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Facebook Follies

I was on a panel recently when a question about the future of Facebook came up and I said that Facebook was actually vulnerable to a challenge because their glitchy technology and ongoing privacy snafus have alienated so many of their users.

Since then, I've collected these developments:

1. Facebook Calls All Hands Meeting On Privacy.

"Facing increasing pressure from the media and users, Facebook has called an all hands meeting tomorrow afternoon, at 4 PM Pacific, to discuss the company's overall privacy strategy according to sources inside the company. Facebook has come under increasing scrutiny for a number of reasons and many were left with a sour taste in their mouth following a New York Times reader Q&A with Elliot Schrage, the company's Vice President for Public Policy," All Facebook reported.

"While it's unknown what Facebook will announce during the meeting, it's pretty obvious that changes will need to be made if Facebook is going to regain users' trust. The most likely change will come in the form of a temporary removal of the 'Instant Personalization' service, or at the least, a shift to 'opt-in', something many privacy advocates have been calling for."

2. Four Nerds and a Cry to Arms Against Facebook.

"How angry is the world at Facebook for devouring every morsel of personal information we are willing to feed it?" the New York Times reported.

"A few months back, four geeky college students, living on pizza in a computer lab downtown on Mercer Street, decided to build a social network that wouldn't force people to surrender their privacy to a big business. It would take three or four months to write the code, and they would need a few thousand dollars each to live on.

"They gave themselves 39 days to raise $10,000, using an online site, Kickstarter, that helps creative people find support.

"It turned out that just about all they had to do was whisper their plans."

3. Protect Yourself Against Facebook's New Hacker Path.

"Facebook had its third alarming bug in as many weeks, when a security researcher showed how a hostile website could obtain your Facebook information via Yelp," Gawker reported. "The hole is supposedly fixed, but then so were the prior two."

4. EU Is The Latest To Criticize Facebook's Privacy Changes.

"Poor Facebook. It's in the midst of a very loud uprising by the tech elite over its latest batch of privacy changes - and it's still being criticized for the changes it made way back in December," paidContent reported.

"Those changes meant that users could no longer restrict access to some basic information - like what pages they liked and who their friends were - and had less control over what information about them was shared via the Facebook API. Not okay, according to the European Union's Article 29 Working Party, which issued a scathing letter today (via the FT) calling the changes the site had made 'unacceptable.'"

5. From my Facebook feed:

"[User's] Posts are mysteriously disappearing off my page."

Comment: "I like the party analogy at the end, that FB is acting like the drunk spoiling everything rather than just being a good host and getting out of everyone's way."

6. Looking to Delete Your Facebook Account? You're Not Alone.

"Over the past 24 hours, searches related to deleting Facebook accounts have been some of the top trending items on Google," the Wall Street Journal reported.

7. From my Facebook feed:

"[User] So by selecting not to link to various pages/sites pertaining to my profile info (e.g., schools, favorite movies, etc.), most of my info got deleted. What's up with that?"

Comment: "Mine did too! Son of a Facebook."

8. MySpace Introduces New Un-Facebook Like Privacy Settings.

"Can MySpace (NYSE: NWS) benefit from Facebook's recent privacy woes? The company is updating its privacy settings to make them not Facebook-like; new privacy settings will be 'simpler' and 'more intuitive' - a contrast to Facebook's settings which have been criticized for being too complex," paidContent reported. "Specifically, MySpace says users will now be able to easily control who can access all of the content on their profiles. The site previously had more granular settings but few were using them."

9. From my Facebook feed:

"[User] As of today, there is a NEW Facebook PRIVACY setting called 'Empty My Bank Account' that takes all the money from your bank account and it is automatically set to 'Allow.' Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications & Websites> Empty My Bank Account, and uncheck 'Allow'. If your friends don't do this, you can laugh at them. COPY & REPOST THIS!!!


"[User] joined the group Petition: Facebook, respect my privacy!"


"WTF is up with FB tonight? My responses to people are showing up under other peoples' updates/comments. If my comments are showing up under your entries making no sense whatsoever, I'm totally not on drugs or drunk tonite. It's totally FB's fault."

10. | Facebook Privacy Scanner

"This website provides an independent and open tool for scanning your Facebook privacy settings. The source code and its development will always remain open and transparent."


Comments welcome.


Posted on May 19, 2010

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
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BOOKS - All About Poop.


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