Monday, May 03, 2010

facebook privacy erosion

I went into my privacy settings on facebook to turn off the "instant personalization" program (I don't really want facebook to provide my info to other sites automatically), and was a little miffed by the experience of disabling it:

First, I unchecked the box that said "Allow select partners to instantly personalize their features with my public information when I first arrive on their websites." This was me reverting backwards towards previous policies facebook had back when it was not sharing data with third party sites.

Anyway, when I checked the box, I got the usual "are you sure?" dialog that attempted to convince me to reconsider. In addition, it let me know that checking the box won't completely opt me out, since my friends will still be leaking my information to these third party sites.

 Kudos on facebook for telling me this, but why can't the check box actually control both the data I allow to be transmitted and that sent by my friends? They explain in the dialog (and in fine print on the pref page) that I can block the application and that will stop my data flowing from my friends, but for the life of me I can't figure out what the application is called and how to block it. Any advice here?

I don't like that I have to review the facebook privacy policy and the settings page what seems like every time I log in; this is a nasty side-effect of the slow erosion of their privacy policy and settings. I constantly have to be figuring out what kind of relaxing of the privacy policy facebook is doing next. I realize the importance of monetization (and I'm impressed that they're trying to find something new, something not advertisements to make them money), but I guess I value control of my data a bit more than facebook does.


Unknown said...

Facebook may not value your control of your data, but they sure as heck value their control/ownership of your data.

Anonymous said...

Go to "Privacy Settings>Applications & Websites>What your friends can share about you" and uncheck everything.

While you're poking around in there, you might want to go to "Account Settings" and "Facebook Ads" and stop advertisers from using your information in their ads. Be care there - there are two actions on that page, so scroll down to get the 2nd one.

Steuard said...

I think that the previous "what your friends can share" suggestion will work. But just in case, you might also do the following:

Go to the Facebook "Help Center" and search for "Instant Personalization". You should see a question that begins "How do I block individual sites...": the answer includes links to the three current sites. It's possible that the following direct link will work:!/help/?faq=17223

Anonymous said...

I think there is much more simple way how to get rid of that constant snooping ... ... I really don't have time on those clowns. Life is too short to waste it on unchecking yet another wave of privacy leaks in Facebook.

Anonymous said...

You're mistaken about them not using advertising - they've just moved into the shadows. All of that information you're fruitlessly trying to protect (Facebook's privacy changes are intended to give access to your data) is being sold to advertisers so they can target ads to your interests.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 8:26 PM

Why not just delete your account? What's the point of having something that will be of no use to you? That you have constantly be vigilant? Something that works against you?

Anonymous said...

I gave up on Facebook after the last big privacy change. You know, the one that Mark Zuckerberg also got wrong on his first try. Not worth my time trying to keep up with their changing settings that are made deliberately hard.

zooplah said...

The classic axiom of the web is that if you don't want people to access your data, don't post it. It goes for those hackish no-right-click scripts as it does for what's on Facebook. If you're not comfortable with a service having certain information, don't post that information.