Sunday, May 9, 2010

Facebook's Gone Rogue; It's Time For An Open Alternative

"Then Facebook decided to turn “your” profile page into your identity online — figuring, rightly, that there’s money and power in being the place where people define themselves. But to do that, the folks at Facebook had to make sure that the information you give it was public.

So in December, with the help of newly hired Beltway privacy experts, it reneged on its privacy promises and made much of your profile information public by default. That includes the city that you live in, your name, your photo, the names of your friends and the causes you’ve signed onto.

This spring Facebook took that even further. All the items you list as things you like must become public and linked to public profile pages. If you don’t want them linked and made public, then you don’t get them — though Facebook nicely hangs onto them in its database in order to let advertisers target you.

This includes your music preferences, employment information, reading preferences, schools, etc. All the things that make up your profile. They all must be public — and linked to public pages for each of those bits of info — or you don’t get them at all. That’s hardly a choice, and the whole system is maddeningly complex.

Simultaneously, the company began shipping your profile information off pre-emptively to Yelp, Pandora and Microsoft — so that if you show up there while already logged into Facebook, the sites can “personalize” your experience when you show up. You can try to opt out after the fact, but you’ll need a master’s in Facebook bureaucracy to stop it permanently."
The entire story.

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  1. We were always afraid that Big Brother, the Feds, would keep close tabs on us, watch our every move, know where we've been, know who we've talked to, what are dreams and ambitions are. As it turns out WE have given on-line corporations Big Brother powers with each passive click of our mouse. When will we learn?

  2. No surprise. We live in the information age.

    It seems like people want their life stories circulating around in web databases.
    I'm not sure if they're naive, stupid, or they just don't care who knows what.

    Kinda like an expanded version of a person't "15-minute" minutes of fame.

    Facebook is bad. MySpace too.
    Google your own name and you may be surprised
    to see the information available on you.

    Look at the reality shows and how people bare their souls. It's a whole new world...and I just don't quite understand it.

  3. Tom,(Forgive me for breaking the thread here but...)
    Would you like to interview Jessica Stern, a world-class social scientist, Harvard lecturer, and one of the foremost U.S. experts on terrorism and post-traumatic stress disorder?

    I'm doing a book review on her latest:
    "DENIAL: A Memoir of Terror"

    I could hook you up.
    my email:


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