Do you know what Facebook is doing with your account data?

~by Sam Insanity, written on 20th of March 2011

While it takes me a lot of inspiration to post on my blog (which takes weeks or even months), this is an issue that has to be addressed to as much users as possible with me furiously typing away.

Facebook, the social networking giant with more than 600 million active users that killed the private life of people (as well as being the most visited website on the Internet) has had its share of privacy scares in the past (do read this); changing the Terms of Service policy monthly in a very secretive manner under the user's noses just to cater to Facebook partners and escape lawsuits, making it difficult to keep your private data safe and secure. So I beg the question:

So what exactly does Facebook do with your data?
As it turns out, quite a lot.
In January of this year, Facebook announced in its developer blog that it would be allowing the third parties that develop its partner applications to access users’ home address and telephone information, though these parties can only obtain this data if users give them explicit permission to do so, which most people don't give a shit and click the 'Allow' button.

Facebook temporarily suspended this feature just three days later — after the inevitable public outcry — but decided to move forward with the plan in February. Due to the controversial nature of the move, Facebook has also said it is “actively considering” whether to restrict users that are under 18 from sharing the data.

IT security firms now warn users to remove all personal information from their profiles, lest rogue applications with malicious intent — like spammers and those that illegally trade in credit card information — take hold of your data.
It’s not much of a secret that major networks can sell your private information to advertisers, but some consider Facebook’s policies particularly disgustingly shocking when it comes to the practice.
In 2008, Facebook launched “Engagement Ads,” which would prompt users to interact with a targeted ad once they login (such as “like” a product or RSVP for a movie) and then grant marketers access to what users did with that information, as well as share it with friends to get it in front of “more eyeballs.”

As I illustrate below from my Facebook profile, have a look at the 'Event Planner' section.

While most people skip the Terms of Service and don't give a hoot about what Facebook is doing with their data, I for one.. find it shocking when I browse through a korean friend's profile and all kinds of advertisements on Korea or korean products pop up on the side of the bar in facebook, not that I pay attention while still notice it but still,

It's creepy.

I discovered facebook had been secluding us facebook users from interacting with all of our friends, correcting the belief that Facebook makes the world smaller by expanding networks. I found it strange I was interacting with the same faces over and over when I had 900 friends I wanted to keep in touch with, but never saw their status even once.

Turns out the fuckers controlling Facebook introduced
'Friends and pages you interact with most'

As illustrated above, I print-screened Facebook and made this picture above, the targeting actually got worse.

While I why it was happening, I wanted to hide the post of one mad person updating her status (like, 2 fucking statuses per minute) then only did I find this feature, and I was shocked as I was very unhappy.

I deduced that when Facebook updated us to their new interface, they secretly set our setting to 'Friends and pages you interact with most' by keeping us in our usual circle of friends, we'd be more likely to stay on Facebook than talk to strangers, which might even be elaborated further with the aim of generating future business and perhaps advertise on facebook to create more income for them perhaps.

In short, Facebook is controlling how we meet, talk and interact with the people in our lives.

What a dangerous website, damned Facebook.

In short, watch this video.

I never use my real name on Facebook
By choosing my online name Sam Insanity, no credit card firms, shady people or big companies can obtain my private data to send stupid shit to my email/phone

I always deny requests to update my phone number into Facebook
As soon as I accepted with my old number, the Ministry of Sound Malaysia sends me bullshit spam to my phone so I have a new number now.

I never accept requests from people less than 20 mutual friends
Doing so jeopardizes my privacy, it could be my boss from work who created another Facebook account and added me just to spy on my photos and listen on office rumors.

The only application I allow to access my data is Twitter in order to update Facebook from my new Blackberry while I'm away from home.

Pretty soon Facebook will introduce the new 'Facebook phone' and spam our handphones with updates, the fuckers.

You fuckers.

To add fuel to the user's outrage, in 2010, Facebook announced that it would automatically opt users into a kind of mini-Facebook connect on third-party websites in order to “personalize” your fucking online experience.

Basically, this means that advertisers and Facebook partners have access to your unique “cookie” data, and use that information to display information about your friends and their actions on the site (such as having “liked” a company.) The websites also have the ability to share this information with “everyone,” which is the default setting on Facebook. These sites now have access to your profile and can access your name, profile picture, gender, city, networks, friend list, likes/interests, and fan pages.
Moreover, even if you choose to deactivate your account, Facebook still retains your data in case you choose to re-enable it, which caused a privacy uproar in 2009 when its Terms of Service was once again changed. (Basically, Facebook has the right to freely use information you leave out in the open, even after you close your account.) Even if you delete your account, your comments and messages to friends will be left in tact. Two weeks after you've deleted it, you will not be able to recover your account and Facebook takes ownership of it.
Many are concerned about the selling of users’ private information without their consent — so much so that even Congress has gotten involved.
Senator John Kerry (D-MA), the chair of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, wants to investigate data-mining and protect consumers at the same time; he’ll be introducing a bill in congress later this year that will require companies to let you know that you’re private information is secure, and allow you to opt out of providing the information in the first place. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will begin hearings on March 16, 2011 to try to prevent consumer harm.
In 2010 alone, 14 privacy and consumer advocate groups filed a complaint with the FTC against Facebook.

~Sam Insanity

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