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Cool Thing Of The Day: More Facebook Privacy Shenanigans Exposed

Matt McKeon, a developer at IBM's Visual Communication Lab, confirmed something that I think a lot of us have known for a long time -- that Facebook is constantly manipulating its access to our "personal" information, behind the scenes, and hoping that we don't notice (or will be so hooked on the service that we can't do anything about it).

Here's the link to Matt McKeon's site

Here's an image from his visualization -- this shows the orientation in the early days -- these days, the entire graph is blue.

Facebook's horrible customer privacy orientation surfaced yet again for me when I was surfing Yelp for a restaurant recommendation, and saw some of my Facebook contacts on the side of the screen. I thought my browser was having a problem, until I saw the note:

"Yelp has partnered with Facebook to make your experience more personalized."

And of course, when I hunt down, find, and click on the "remove me" button, I get this not-so-helpful message:

"We have removed your Facebook information from Yelp. You're not done yet! There is another step to disconnecting Yelp and Facebook. You need to go to Facebook's Privacy Preferences to turn off the connect feature between Yelp and Facebook."

Now, I already have my Facebook privacy settings at the equivalent of "maximum security". Who turned this on, without my permission? And why does it fall on me to constantly police the boundaries of my privacy on Facebook? And why aren't more people angry about this?

My supposition is, we're all too busy going about our lives to notice the gradual erosion of privacy, and Facebook's management knows this -- and exploits it for their own gain. Point is, Zuckerberg & Co. are either out of touch with the fundamental rights and expectations of their customers, or are (as I suspect) quite shady. Given how much information about us they hold in their hands, neither is a very good answer.

Here are some more educational links.

Facebook Privacy Scanner
Privacy vs Publicy
Why you shouldn't trust Facebook
They know who you are
How social media is changing us

TAGS: Innovation
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