Facebook ‘sells out’ your information

CEO Mark Zuckerberg dropped a bomb shell on his 400 million Facebook users a few weeks ago when he launched Open Graph API – which covertly altered your privacy contract with Facebook.

The new privacy policy made all your profile information, comments, photos and activities public by default – unless you proactively go in and change your privacy settings accordingly.  The policy then allowed Facebook’s partner company’s (such as Pandora, Microsoft and CNN) to acquire that information, and use it to personalize their websites for individual visitors.

It then failed to inform users that they must change their privacy settings if they don’t want their information automatically shared with the world.  It also made the option to opt-out of sharing with outside websites incredibly difficult to find.  (Go to Account => Privacy Settings => Applications and Websites => Under Instant Personalization Pilot Program, click edit settings.  Then uncheck the box near the bottom.)

Facebook is now being accused of purposely making it difficult for users to secure private information, so that Facebook can continue making money selling your profile information to outside companies.  It’s being accused of literally selling out.

Elliot Schrage, VP for Public Policy at Facebook, told the New York Times that the reason its privacy option were so complicated was because Facebook was simultaneously trying to make its controls as precise as possible.

“There are always trade-offs between providing comprehensive and precise granular controls and offering simple tools that may be broad and blunt.  We have tried to offer the most comprehensive and detailed controls and comprehensive and detailed information about them.”

Regardless of whether Facebook is purposely selling out, the company has a PR nightmare on its hands.

“How do I delete my Facebook account” is now the fifth option that drops down when you type “How do I” into Google’s search engine, which takes into consideration recent upticks in popularity when choosing its phrase finishers.

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2 comments

  1. You failed to include one detail in the steps to opt out. They should read “(Go to Account => Privacy Settings => Applications and Websites => UNDER INSTANT PERSONALIZATION PILOT PROGRAM Edit Settings. Then uncheck the box near the bottom.)

  2. Haha just found my info on Spokeo, despite not using facebook for years. Went and deactivated my account (hopefully leading to a deletion of my account), and BAM, minutes later couldn’t find my info at all. Facebook is a fraud using “this is cool” ads/word of mouth to f*ck everybody over.

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