[LINK] Facebook article -- snap meeting called

Jan Whitaker jwhit at janwhitaker.com
Sat May 15 14:19:09 AEST 2010

[I deleted all my profile data and changed the info for my birthdate, 
a common ID theft item. It's interesting that when you click on Edit 
Profile, the first option is to change the connection of some profile 
data to other pages -- but the only options given are: 1) accept or 
2) ask me later. NOTE: there is no "NO" option provided. If you click 
the fine print link (not a button) that says deal with each one 
separately, you can untick all the connections boxes. But then you 
get a nag notice something like "are you sure you want to do that? If 
you do, you'll delete your profile." Gee, talk about misleading and 
intimidating!) I wasn't the only one to point out the problem with 
the "option" to only accept or wait till later when you may just 
'give up'. Someone in my computer club yesterday raised it when one 
of the other members shared that he'd been hit with ID theft from his 
Facebook account.]


A leaked instant messenger (IM) transcript from 2003 in which 
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg mocks users who joined his then 
fledgling social networking site is adding to the sense of outrage 
over the social networking site's cavalier attitude towards privacy.

The transcript, published by the sober 
Insider website, dates from the days when Zuckerberg was a 
19-year-old operating what was then called The Facebook from his 
Harvard dorm room.

The IM conversation went like this, Business Insider says:

"Delete Facebook account" comes up as the first option now if you 
being typing the phrase into Google. But look what's second!

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

Zuck: Just ask.

Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?

Zuck: People just submitted it.

Zuck: I don't know why.

Zuck: They "trust me"

Zuck: Dumb f--ks.

The authenticity of the transcript was not denied by Facebook, which 
later issued a statement saying: "The privacy and security of our 
users' information is of paramount importance to us. We're not going 
to debate claims from anonymous sources or dated allegations that 
attempt to characterise Mark's and Facebook's views towards privacy."

The leak and the reaction to it underscores Zuckerberg's current 
notoriety as internet's favourite whipping boy.

A catalogue of changes

Facebook, which boasts a worldwide membership of more than 400 
million, began altering its privacy policy in December.

In January, 
told an audience that privacy was no longer a "social norm".

"People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more 
information and different kinds, but more openly and with more 
people," he said. "That social norm is just something that has 
evolved over time."

More changes last month set of a wave of protest when Facebook rolled 
out a series of new features including the ability for third-party 
websites to incorporate Facebook users' data.

Privacy advocates have panned the changes and taken their complaints 
to higher government authorities; tech bloggers have been up in arms 
and there's been a groundswell of support among many Facebook users 
to delete their accounts.

Well-know tech industry ranter, Jason Calacanis, 
off an email to his subscribers this week, saying he had watched 
Zuckerberg "screw over his users again and again in terms of privacy".

"Facebook is officially 'out', as in uncool, amongst partners, 
parents and pundits all coming to the realisation that Zuckerberg and 
his company are - simply put - not trustworthy," Calacanis writes.

Meanwhile, a European privacy group labelled the changes as 
"unacceptable" and a coalition of US privacy groups filed a complaint 
with the US Federal Trade Commission calling the new privacy policy 
"unfair and deceptive".

Why the changes?

These most complaints centre on the changes Facebook has made to its 
default privacy position.

The convention is that websites ask users to opt in to allow their 
private details to be exposed or shared. Instead, Facebook is 
requiring users to opt out - meaning they need to explicitly deny 
Facebook the right to broadcast their private details.

Unlike many other social networking sites, Facebook requires its 
members to use their real names.

New York 
has calculated that Facebook's new 
<http://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation.php>privacy policy is 
now longer than the original US Constitution. The former is 5830 
words long; the latter is just 4543 words long.

The changes are being pushed through because of commercial reasons. 
The more private data that is in the open or which is shared with 
commercial partners, the more lucrative it is for Facebook.

The furore is also reflected in Google search terms, where queries 
such as "delete facebook account" 
gaining popularity.

The latest developments come as new research shows that Facebook has 
passed Yahoo! to become the top US publisher of display ads on the 
web for the first time.

Web tracking firm comScore said Facebook delivered 176.3 billion 
display ads to US users in the first three months of the year, a 16.2 
per cent market share, more than double its 7.5 per cent share of a year ago.

Facebook has reportedly called a snap internal meeting on Friday (US 
time) to discuss the company's overall privacy strategy.

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com
blog: http://janwhitaker.com/jansblog/
business: http://www.janwhitaker.com

Our truest response to the irrationality of the world is to paint or 
sing or write, for only in such response do we find truth.
~Madeline L'Engle, writer

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