Facebook "privacy": Be social, or else

Facebook privacy update (May 3, 2010). Here's the synopsis of my latest interaction with Facebook privacy:

  • I go to my Profile page to look at something.
  • Facebook displays a popup that basically says "Here's all the information in your profile (books, movies, songs, where you were born, etc.). By default we've checked all these boxes so you can join all these groups. You must take an action now before you can see your Profile."
  • Me: WTF? Where is the "De-select All" button?
  • Facebook: There is no such button. If you want to de-select all these items, do so manually.
  • Me: Fine, I will.
  • Facebook: You have de-selected all these items, so we have deleted everything in your profile.
  • Me: WTF? Okay, fine, that's just as well. Screw you. In fact, let me help you delete a lot more things around here. (*I delete all other profile information.*)

Between this heavy-handed Facebook tactic, and their refusal to add a "Hide All Friggin' Game Output" button, Facebook reminds me of the phrase, "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

In a lot of ways I think this is good. It's just a reminder to me that there are a lot of bad things about Facebook, and the only thing it's good for any more is sending emails to people without using my email address.

Congressman's proposed bill could affect Facebook's "Like"

I'm not sure about this bill, but I am glad to see someone paying attention to Facebook's crazy changes to a person's privacy and security:

"Not yet released on the House floor, the latest public draft, released yesterday by Rep. Rick Boucher (D - Va.) (PDF available here) would make it illegal for a Web service such as Facebook or Google to share any personal information about a user with any other entity, without obtaining the user's permission to share specifically that information with that other specific party."

I've given up on (cough, cough) "Facebook privacy and security", and I now assume that anything I post there will eventually be made public by the Facebook gods.

If anyone wants to know anything about me, you can find information here at devdaily.com, and these locations:

Facebook security and privacy, just three days later ...

The New York Times reports "Facebook Glitch Brings New Privacy Worries", in which they describe how "private" discussions somehow became public.

Here are quotes from several different people in the article:

"Facebook has become more scary than fun"

The Electronic Privacy Information Center complains to the FTC:

That last change prompted the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group, to file a complaint on Wednesday with the Federal Trade Commission.

"Facebook continues to manipulate the privacy settings of users and its own privacy policy so that it can take personal information provided by users for a limited purpose and make it widely available for commercial purposes," Marc Rotenberg, the group’s executive director, said in a letter to the commission.

Here's one person's comments on Facebook privacy settings that mirrors my own thoughts:

At this point, I have no idea how many times I’ve changed my settings,” said Lauren Snead, a 24-year-old student in Murfreesboro, Tenn. "I’ve done it so many times. I’m tired of logging in one day and seeing everything is different and trying to understand what it means."

Facebook privacy and security - Don't be evil

In short, in regards to privacy and security, I think Facebook would do well to adopt Google's motto, "Do no evil". Otherwise, we will soon be talking about Facebook as the company that once had a multi-billion dollar valuation, and should have gone public when they had the chance.