Facebook, Not so Private

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As reported by the San Fransisco Chronicle:


Facebook, FTC in talks over privacy settings

Sara Forden, Bloomberg News

Friday, November 11, 2011

Facebook is in talks with the Federal Trade Commission to settle claims that it violated users' privacy when it changed default privacy settings to disclose more information than was previously made public, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.

The proposed 20-year settlement would require Facebook to get express consent from users before sharing material posted under earlier, more restrictive terms, said the person, who declined to be identified because the settlement isn't final. It would also compel an annual, independent review of Facebook's privacy practices.

The FTC is stepping up its enforcement of privacy requirements at Internet companies and already has settled complaints with Google and Twitter this year.

Cecilia Prewett, a spokeswoman for the FTC, and Andrew Noyes, a Facebook spokesman based in Washington, declined to comment on the talks.

Facebook is under pressure to protect individuals' information as it seeks revenue from the more than 800 million users who play games, post photos and communicate using the site. The Palo Alto company, which people familiar with the matter said may hold an initial public offering as early as next year, is also under scrutiny in the European Union for possible privacy-rule breaches over use of personal data.

"In order to successfully issue its IPO, Facebook had to send a signal to investors that it's putting the threat of regulatory intervention aside," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a group that has urged the FTC to address privacy issues at Facebook and other online marketers.

The potential settlement stems from a Dec. 17, 2009, complaint filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

The center asked the FTC to investigate whether consumers were harmed when Facebook changed its default privacy settings and called on the agency to require Facebook to give users "meaningful control over personal information." Nine consumer advocacy groups, including the American Library Association, Consumer Federation of America and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, signed on to the complaint.

"The FTC's action is long overdue," said Marc Rotenberg, the executive director of the privacy information center. "It's becoming increasingly obvious that the commission has to announce its final decision in this matter. The changes in Facebook privacy settings have continued to be the most frustrating online experience for Internet users."

Breaches alleged in the group's complaint include changes in Facebook settings in November and December of 2009 that induced users, in response to recommendations from the company, to reveal their names, profile photos, lists of friends, pages they are fans of, gender, geographic regions and networks to which they belong.

The complaint called on the FTC to compel Facebook to allow users to choose whether to disclose personal information and to choose whether to fully opt out of revealing information to third-party developers.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/11/BU0J1LTRDB.DTL#ixzz1dSvrtRXq

I wanted people with Facebook to see this so that they know, just because your profile is private doesn't mean you have to be friends for someone to see your profile (or at least a lot of your information). I tried to warn them.
It goes much deeper than this. And it's not just FB that's at it. However they do seem to be one of the worst offenders (and has one of the biggest 'customer base's).

The last bit of trouble they got into was instrumenting their 'like' button script, which gets cloned into numerous non-facebook websites, and carries a nasty little payload which allows FB to track FB users' activities on any pages sporting a 'like' button, even if they have logged out of FB.

Some related shenanegans had them trying to mine data on non-FB users through associations with actual FB users, and building shadow profiles of these by piecing together stuff found by association (email, mobile phone numbers blah blah).

Yes they are a fun bunch.
Pandora's box. You have opened it. :snidely:

May 9, 2009:
When The Pirate Bay released new Facebook features last month, the popular social networking site took evasive action, blocking its members from distributing file-sharing links through its service.

Now legal experts say Facebook may have gone too far, blocking not only links to torrents published publicly on member profile pages, but also examining private messages that might contain them, and blocking those as well.

“This raises serious questions about whether Facebook is in compliance with federal wiretapping law,” said Kevin Bankston, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, responding to questions from a reporter about the little-noticed policy that was first reported by TorrentFreak.

Facebook private messages are governed by the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which forbids communications providers from intercepting user messages, barring limited exceptions for security and valid legal orders.


May 7, 2010:
Then Facebook decided to turn “your” profile page into your identity online — figuring, rightly, that there’s money and power in being the place where people define themselves. But to do that, the folks at Facebook had to make sure that the information you give it was public.

So in December, with the help of newly hired Beltway privacy experts, it reneged on its privacy promises and made much of your profile information public by default. That includes the city that you live in, your name, your photo, the names of your friends and the causes you’ve signed onto.

This spring Facebook took that even further. All the items you list as things you like must become public and linked to public profile pages. If you don’t want them linked and made public, then you don’t get them — though Facebook nicely hangs onto them in its database in order to let advertisers target you.


March 1, 2011:
So cue the online outrage: Facebook announced today in a letter to Congress that the social-media platform is moving forward with plans to give third parties access to user information, such as phone numbers and home addresses.


June 10, 2011:

How to disable this feature (supposedly) for those who have accounts:


August 3, 2011:
Although we think it's generally a pretty nifty feature, valid concerns over the misuse of Facebook's auto-recognition tagging have lead Germany to ban it entirely. That's right—Facebook in its current state is now illegal. Deep Scheiße, Zuckerberg.

The German government—which possesses perhaps the world's most adamant privacy laws as a result of Nazi and subsequent postwar abuse—considers The Book's facial recognition a violation of "the right to anonymity," The Atlantic Wire reports. Hard to imagine anyone saying that over here, isn't it?


October 18, 2011:
"As noted previously, Max Schrems of Europe Versus Facebook has filed numerous complaints about Facebook's data collection practices. One complaint that has failed to draw much scrutiny regards Facebook's creation of Shadow Profiles. 'This is done by different functions that encourage users to hand personal data of other users and non-users to Facebook... (e.g. synchronizing mobile phones, importing personal data from e-mail providers, importing personal information from instant messaging services, sending invitations to friends or saving search queries when users search for other people on facebook.com). This means that even if you don't use it, you may already have a profile on Facebook.'"


Not specific to Facebook, but related: The Eternal Value of Privacy

And last because, IMO, it truly is least (and taken with a grain of salt) - the tin foil hat argument:

Satire courtesy of The Onion:

The last bit of trouble they got into was instrumenting their 'like' button script, which gets cloned into numerous non-facebook websites, and carries a nasty little payload which allows FB to track FB users' activities on any pages sporting a 'like' button, even if they have logged out of FB.

FYI - the "like" system here on pmbug has nothing to do with Facebook. It's strictly a pmbug feedback feature. pmbug doesn't have any Facebook apps, buttons or connections and I don't plan to add any.
Facebook is not a network I would ever coinsider participating in. I know a few people who very nearly dedicate their entire day to the damn thing. What a load of nonsense.

People have committed murder for being de-friended. What the hell is that all about??
* super necro bump *

The British newspaper The Observer reports that National Health Service trusts have been sharing patient information with Facebook without the patients' permission and despite promises not to do so. The newspaper said it found a Meta Pixel tracking tool on the website of 20 trusts that logs the search terms used, the pages visited, and the buttons that users click, as well as their I.P. addresses, and shares it with Facebook. Several trusts told the newspaper they were not aware they were sending data to Facebook.

I think a lot of website developers/managers do not understand the tracking capabilities of 3rd party widgets they add to their sites. I'm quite sure that most of the general public doesn't understand how these things work.
* super necro bump *

I think a lot of website developers/managers do not understand the tracking capabilities of 3rd party widgets they add to their sites. I'm quite sure that most of the general public doesn't understand how these things work.

So basically, if a site has a Facebook logon option. You can be assured that they (Facebook) get everything possible from that site about your use.
So basically, if a site has a Facebook logon option. You can be assured that they (Facebook) get everything possible from that site about your use.

Pretty much.
When Mark Zuckerberg shared a photo on Instagram of his family on July 4, two things stuck out: the billionaire CEO wore a striped souvenir cowboy hat, and the faces of his children were replaced with happy face emojis.

Zuckerberg’s post was promptly criticized by some who saw the decision to obscure the faces as a reflection of his privacy concerns for sharing pictures of his children online, despite his creating massive platforms that allow millions of other parents to do just that.

Better still, stop using FB.

The anatomy of a Facebook account heist​

Jessica Sems was on Facebook at 2 am when hackers struck in a series of attacks. First, she was locked out. Then, her account data — photos, posts, even her name — were all gone. Within a few minutes, the entire profile looked like it belonged to celebrity portrait photographer Jerry Avenaim.

Feeling overwhelmed, Sems logged in to Netflix instead, only to realize she’d been locked out of that too. When she called customer support, Netflix said they had no record of her email address being associated with an account, despite her having been a Netflix customer for eight years. She was able to get back on Netflix after chatting with support for an hour, but as of late September, her Facebook account had still not been recovered since the initial hack six months earlier.

Read the full article:


1.2 million people fooled by fake MidJourney Facebook page used to spread malware — don’t fall for this​

AI tools like Midjourney, ChatGPT-5 and DALL-E can be a game changer when it comes to creating content but unfortunately, many of them are locked behind subscriptions or only available in limited access.

There’s nothing hackers love more than something in short supply and according to a new report from Bitdefender, they’ve devised a complex way to use these tools — and access to them — to infect unsuspecting users with info-stealing malware.

Just like with other online scams, this one starts on Facebook before potential victims are led to a malicious site controlled by the hackers behind this campaign. From there, malicious ads are then used to infect those with an interest in AI with all sorts of dangerous malware.

While this campaign has primarily targeted European users so far, it could be retooled to go after those searching for AI tools on Facebook in other countries too. Here’s everything you need to know about how hackers are leveraging the popularity of AI tools in their attacks along with some tips on how you can stay safe from info-stealing malware.


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