Jan 262011

Now, users’ off-Facebook activities are basically part of the Facebook ecosystem thanks to “Likes” published all over the Web. If you click the Facebook Like button on any given site, that data is transmitted to your own Facebook profile and can be promoted by marketers in ads to your friends.

This is getting ridiculous. You’d think they have learned from the Beacon lawsuit. Ever since FB linked “likes” to specific pages, I’ve been careful to only include those things I “like” that I trust; usually this means I know the people behind it or I trust the organization. But now, this means they’re using my “likes” to market those things to my friends? That’s awful. I would never want to market things to my friends, unless it was something I felt very strongly about.

Hmm… maybe it’s time to only include things in my “likes” that I think are worthy of telling all my friends about. This is completely changing the meaning of the word “like” for me.

Now it should be “Like and want you to like it too.”


May 122010

It used to be that I could limit what strangers saw about me to almost nothing. I could not show my profile picture, not allow them to “poke” or message me, certainly not allow them to view my profile page. Now, even my interests have to be public information. Why can’t I control my own information anymore?sxchen, New York

Joining Facebook is a conscious choice by vast numbers of people who have stepped forward deliberately and intentionally to connect and share. We study user activity. We’ve found that a few fields of information need to be shared to facilitate the kind of experience people come to Facebook to have. That’s why we require the following fields to be public: name, profile photo (if people choose to have one), gender, connections (again, if people choose to make them), and user ID number. Facebook provides a less satisfying experience for people who choose not to post a photo or make connections with friends or interests. But, other than name and gender, nothing requires them to complete these fields or share information they do not want to share. If you’re not comfortable sharing, don’t.

Translation: Take it or leave it. We know we gave you more choices in the past but we won’t anymore. We will pretend you like it better this way.

Again, total B.S. Who ARE these people? You’re telling me that the majority of 400 million users — that’s 200 million people or more — had public profiles? And how dare you tell me why I’ve come to Facebook (“to facilitate the kind of experience people come to Facebook to have”) — I do NOT come to Facebook to have public experiences. In fact, THE reason I came to Facebook initially was because it the privacy options were so customizable. Now you’re requiring me to make my name, photo, gender, and connections public. Damn you. Curse you for assuming you know what I want.


May 122010

The second part of your question reflects what is probably the most common misconception about Facebook. We don’t share your information with advertisers. Our targeting is anonymous. We don’t identify or share names. Period. Think of a magazine selling ads based on the demographics and perceived interests of its readers. We don’t sell the subscriber list. We protect the names.

Except when we don’t, like when we made every person’s name indexable by google by default. Or when we gave your name to Microsoft when you visited their new docs site. Which you had to do to opt out of our latest ‘personalization’ scheme.

Exactly!! This is maddening. I know this. The targeting is anonymous but it’s still information that we did not ASK to be shared. I know this because I have a Facebook fan page, and I have access to all the data of my fans via Facebook’s developer API. Luckily for my fans, I’m not evil and I don’t intend to use all that information. But the point remains, it’s there. And my fans did not opt for that information to be shared with me or anyone else, ever. Facebook simply made it so, and oops — didn’t tell them.

May 122010

Clearly, this is not enough. We will soon ramp up our efforts to provide better guidance to those confused about how to control sharing and maintain privacy. Anyone interested in these topics should become fans of the About Facebook Page and the Facebook Site Governance Page — two valuable sources of information that already provide regular updates to more than 8 million users. We will also expand the education information in our Privacy Guide to offer much more specific detail on these topics. Additionally, other upcoming announcements will dramatically improve how we communicate about change.

Translation: we will add more confusing material reasurring you all over our site. We will depend on you to be a ‘fan’ of our policies to keep you minimally informed. We will continue to refer you to help pages that aren’t updated in sync with our interface.

Seriously. This is ridiculous. Facebook is telling me that I have to become a fan — oh, and publicly, btw — to know about its site governance and changes on its privacy guide? That is absolute B.S.!!! I’m with Chris on this one.

Developers and geeks who want to do good, not evil: would you PLEASE make a new social network site for us to use so we can leave Facebook?? I really wanna be done with Facebook now, they’ve made me so angry, but I feel locked in because it’s the only network that like, 90% of my friends are on.