In 2010 Mark Zuckerberg (in)famously announced that “Privacy was no longer the social norm.” That was when Facebook reset (relaxed) the privacy settings for all of their users. So the Internet sat up and took notice when yesterday Mark Zuckerberg said “I believe we should be working towards a world where people can speak privately and live freely knowing that their information will only be seen by who they want to see it.”
Palestinian security researcher Khalil Shreateh tried to warn Facebook – he really did. He did everything that he could think of to alert Facebook’s security and engineering folks to the fact that he had discovered a security flaw that allowed anyone to post to anybody else’s timeline, whether they were connected as friends or not. But they didn’t take him seriously (in fact they told him that it was not a security bug). So after all else failed, he posted a note on Mark Zuckerberg’s wall. And that did the trick.
You knew that Facebook uses you in their advertising, right? Those sidebar advertisements (so called “sponsored stories”) where you often see your friends featured – “So and so likes this advertiser” – they do that with your likeness too. We have often ranted about it – now someone is doing something about it: In the case of Fraley v. Facebook plaintiff Fraley and others are suing Facebook in a class action suit, and the Federal court has approved Fraley versus Facebook moving forward. U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh agreed that there was a chance that the plaintiffs could win their case based on claims that Facebook has committed fraud, and violated California law with unauthorized use of their image and name, in using Facebook friends’ images and names in advertising displayed in the Facebook sidebar.
There is a meme going around this week, concerning Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and how he supposedly said that concerns over Facebook privacy were “overblown”. In fact, nearly 1,000 sites, including the Telegraph, the Latest Business Report, and SFGate, are reporting that, and we quote, “Facebook privacy concerns overblown, suggests Mark Zuckerberg.” However, in the actual interview on which these sites are reporting – an interview that Zuckerberg did with the New Yorker’s Jose Antonio Vargas – Zuckerberg never actually says that the concerns are overblown – in fact he doesn’t use the term “overblown” at all. Good thing too, because we just discovered that with a single click, Facebook is now revealing all of the applications that you use to your friends, and vice versa. (See screen shot below.)
Facebook has responded to the concern engendered by the new Facebook TOS with a post by none other than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg himself. In his comments, Zuckerberg tries to allay the fears of Facebook users by saying that even though the new Facebook TOS says that Facebook can use all user-generated content however they want, and forever, they wouldn’t really do so. Unfortunately, that doesn’t cut it.