A lot has tumbled out of the woodwork about Facebook privacy over the last week, so here’s a quick review:
- via PCWorld: Facebook’s New Features Secretly Add Apps To Your Profile.
If you visit certain sites while logged in to Facebook, an app for those sites will be quietly added to your Facebook profile. You don’t have to have a Facebook window open, you don’t need to be signed in to these sites for the apps to appear, there’s no notification, and there doesn’t appear to be an option to opt-out anywhere in Facebook’s byzantine privacy settings.
- via AllFacebook: Why Is Facebook Dead Set On Pushing Limits of Privacy?
Does this mean that this is the way the world is going? Or does it simply mean this is the way that internet startups have chosen to “innovate”? I’d argue that it’s the latter and ultimately, Facebook will win when users have complete control of all their information.
While sharing information has become an integral component of our daily communication, who we share that information with differs from person to person. With close to 450 million users, Facebook has plenty of opportunities to make money while simultaneously releasing new innovative technologies. None of this need to violate users’ privacy.
Despite this, Facebook continues to release products that violate the users’ trust and ultimately, that’s going to be more damaging to the company than anything else.
Nick is totally correct about this, and I think it’s telling that AllFacebook – which for a long time has seemed to be a simple fan front for Facebook – is calling them out pretty hard here.
- via AllFacebook: Chris Kelly Does Not Like “Instant Personalization”
Even Chris Kelly – who was in charge of privacy during Beacon – thinks this goes too far.
- via DeObfuscate: Facebook’s Anti-Privacy Monopoly
- Rocket.ly and PrimeVector on why they (and you) should cancel your Facebook account.
- PeteSearch on how Facebook threatened to sue him for revealing some of their data practices.
The biggest response I get from people when I point out these arguments is that “you can just delete your account”. But really, no, I can’t. Nor do I want to. I like using Facebook too much, and not having an account would feel like being a hermit. Facebook use is becoming a somewhat integral part of our society. But that doesn’t mean I can’t argue and fight against what I see as harmful anticompetitive conduct that destroys the bargaining relationship between Facebook users and Facebook, Inc.