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Facebook Takes a Slap to the Face

May 24, 2010

Frustrated Facebook users took to the blogs to complain about increasing privacy violations and lack of user controls.  What do Facebook members have to complain about?  Perhaps this quote by the Facebook founder, Eric, whoops, Mark Zuckerberg (all sounds alike to me), has something to do with it:

But Zuckerberg is also being dogged by an embarrassing IM thread from when he was a 19-year-old Harvard student, bragging that he’d gathered personal information from thousands of users for the nascentTheFacebook.com. “People just submitted it,” Zuckerberg messaged, “I don’t know why. They ‘trust me.’ Dumb [expletive].” (This comes via Silicon Alley Insider.)

Hmm, Zuckerberg, whatever his first name is, certainly sounds sorry

“Many of you thought our controls were too complex,” Zuckerberg’s letter reads. “Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls” — uh, you can say that again — “but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark.”

Zuckerberg promised, in “coming weeks,” privacy controls that will be “much simpler to use” — including an “easy way to turn off all third-party services” that can access your account.

just too bad he seems to have put his money where his mouth was when he was 19.  Third party access, what?  What, what??? Yeah, Facebook shared access with third party advertisers, all the personal info. you crazy schmucks put out there in poor taste for your nascent high school buddies to read.

But Zuckerberg wasn’t just announcing new privacy features in Monday’s open letter; he was also clearly trying to bridge a growing trust gap between Facebook and its increasingly suspicious users, especially in light of reports last week that Facebook (among othersocial networks) had been passing along user name and IDs to advertisers (including Google’s DoubleClick and Yahoo!’s own Right Media) without users’ consent. Those privacy loopholes have since been plugged, say Facebook, MySpace and other social networks.

Et, tu Brute?  Oh say it isn’t so, that a social network would sell your innermost private thoughts about your dating status and music likes to third party vendors.  It’s all private, right?  Yeah, nothing is free.  So I suppose that the whole mindset that nothing is private on the internet is a surprise to this latest generation.  Those of us who grew up being prosecuted for Napster downloads probably have less trust than say the current high school recruits.  So, even if I am dating myself, I feel it imperative to warn those out there who are cavalier with information on social networking sites:  they use this material to study you, and you gave it away for free.

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