Buttfuck Junction.

ND¢ is at Buttfuck Junction.

ND¢ is at Buttfuck Junction.

ND¢ is at Buttfuck Junction.
posted by ND¢ at 4:31 PM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


But you can't stop them from "tagging" you as being at a particular place when they check themselves in.

Actually, the "steps for how to disable it" instructions do tell you how to disallow your friends from doing this to you. (I heard about this on another site and instantly de-activated it in mine.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:37 PM on August 20, 2010


"Well, on the bright side, when you come home one night to find your computer and plasma TV gone you will have a list of 735 suspects."
Woman: Burglar was my Facebook friend

Facebook "Friend" Suspected in Burglary.

Burglars Using Twitter, Facebook To 'Case The Joint'

Burglars using Facebook, Twitter to find targets.

Twitter Your Way to Getting Robbed.
posted by ericb at 4:42 PM on August 20, 2010


PleaseRobMe.com -- "Raising Awareness About Oversharing."
posted by ericb at 4:44 PM on August 20, 2010


I use the internet, so I know how to block spyware and viruses, and keep my computer clean.
I drive a car, so I know how to keep it fueled and change the oil.
I have sex, so I prevent disease and pregnancy.
I use Facebook, so I take the 15 seconds needed to opt out of things I don't want to be a part of.

I do these things because I'm an adult, who recognizes that each of the above activities give me more than they take away. If the opposite becomes true, I'll stop engaging in them.

I appreciate the anti-Facebook sentiment, and I applaud the folks working to have Facebook to mend their (to some) evil ways. But there's a bizarre trend of non-users and ex-users getting all aggro about it, to which I can only say, "I'm not you."
posted by coolguymichael at 4:45 PM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


ND¢ is at Buttfuck Junction.

OH HOW FUNNY I TOO AM IN BASINGSTOKE
posted by everichon at 4:48 PM on August 20, 2010 [4 favorites]


I use Facebook, so I take the 15 seconds needed to opt out of things I don't want to be a part of.

I do these things because I'm an adult, who recognizes that each of the above activities give me more than they take away. If the opposite becomes true, I'll stop engaging in them.


I honestly don't know why this outlook isn't more common. You can opt out of pretty much everything on Facebook or of course cancel at any time. If you're concerned about privacy or anything, really, a quick search will inform you within a minute of everything you need to know.

That said, I do wish that Facebook was more like Google in that they should be making a more comprehensive popup that says "here's what's new, here's how you do it, here's how you opt out." They do to some extent but obviously they make it easier to just keep on sliding.

I'm writing a long article right now about privacy and these points of view are very valuable to me, by the way. You guys might find yourselves quoted or referred to.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 4:54 PM on August 20, 2010


It involves superhero costumes, and that's all I shall say.

We know, we know.
posted by ericb at 4:55 PM on August 20, 2010


"Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity" -- Mark Zuckerberg

Young will have to change names to escape 'cyber past' warns Google's Eric Schmidt
"The private lives of young people are now so well documented on the internet that many will have to change their names on reaching adulthood, Google’s CEO has claimed."
posted by ericb at 4:58 PM on August 20, 2010


Woman: Burglar was my Facebook friend
Facebook "Friend" Suspected in Burglary.
Burglars Using Twitter, Facebook To 'Case The Joint'
Burglars using Facebook, Twitter to find targets.
Twitter Your Way to Getting Robbed.
posted by ericb at 4:42 PM


What exactly is your point? That it can happen? Sure, especially if you're stupid. 99.99 percent of users will not be robbed because of what they posted to foursquare (even if they're stupid).

You remind me of elderly, non techy people in my family that can't believe I use my credit card to buy stuff online because the numbers 'might get stolen' all they while handing their credit card over weekly at restaurants and department stores.

Young will have to change names to escape 'cyber past' warns Google's Eric Schmidt

Can't wait until someone makes this Apples fault (google does no evil!).
posted by Dennis Murphy at 5:13 PM on August 20, 2010


me: “The best part about Facebook Places is the logo. See that? There's no way that's not intentional.”

cj_: “Nope. Just looks like the pins from the google maps app.”

It's a 4. In a square.
posted by koeselitz at 5:19 PM on August 20, 2010


What exactly is your point? That it can happen?

Bingo for reading comprehension!
posted by ericb at 6:00 PM on August 20, 2010


Can't wait until someone makes this Apples fault (google does no evil!).

In related news: Facebook is the new Google.
posted by ericb at 6:01 PM on August 20, 2010


I thought that the logo was the Facebook "f" kinda knocked over and stabbed in the back with a Google Maps pin.
posted by donkeymon at 6:01 PM on August 20, 2010


One thing that really annoys me about Facebook is that while it supposedly provides users ways to delete information, it never seems to actually forget anything. Ever use the "Search your e-mail account for contacts" feature in Find Friends? I did, when I first signed up and was a little naive about how Facebook worked. I would prefer now that Facebook not remember those contacts. There is a Remove imported contacts option, which I have tried several times, but it does not seem to do anything. Facebook still suggests contacts to me that it could not know about any other way (people who do not know any of my other Facebook friends, and are unlikely to have used Find Friends themselves).

More recently, when the "all your likes and interests must be public" thing kicked in a few months ago, I deleted all of my "likes and interests". Since then, Facebook frequently suggests those same interests to me, so it still connects me with them, even though I have deleted them from my profile.
posted by oulipian at 6:04 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a genuine phenomenon. A lot of people who have actively chosen not to use Facebook hate it with a passion. I suppose they think they've been unfairly excluded from photos, videos, and invites from people too stupid to know how bad Facebook sucks? Or else they're worried people are posting images and videos of them without their consent. I dunno. The hatred seems odd to me because I can't put my finger on why.

Many people want/need to play out life as different personas. Perhaps at work I may be a professional tax attorney, but on weekends I like to show off my contortionist skills at the local furry convention. Maybe when I'm with my family I pretend to be a good Mormon so their heads don't explode. Perhaps I construct another group of friends for dating that isn't linked to my crazy ex with the restraining order.

The difficulty in segregating your social circles on Facebook is what drives some people bats. For the most part, publicity is contagious (default) but privacy isn't (opt-out). If you have a simple, straightforward life network where Mom and your boss know all your friends, great. But that's not how many people live (once out of school). It's like saying that the bank practice of ordering your transactions from largest to smallest to incur the most overdraft fees isn't really bad, since it can easily be avoided by carrying a decent balance, STUPID!!
posted by benzenedream at 6:30 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you carry a cell phone? We already know where you are.

Not me man. I keep the battery out of my phone except for the 15 seconds it takes me to text someone a landline number. It's just common sense.

WHO ARE YOU FUCKING LOOKING AT????
posted by Splunge at 7:38 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


You just unlocked the unfollow badge on twitter
posted by sanko at 9:55 PM on August 20, 2010


More recently, when the "all your likes and interests must be public" thing kicked in a few months ago, I deleted all of my "likes and interests". Since then, Facebook frequently suggests those same interests to me, so it still connects me with them, even though I have deleted them from my profile.
posted by oulipian at 6:04 PM on August 20 [+] [!]


This exact thing happened to me! What is weirder is there were a few "interests" I had (and "deleted" from my profile) that had absolutely no links to anyone else. Yet now, months later, facebook is suggesting I might be interested in these particular things. When I click to see the "page" there is (still) not a single person linked to the page, nor any posts regarding the "interest" - it's just an empty "page" about my previous "interest". It's creepy and irritating.
posted by smartypantz at 10:14 PM on August 20, 2010


This exact thing happened to me! What is weirder is there were a few "interests" I had (and "deleted" from my profile) that had absolutely no links to anyone else. Yet now, months later, facebook is suggesting I might be interested in these particular things. When I click to see the "page" there is (still) not a single person linked to the page, nor any posts regarding the "interest" - it's just an empty "page" about my previous "interest". It's creepy and irritating.

I am not alone, then. Years ago on facebook I listed a bunch of invented movie titles as my favourite films. Months ago, I realized that dues to shifting facebook policies, no one could see my funny funny jokes any more, so I deleted them all. Now a week or two ago, I began getting suggestions that I "like" The Last Temptation of Jesus Christ Superstar and No Country for Grumpy Old Men and Alien Freddy Kramer vs. Predator Jason Kramer. Literally no one but me has ever listed these as likes and right now no one on the planet lists them at all, but there they are.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:32 PM on August 20, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have recently noticed that random websites I find myself on display my name and Facebook icon. HUGE SUCKS!!!

What is this new fucking thing and how to make it stop please?
posted by Meatbomb at 11:09 PM on August 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Facebook still suggests contacts to me that it could not know about any other way (people who do not know any of my other Facebook friends, and are unlikely to have used Find Friends themselves).

I recently got a FaceBook invite from a friend, and included was a list of people I might know. I did know three of them. One of them operated a BBS I was active on 15+ years ago. They already know too much about me, I don't need to give them any more.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:13 PM on August 20, 2010


Looks like they're after Dopplr now.

So, the new Facebook strategy:
  1. "Hey everyone, come write cool apps with our API!"
  2. Developers come with the lure of eyeballs and clicks.
  3. Developers write cool apps. Facebook gets bigger.
  4. Facebook hires internal developers to pick the most successful apps, write home-grown "official" versions
  5. Facebook releases their version, everyone switches to support the "brand" name and Facebook
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:37 AM on August 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Meatbomb: Previously.

As for "places", and facebook privacy outcries in general, for the most part I agree with coolguymichael: I don't want it, so I just now turned it all off, and try to refrain from too much hysteria about it. On the other hand, I do think there is a legitimate case (or three) for grumbling with facebook. Expecting these things to be opt-in, rather than opt-out, is not a huge ask. If they really want to push it, even something like a banner at the top of your homepage "Click here to opt out otherwise you're in" that runs for, say, 30 days, would be better than adding this stuff opted in by default.

Granted, it's not quite clear whether it was on by default - "Friends can check me in" seemed to be "undefined" - but "friends' apps can access your places data" was (for me, at least) on by default, and I actually find that waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayy more egregious. I'm willing to extend a modicum of trust to my friends, not so every random app they have installed or may ever install.

Also

> Every day, Facebook creates new and unique reasons for people to stop using it.

No, if you're anti-this-stuff I think it's much, much worse than that. Every day they create a new and unique reason to keep you using it. If you're on it you can at least untick all the boxes for "my friends can do this about me" that they deign to give you. If you're not on it, you can't even do that, and your friends can do it all by default.
posted by Slyfen at 6:24 AM on August 21, 2010


I use the internet, so I know how to block spyware and viruses, and keep my computer clean.
I drive a car, so I know how to keep it fueled and change the oil.
I have sex, so I prevent disease and pregnancy.
I use Facebook, so I take the 15 seconds needed to opt out of things I don't want to be a part of.

I do these things because I'm an adult, who recognizes that each of the above activities give me more than they take away. If the opposite becomes true, I'll stop engaging in them.


The thing which makes me sketched out about facebook and dislike them is simple: Are you of the 1 percent, or the +50?

When it comes to cars and sex, I'd say you're in the vast majority. In fact, society generally prescribes formal training for young people at about the time they become interested in sex/driving, in order to make sure they learn the basics of how to engage in these practices safely.* When it comes to the internet, I'd be inclined to doubt you're part of a solid majority. Most people have some kind of virus protection soft ware installed out of the box, probably by now a solid plurality know what spyware is and how to run a blocker, but I wouldn't bet the vast majority of internet users were so sophisticated that they can effectively prevent infection. I think there's a tons of people running malware who don't know they have it, a bunch who know they do and don't know how to stop it, and a fair number who have their computers wrecked by it.

And when it comes to facebook....I mean, without rehashing the privacy setting debacle of the spring, I think it was quite clear that their set up was capably of confounding even quite net-savvy people into revealing more than they intended. As several posters here have mentioned above, they have a terrible nasty habit of not actually deleting things they let you think they've deleted. And they have a longstanding practice of rolling out features that hugely affect the information available about you as opt-in. The reason they do that is pure human nature: Make it opt in and only the sophisticated, aware and opposed will opt out. Make it opt-out and the vast majority of people --- anyone who isn't fully aware or doesn't fully understand the implications of the change ---- will have adopted it by force.

A company which makes such sweeping changes, and deliberately makes them in a way that only a very small minority of its customers will be savvy enough to alter them is a company that shouldn't be trusted. It's exploiting ignorance. Perhaps I am to cynical about human nature. But I ain't nearly as cynical as Zuckerberg.....I wonder if that Supreme Court ruling about trash still stands....




*yada-yada-yada, insert screed on abstinence-based education here
posted by Diablevert at 6:30 AM on August 21, 2010


My apologies if I've said this before: In last semester's management class we had a guest speaker from Nielsen Media Research. Facebook is one of their biggest clients. They help Facebook make sense of the personal and demographic data they accumulate from their users, which they then package and sell to advertisers.

Students in the class started getting a little appalled, and he summed it up like this: "Facebook isn't free. You pay for it with your personal, usage, and demographic information."
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:43 AM on August 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


People often ask "Why the hate for Facebook?" #1 on my list is the way they roll out privacy-destroying "features" like this, and don't make them opt-in.

But surely a close #2 is that your Facebook data does not - according to their TOS - belong to you. Anything you tell Facebook belongs to Facebook.

One of the consequences of this is that even if you delete all your profile information, Facebook does not actually delete it. It just hides it from your view, while keeping it in their massive database.
posted by ErikaB at 10:37 AM on August 21, 2010


In this case, I really don't see what there is to be outraged about. In order to "check in" a person has to click some buttons and fill in information. That seems like a pretty big opt-in to me. Also, the first time a friend tries to check you in, you get a notification that specifically asks whether or not you want your friends to be able to check you in. Seems like that's an opt-in too. I mean, it's not like you are sitting in a bar having a beer and Facebook automatically tells the world where you are. There's a little work you have to do to share that information, therefore, if you don't like it ... don't use it.
posted by Orb at 12:13 PM on August 21, 2010


mrgrimm: My boss is my friend on Facebook. It hasn't hindered my enjoyment of the service much (probably since my mom is too). If I want to post pictures of coke-fueled prostitute parties, I won't post them to Facebook.

So, um, where will you be posting them?
posted by eviltwin at 12:26 PM on August 21, 2010


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