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Facebook. Privacy. Again.
October 18, 2010 10:39 AM   Subscribe

The Wall Street Journal's What They Know blog is charged with determining what information marketers are capable of learning about internet users through tracking technology. This weekend, they took aim at Facebook, after their investigation discovered that many popular apps on the social-networking site, including those by Zynga, have been transmitting identifying information in the form of User ID's to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, even if a user has enabled strict privacy settings. Additional analysis. Response post on Facebook's Developer Blog. Forbes' blogger Kashmir Hill asks if the WSJ is overreacting, and Techcrunch notes that the severity and risks of UID transferral are still being debated.
posted by zarq (56 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
See, this is why I committed suicide on FB.. though if this goes on, I suppose I'll have to stop surfing all together
posted by The Lady is a designer at 10:44 AM on October 18, 2010


God forbid the WSJ go after the real criminals.
posted by existential hobo at 10:45 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Terrific post. I'm going to sit down and read through it after class tonight. RE: the first link's tracker analysis tool, I'm never using dictionary.com again. I'm officially done with that site.
posted by codacorolla at 10:47 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Another lesson in, "If you're not paying for the service, you're the product, not the customer."
posted by mullingitover at 10:48 AM on October 18, 2010 [26 favorites]


Ah, for the days when websites would post their traffic logs online for public viewing, complete with incoming IP addresses. The Internet was simpler then.
posted by Grinder at 10:49 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Saying Facebook had a security breach is like saying a rainstorm had a water leak.

It's what they do.

wake up sheeple
posted by Xoebe at 10:49 AM on October 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


LOLApps would not comment on whether it has actually corrected the issue in order to get reinstated onto the Facebook platform.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:50 AM on October 18, 2010


Not saying that this isn't a valid story, but given the coverage this is getting, keep in mind that WSJ is a Murdoch property, and he owns MySpace, a competitor (of sorts) to Facebook.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:51 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh God, not this same old privacy bullshit again. Guess what? If you're on the Internet, you're for sale, and you're being constantly tracked by any number of different state and corporate agents. The good news is that it doesn't really matter. It won't mean you'll be getting more spam (you'll get spam anyway) or junk mail (you'll get junk mail anyway). Being tracked was in no way hurting you before you discovered this and it's not hurting you now.

Seriously, I'd like the "OMG facebook is collecting your informationz!" crowd to offer one legitimate, serious objection to this kind of thing that isn't based on a fantasy about being an anonymous Internet renegade or whatever. If loquacious's comment is correct, which I have no reason to doubt, the only way to win the info-collection game is not to play, in which case you shouldn't be on the Internet in the first place. (Or do you really think Facebook is the only site that does this?)
posted by nasreddin at 10:51 AM on October 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


nasreddin: "Seriously, I'd like the "OMG facebook is collecting your informationz!" crowd to offer one legitimate, serious objection to this kind of thing that isn't based on a fantasy about being an anonymous Internet renegade or whatever."

Just wait until the plethora of youtube-like porn sites that have cropped up in recent years get in on the action, then start tying people's real identities to their porn surfing habits. For the unscrupulous folks who are down with some blackmail, it'll be like a license to print money.
posted by mullingitover at 10:54 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]



I don't get what the big deal is. There is nothing on Facebook you couldn't glean from one of a dozen other sources. My phone company cheerfully prints a book with much of the same info you could get off my profile.

You could look up my court record and you don't even need to know my name - first initial and last name will get you where you want to go.

Like Chase Morgan, Bank of America, and Discover haven't sold my spending profile to one of a thousand advertisers ? Or the car dealership I bought my truck at ?

If I donate to a charity, a political party, the Fraternal order of Police, or whatever, that gets out whether I want it to or not.

In fact, I assume that anyone nosy enough can find out about any transaction or affiliation that I have.

So - who are these people that are surprised Facebook does it too ? Are they new here ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:57 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Right, and no one is using economic hit men either
posted by The Lady is a designer at 10:57 AM on October 18, 2010


When Facebook introduced the Apps API, I took one look at the developer documentation and decided I would not let any apps access my data, ever. Looks like that was the right decision.
posted by miyabo at 10:58 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not saying that this isn't a valid story, but given the coverage this is getting, keep in mind that WSJ is a Murdoch property, and he owns MySpace, a competitor (of sorts) to Facebook.

Yep. Kashmir Hill points out that they didn't disclose that relationship anywhere in the article.
posted by zarq at 10:58 AM on October 18, 2010


I think Facebook gets artificially low ratings in the WSJ analysis. They don't need to track you - it's their site you are on. They don't permit outside trackers because they don't need to. That would be like Walmart letting Target, K-mart, and Big Lots track Walmart's customers' purchases.

I am curious though, how much money is enough? I think Zuckerberg may not be a compulsive money grabber, but you can be certain that the execs at Facebook are. It would be ridiculous to think that they would do anything other than to sell, trade, rent or lease anything they could.
posted by Xoebe at 10:58 AM on October 18, 2010


Just wait until the plethora of youtube-like porn sites that have cropped up in recent years get in on the action, then start tying people's real identities to their porn surfing habits. For the unscrupulous folks who are down with some blackmail, it'll be like a license to print money.

This is so implausible I can't even begin to unravel it. Why would a site with a working, legal (or semi-legal) business model transition into something clearly illegal that would almost certainly lead it to get shut down? If these sites started going public with people's porn habits, why would anyone even care?
posted by nasreddin at 10:59 AM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am curious though, how much money is enough? I think Zuckerberg may not be a compulsive money grabber, but you can be certain that the execs at Facebook are. It would be ridiculous to think that they would do anything other than to sell, trade, rent or lease anything they could.

Imho, it may not be money grabbing per se so much as trying to become bigger than Google or whatever the latest metric of uber interwebz success is these days
posted by The Lady is a designer at 11:01 AM on October 18, 2010


Right, and no one is using economic hit men either

what
posted by nasreddin at 11:01 AM on October 18, 2010


Glad to see someone's thinking of the kiddies...

Marketers are spying more on young Internet users than on their parents, building detailed profiles of their activities and interests.
posted by chavenet at 11:02 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Teens, is that Facebook 'hacker' mom or dad?
posted by ericb at 11:20 AM on October 18, 2010




Right, and no one is using economic hit men either

what
posted by nasreddin


er, too many threads open and I should have previewed?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 11:39 AM on October 18, 2010


Seriously, I'd like the "OMG facebook is collecting your informationz!" crowd to offer one legitimate, serious objection to this kind of thing that isn't based on a fantasy about being an anonymous Internet renegade or whatever.

Person denied insurance because of content of private message between family members about a particular disease or condition. Person loses job because of private pics of private party. Person arrested because of private message content (say arrested by Feds in California if marijuana law passes).
posted by DU at 11:43 AM on October 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Fired by Facebook.
posted by zarq at 11:50 AM on October 18, 2010


Person denied insurance because of content of private message between family members about a particular disease or condition. Person loses job because of private pics of private party. Person arrested because of private message content (say arrested by Feds in California if marijuana law passes).

#1, even if it's somehow possible, is no longer legal because of the ACA. #3 would constitute evidence not admissible in court. If you work at a place that would fire you based on your private pictures (that you weren't uploading while at work) then you'll probably be better off elsewhere anyway.

In any case, those are entirely separate issues unrelated to whether marketers are collecting your data or not. Delusions of persecution aside, I can assure you that ad companies and Facebook have no interest in getting you arrested or fired. If the government wants to track you down, on the other hand, it is already able to so without Facebook.
posted by nasreddin at 11:51 AM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fired by Facebook.

Yes, and? This stuff just means you should be careful who you friend and what you post online. It's goddamn common sense. It's not Facebook's fault you bragged about calling in sick after your bro's off da hook party and your boss found out.
posted by nasreddin at 11:53 AM on October 18, 2010


Person denied insurance because of content of private message between family members about a particular disease or condition. Person loses job because of private pics of private party. Person arrested because of private message content (say arrested by Feds in California if marijuana law passes).

Also, these are all bullshit paranoid hypotheticals. Internet tracking for marketing purposes has been huge for over a decade. Please point me to any serious, widespread negative consequences it has led to.
posted by nasreddin at 11:56 AM on October 18, 2010


*contemplates navel; considers disabling webz; contemplates navel again*
posted by The Lady is a designer at 12:05 PM on October 18, 2010


If you work at a place that would fire you based on your private pictures (that you weren't uploading while at work) then you'll probably be better off elsewhere anyway.

Yah, and jobs are so easy to get. I've got like four of them right here.
posted by device55 at 12:24 PM on October 18, 2010


Please point me to any serious, widespread negative consequences it has led to.
posted by nasreddin at 2:56 PM on October 18


I was with you right up until here. All advertising operates on anxiety and neuroses. It creates or makes worse anxiety and then offers up the product or service as a cure. It may be anxiety over status, belonging, need, etc whatever. Regardless, advertising functions to make you feel more anxious, not less. Internet tracking, like this, is a way for advertising to focus more on amplifying your specific anxieties. The way is does this is so subtle and insidious that it is difficult to resist it even if you are aware of it. The purpose is to force you to evaluate your present condition, find it lacking, and try to improve it through consumption. But this never works. But that's okay, as long as you keep coming back. Advertising, by exacerbating anxiety, reinforces inertia and stasis.

This isn't some marxian critique I'm parroting here. The anxiety I'm talking about is a very real psychological condition with very real consequences that only get worse the more advertising a person is uncritically subjected to. We live in a society where people buy things they don't need but inexplicably can't afford the things they do need. You can certainly criticize these people for being stupid or making bad choices, and you will sound exactly like the people who levied those criticisms in the 60's and who will levy them in the 2060's. People are being trained, through advertising, to look to consumption for ways to cure their anxiety about life. When that happens, people are trapped in a very real way. Because when that happens, government and corporations don't need to monitor your every move. They'll already know the kinds of things you are reading, watching, and doing.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:24 PM on October 18, 2010 [12 favorites]


Please point me to any serious, widespread negative consequences it has led to.

Just because I don't have anything to hide doesn't mean I want all my business known to every marketing schulb on the planet. Yeah, I'm on facebook. I use hardly any apps, I don't play games, and I block ads.

What I'd like - and I guess this makes me some sort of wild-eyed paranoid freak - is a modicum of control over who gets what information. Like, you know, opt-in policies instead of opt-out. And upfront statements from marketing companies about what they're putting on my computer, how long it's going to stay there, and what data they're gathering. And what they're going to do with it. They don't have anything to hide, right?
posted by rtha at 12:26 PM on October 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


I like to pretend that I'm speaking Italian and call it, "Fah-chah Book"
posted by mmrtnt at 12:35 PM on October 18, 2010


I guess I understand why legitmate companies track cookies as they do. It's unnerving, and sort of disgusting, especially since at no concious level does the user opt into it -- especially not the "typical" user. I bet that people who use the internet to check email, raise e-cattle, and chat on Facebook don't even know what a cookie is, much less how much info can be gained by tracking them.

The basic defense of this is that legitimate companies aren't tying the information to identities, but what about the less than legitimate companies? What about the ones with insecure networks, or pissed off grunt-level employees? I don't think there's anything necessarily insidious (beyond the knee-jerk disgust one gets when hearing about this) but I think it's potentially a bomb that's just waiting for the right conditions to explode.
posted by codacorolla at 12:36 PM on October 18, 2010


The things I hate about facebook have nothing to do with tracking--as others have pointed out, this is happening in similar ways whether you use a store loyalty card, frequent flyer card/credit card, and assuredly if you use a social networking site such as facebook.

And 98%--maybe make it 99.7%-of people who are fired over facebook posts violate the first rule of internet discourse: don't post something you wouldn't want your nonna to read. Granted some of the employers are clowns, too, but that doesn't excuse posting rude, crude, and obnoxious stuff on your own page.

No, I keep FB because it is the only way I have to communicate with a small segment of people who prefer it to other means of exchanging ideas. Most of my problems with FaceBook aren't FaceBook problems. Although, I do seem to get several requests for friends every week that have no identifying information other than a simple "please add me"--and of course these are not people I know.
posted by beelzbubba at 12:36 PM on October 18, 2010


They don't have anything to hide, right?
posted by rtha at 3:26 PM on October 18


Yes, they do, and the point is that you do too. You want to hide from them that you drive a used car, or wear old sneakers, or listen to unfashionable music. You don't care to hide this from your friends, because they already know and accept you. But advertisers do care, and they are developing the ability to personally send you, rtha, the message that these choices you made probably aren't good ones and don't reflect well on you.

You want to hide this from them because they will use that information in whatever way possible to make you anxious until you execute the last part of their business strategy. Until you buy their car, get their shoes, listen to their hip band, whatever. Maybe you are strong enough to resist it, maybe not.

But at least we should acknowledge that there is an "it." That it operates in our lives with some non-negligible force, and that it falls entirely on us, ill-equipped as we are (and were raised to be) to resist "it".
posted by Pastabagel at 12:37 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I some time ago dumped FaceLift, not because of security or privacy concerns but rather because it seemed to me a waste of time--I reread Thoreau. I do know the founder of one of those collection gatherers and his firm is doing very well and they are busy. Now I have absolutely no tech background or know-how but I believe that the way those hunter/gatherers work is by using Flash cookies, much more difficult to delete than are the regular cookies. But a quick google will tell you how to do it, and Firefox has a simple add on that takes care of such cookies.
posted by Postroad at 12:39 PM on October 18, 2010


Also, these are all bullshit paranoid hypotheticals. Internet tracking for marketing purposes has been huge for over a decade. Please point me to any serious, widespread negative consequences it has led to.

a) I fail to see why negative consequences would need to be "widespread." Please explain why you're requiring that justification, 'cause frankly it seems to justify dismissing any presented example as "...but that's just one incident!"

b) You're creating a logic paradox in which all examples presented to you of actual inconveniences, arrests, firings or other incidents stemming from email and web monitoring will be dismissed under the guise of "well, it's the user's responsibility to control what they post on the internet." There is a measure of personal responsibility involved, yes. However, user consent is also at issue here. When a user signs up with a social media service, it is completely reasonable to expect that service will live up to their own TOS. When a service promises and fails to keep a person's personal information from being transmitted to a third party, or to prevent photos, status messages and videos marked "private" from becoming publicly accessible, it becomes problematic to place blame on the user, who has been assured their information is secure.
posted by zarq at 12:41 PM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cookies suck anymore!
posted by Mister_A at 12:45 PM on October 18, 2010


it becomes problematic to place blame on the user, who has been assured their information is secure.

Fair enough, and I think this is especially true with things like online banking, but I also think nasreddin's larger point is that, for better or worse, there is no real privacy online, and that internet users need to come to terms with the reality of both state and corporate eavesdropping.
posted by existential hobo at 12:51 PM on October 18, 2010


I wonder what Vance Packard would have thought of it all, in today's scenario?
posted by The Lady is a designer at 12:53 PM on October 18, 2010


You could look up my court record and you don't even need to know my name - first initial and last name will get you where you want to go.

There is a huge difference between the scenario you've written here and everyone on my Friends list being able to see that I went to a, say, fetish club last weekend because I don't fully understand Facebook's labyrinthian privacy settings and a friend tagged me with Facebook places.

In your example there is one dude with a vendetta and some elbow grease, tracking information on one person. But this link is talking about information on millions of people being gathered and stored for commercial purposes despite Privacy Settings that imply the opposite.
posted by jess at 1:04 PM on October 18, 2010


nasreddin - If you've got nothing to hide, you've got nothing to fear, right? Just make sure that everything you say is appropriate and palatable for a third party to observe, collect, index, and target. Oh, right, and remember that the third party in this case is private, for-profit corporations that we're already pretty sure are sociopaths in the first place. They have no discernible vested interest in the common good, only the profit motive, and (in the US) a short-sighted motive indeed.

Framing the privacy debate as "delusions of persecution" is in my opinion less than helpful. The ability to evaluate, target and track an individual will become ever easier, as indexing and analysis engines become more powerful, and as the dataset becomes increasingly comprehensive. We've already seen what 4chan and crowdsourcing can do with compromised privacy, what happens when Google takes an interest? Or Blue Cross Blue Shield?

Privacy, in my opinion, is important, and should be carefully guarded. From http://www.privacyrights.org/why-privacy:
Why should you care about privacy?

Often, we don't value privacy until it's gone. But for anyone who has been the victim of identity theft, this lost privacy can mean months or years dealing with harassing debt collectors, police, credit bureaus and government agencies. For victims of stalking and harassment, lost privacy can mean that no place is safe - because our 'electronic footprint' makes it very difficult to live and work without creating a record that can be traced by a web-savvy stalker.

Lost privacy can also mean your personal information is collected, analyzed and shared by marketers, employers, insurance companies and the government without your knowledge or consent. You may learn your privacy has been compromised only after you've been added to the phone lists of charities, refused a job based on your Facebook profile or denied the ability to return a purchase because of previous returns to that store.
I don't have a cite for a specific individual (besides Sara Palin, above) whose privacy has been compromised to their detriment. I don't want one; that should be private, and is none of my business. The hypotheticals are enough for me.
posted by ZakDaddy at 1:49 PM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd love to see some data on what percentage of people under 30 care about these sorts of privacy concerns. My sense is that most of the crowd voicing these abstract and hypothetical worries are past that age, and people younger than 30, having grown up with the Internet, have become accustomed to the idea that privacy isn't sacred, and they're fine with that. I'm in the latter group and find it hard to get worked up about these sorts of thins.
posted by decoherence at 1:51 PM on October 18, 2010


is no longer legal

That'll stop all kinds of things - because it is no longer legal. All you have to do is make something illegal and it'll stop.

Look at well the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution worked!

I can assure you that ad companies and Facebook have no interest in getting you arrested or fired.

And your assurance is worth? My guess is you, nasreddin, is not qualified
to make such a statement.

http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=111627345541631&topic=161

"knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law"

Thus - if "facebook" "knows" - seems a law is being violated. Is posting "knowing"?

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/10/13/government-spying-social-networks/?test=latestnews
http://dprogram.net/2010/10/17/government-spying-via-facebook/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

You could look up my court record and you don't even need to know my name

Yes. Yes I do. Pogo_Fuzzybutt isn't part of the PosgresSQL database that saves the State of Wisconsin 3/4 of a million a year in software licensing fees to win the court record system.

In fact, I assume that anyone nosy enough can find out about any transaction or affiliation that I have.

Why would it be worth it to follow you from store to store to see where and how much cash you spend? How about following you to your meetings?

There is a difference between someone following you and stored data that can be searched to accuse you of misdoing.

If you'd like to be followed perhaps joining http://glhg.webs.com/ and asking for someone to Arch you will get you the stalker you assume is tracking you.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:01 PM on October 18, 2010


I'd love to see some data on what percentage of people under 30 care about these sorts of privacy concerns.

Wait until you have kids. Or a mortgage. Or a job with public profile. Or want to work with children. Or...
posted by bonehead at 2:09 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh God, not this same old privacy bullshit again. Guess what? If you're on the Internet, you're for sale, and you're being constantly tracked by any number of different state and corporate agents. The good news is that it doesn't really matter. It won't mean you'll be getting more spam (you'll get spam anyway) or junk mail (you'll get junk mail anyway). Being tracked was in no way hurting you before you discovered this and it's not hurting you now. -- nasreddin

nasreddin: "Seriously, I'd like the "OMG facebook is collecting your informationz!" crowd to offer one legitimate, serious objection to this kind of thing that isn't based on a fantasy about being an anonymous Internet renegade or whatever."
Being filmed naked doesn't hurt anyone either, but it's still illegal to put spy cameras in people's bathrooms. What's up with that?

Seriously, does it ever occur to people that being tracked and monitored is creepy and therefore, a harm in and of itself? Privacy isn't something people value only as a means to some end. I'm not really clear on why there has to be some other problem caused by it. Just like with naked pictures, they don't cause any harm other then the invasion of privacy. Maybe they could be used for blackmail, but that's pretty unlikely and so could marketing data, if the data showed you looked at porn or something.
I think Facebook gets artificially low ratings in the WSJ analysis. They don't need to track you - it's their site you are on. They don't permit outside trackers because they don't need to.
They don't officially allow outside trackers, but if you actually read the article (I huge burden, I know) the issue is that people are tracking people through FB games.
posted by delmoi at 2:12 PM on October 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd love to see some data on what percentage of people under 30 care about these sorts of privacy concerns.
I'm not really sure where this whole "young people don't care about privacy" Seems like a kind of self-serving justification from people involved to justify their behavior. The only actual studies I've seen indicate that younger people do care about privacy. Maybe they're more likely to be lax with their privacy because they're not aware of how much internet activity is tracked and monitored.
posted by delmoi at 2:17 PM on October 18, 2010


Being filmed naked doesn't hurt anyone either, but it's still illegal to put spy cameras in people's bathrooms. What's up with that?

"Come on, Maude, the human wang is a beautiful thing." - Homer Jay Simpson, Catholic.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:23 PM on October 18, 2010


Upside...?

YOUR cellphone could be a key tool in the fight against disease by relaying a telltale signature of illness to doctors and agencies monitoring new outbreaks.
posted by chavenet at 2:34 PM on October 18, 2010


The next couple of decades will be interesting, not that they ever aren't. I foresee a few options, not all of which I'd consider psychologically healthy, but the important criterion is that they are socially sustainable in the face of the panopticon: (1) the "Victorian England" solution: rise of a kind of "public/private face" dichotomy, where a managed form of hypocrisy, and tolerance for going along to get along, becomes more acceptable: you tell the boss you're "sick", and go to the races, and the boss knows that you did, but won't call you on it without some very good reason to do so; just as the boss's spouse is are aware that the boss is having an affair with you but will not do anything about it unless it reaches a level of publicity that becomes an embarrassment. Where that level is, is socially negotiated and difficult to describe, but it's real.

(2) the "rationalist" solution: greater general honesty, comfort with truths that we here and now would find confronting, lowered expectations of others' conformal behaviors and increased tolerance for lapses: an employee tells you that they want a day off to go to the races, and you give them a "leave day" for it, and don't fire them; you tell your spouse that you would like to have sex with an attractive co-worker, and you don't get divorced or fired for it (as relationships are much more open by default). Sounds good, although millions of years of instinct surrounding social status militate against it.

(3) the "Japanese salaryman" solution, similar to #1 but with stronger "firewalls" around separate areas of life, ie it would become socially awkward to mention at all to your co-workers that you are getting divorced, or to your family that you're having trouble at work, except inasmuch as this directly affects them. You do your work with your co-workers, your home life with your family, and your hobbies with your friends; intermixing between the groups is carefully managed, generally with a view towards fully moving a person into one of the three areas and out of the other two. While a family member is at work with you, you treat them as a co-worker only. If you had important news (eg that you have cancer) that Fred needed to know both as friend and co-worked, you would explicitly tell Fred twice, as friend and as co-worker. If you told him only once, it would be a gross breach of etiquette for Fred to take the information into the other area.

Plenty of other options are possible, these are just possibilities that I see as somewhat sustainable.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:54 PM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think there should be an Internet based protest where everyone legally changes their name to Sparticus. Let's see facebook deal with that.
posted by humanfont at 4:19 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Postroad: Now I have absolutely no tech background or know-how but I believe that the way those hunter/gatherers work is by using Flash cookies, much more difficult to delete than are the regular cookies. But a quick google will tell you how to do it, and Firefox has a simple add on that takes care of such cookies.

As far as I can tell, that plug-in is here.
posted by paisley henosis at 10:15 PM on October 18, 2010


If you work at a place that would fire you based on your private pictures (that you weren't uploading while at work) then you'll probably be better off elsewhere anyway.

Please, Mr Grad Student, tell us all more about the world of work.

There is a huge difference between the scenario you've written here and everyone on my Friends list being able to see that I went to a, say, fetish club last weekend because I don't fully understand Facebook's labyrinthian privacy settings and a friend tagged me with Facebook places.

Quite. My daughter's creche place huge restrictions on their employee's Facebook use (banned from friending clients, etc) because they're shit-scared some parents will go bananas if they find out that teachers, you know, drink, fuck, whatever. It's cost them one of their best teachers (because she was an immigrant who had trouble making friends with Draconian restrictions when she couldn't, you know, effectively use most social media, which is a bit of a problem in the 20-30 age bracket).

I'm in the latter group and find it hard to get worked up about these sorts of thins.

Wait until it bites you on the arse. You'll care real quick. Wait until your health insurance gets bounced based on some unknown-to-you acturial judgement, or recruitment companies hook into pre-vetting from delicious marketing data collected by fast-and-loose social networking outfits.

I'm not really sure where this whole "young people don't care about privacy" Seems like a kind of self-serving justification from people involved to justify their behavior.

I am reminded of the "20-somethings don't want to own houses, unlike their parents" that became popular at the height of the property bubble.
posted by rodgerd at 1:08 AM on October 19, 2010 [1 favorite]


Congress Wants Answers After Latest Round Of Facebook Privacy Concerns.
posted by ericb at 8:48 AM on October 19, 2010


Breaking News (well, it moved yesterday, but who's reading here anyway?) NYC Board of Ed Confirms that Stupid People Can Get Fired For Using Facebook Inappropriately.

Now, there was an ex-NY-prosecutor now prof at Columbia? Brandeis? on the tube at first suggesting that NYC Board of Ed should make a policy making FB contact with students off-limits. Then reversed himself as he realized there were educational purposes and teaching moments within FB.

Then the interviewer read online comments from Chicago PSL teacher who bemoaned that CPSL has a firm policy that all contact between teacher & students must go through official CPSL sites/servers, whose software is solidly ten years behind (I have no cite) and is eye-stabbingly inadequate.

Somehow, someway, can we have a balance between admin desire for total control and idiot horndogs who don't seem to get the point that "U R so sexyyyy!!1!!!!1111!!!!" to their high school students is Just Plain Wrong?

I don't think we need a special FB rule written by school admins to make such over the line flirting a major FAIL.

Yes, this is a slight derail from the OP but addresses the sub thread of Fired by Facebook.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:00 PM on October 20, 2010


More privacy headaches for Facebook: gay users outed to advertisers
posted by zarq at 2:00 PM on October 21, 2010


You'd be surprised. Marketers aim to collect information including your IP address, in order to profile you. But smart internet marketers will only use it to make your user experience on our websites as relevant as possible and would never abuse or share your information. Because they want you to engage with their brand, and they don't want you to make negative comments online.
posted by benacheson at 7:07 AM on October 27, 2010


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