It all started when I came across this image on Imgur
At first I laughed because there were talking pigs there. Talking bacon, pahaha. Then I read the text underneath and instantly stopped laughing.
What happens on Facebook stays on Facebook.
There has always been talk about Facebook and how your privacy online is never as good as you think it is. It’s somehow an extention of the famous Las Vegas quote; What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. However, when you swap Vegas with Facebook the quote instantly gets a bit more troubling (unless you’re the fiancee of the man who just had his bachelor party in Vegas).
The rumour/theory/fact that everything you put on Facebook stays there is honestly not something I’ve been giving much thought, as I haven’t had many outrageous photo’s posted of me or joined a group planning terrorism etc. Maybe I’ve chosen to ignore it because it seems secure and reliable.
Whatever the reason for my lack of worry might be, there is no questioning that the information people can find about you on Facebook might become troubling for you at a certain point.
In my brief research I came across an article about criminals who was caught by the police with the help of Facebook. One fugitive charged with murder was found after he updated his workplace on Facebook, another one added a former Justice Department official to his list of friends (which made it easy for the police to find his whereabouts). There is several different examples here
Like most behaved citizens I can see the positive sides of this; it helps keep our society safe. But which guarantee do we have that someone isn’t accessing our private updates? I’m sure there isn’t many people that are that curious about my personal life, but it is quite unsettling to know that it is possible.
Privacy Changes we should know about
I surely didn’t. I might be irresponsible for not paying more attention to this, but you all know my haircolour.
From Wikipedia: “According to comScore
, an internet marketing research
company, Facebook collects as much data from its visitors as Google and Microsoft, but considerably less than Yahoo!
In a closer reading of this I ended up at The New York Times’ website, where they explained that the collection of data about visitors are a marketing trick; when tracing which pages the user enters they calculate which commercials it is likely that the user might get interested in.
“Everyone feels that if we can get more data, we could put ads in front of people who are interested in them,” he said. “That’s the whole idea here: put dog food ads in front of people who have dogs.”
- David Verklin, chief executive of Carat Americas, an ad agency in the Aegis Group that decides where to place ads for clients
Just because I love Imgur so much, here’s another Facebook related example
Scared yet? To break it down easily; the web companies follows your movements online, and if you’re visiting a lot of online shopping sites it is likely that commercials for such pages will appear more frequently.
I found the article informative and surprising, have a look here
Another thing I’ve managed to overlook is that “your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, Friends List, and all the pages you subscribe to are now publicly available information on Facebook. This means everyone on the web can see it; it is searchable.”
- From Read Write Web, this article
This was a change made almost two years ago, but this is the first time it has ever occured to me. It’s a bit worrying that this isn’t information we get before decisions are made.
Just to finish off, here’s a summary of your relationship with Facebook by Bruce Schneier:
The whole article is here
Oh.. And on the privacy note.. Remember that your parents might be watching as well.
EDIT, 28th of September
So just a few days after my rant about Facebook I was going through Norwegian webpages to get an update of what interests the newspapers of the country.
At the top of one of the biggest ones were an article about how Facebook monitors you even after you’ve logged out of your account.
Since I’m not quite terrified enough or maybe because I lack the skill to do much investigation on my own, I’m really happy that there are people like Nik Cubrilovic. He is an Australian man who describes himself (on his blog) as an entrepeneur, hacker and writer. Maybe he’ll be able to teach me some helpful stuff? Who knows, anyhow (is that even a word?) I found his blog very helpful on this given subject.
“Dave Winer wrote a timely piece this morning about how Facebook is scaring him since the new API allows applications to post status items to your Facebook timeline without a users intervention. It is an extension of Facebook Instant and they call it frictionless sharing. The privacy concern here is that because you no longer have to explicitly opt-in to share an item, you may accidentally share a page or an event that you did not intend others to see.” see more
Another page which was more related to the subject I brought up in the previous post about Facebook gave a better description of how they manage to monitor our moves online.
I’m sure most of us have seen those small facebook/tumblr/twitter and other sorts of social widgets that allows you to post the article or product on the given platform. I’m think I even have it on my blog. These widgets allows you to quickly and easily repost something you found interesting and want to share, and seem pretty harmless.
In The Wall Street Journal Amir Efrati writes that when you press these buttons it is not just a fun tool to share pages with your friends, it also allows the makers collect data about the different pages you are visiting.
“These so-called social widgets, which appear atop stories on news sites or alongside products on retail sites, notify Facebook and Twitter that a person visited those sites even when users don’t click on the buttons, according to a study done for The Wall Street Journal.” more here
It appears that in order for this to work, the person must have logged in to Facebook only once in the past month. I’m sure I’m not alone to about visiting Facebook almost every day, which means that most of us are leaving quite a solid trail after us around the internet.
And for those of you who doesn’t have Facebook:
“But Facebook says it still places a cookie on the computer of anyone who visits the Facebook.com home page, even if the user isn’t a member. Mr. Taylor says Facebook uses such cookies to protect the site from cyberattacks by people who try to break in to users’ accounts, among other things.”
Yeah so yeah.. I don’t think I’ll delete my account yet, but I will keep an eye out to see if commercials “perfectly suited” for me appears.. This is what I could find right now.