Thursday, July 30, 2009

Do You Know What Your Facebook Privacy Settings Are?

I was doing some long overdue maintenance on my Facebook requests this last weekend trying to clean up group invites and application requests. Something bugged me as I was clicking around those application in the wee hours of the morning and I couldn't place my finger on it. I kept on seeing my social media friends in the ads inside of the applications and it didn't dawn upon me until I saw one friend in particular, Yvette (who I know has a thing for her privacy), Ines, Agustina, Maria, Tami and my own avatar in one of those ads. Two years ago I thought I had fixed this issue with Beacon and then it hit me, Facebook is invading our privacy.


Facebook Ad: Ines AgustinaP TamiFromMiami ViceQueenMaria TheDudeDean
Facebook Ad: DearYvette Ines AgustinaP ViceQueenMaria TheDudeDean
Facebook Ad: Ines AgustinaP TamiFromMiami DearYvette TheDudeDean

From Facebook Principles (Privacy Policy)
1.You should have control over your personal information.
2.You should have access to the information others want to share.

OK sounds good, like Facebook is on your side. Not that facebook is trying to take advantage of Your Good Name, Your Image, Your Avatar, Your Personality and/or Your Online Reputation. Sounds good in theory. In practice however Facebook doesn't at any time along the way prompt you to lock down your privacy settings nor does it say they are going to use Your photo in ads on their popular Facebook applications throughout the site. Nor does the privacy policy say anything about compensation for use of said images. Read a little bit deeper into the fine print of the Facebook Privacy Policy:

Sharing Your Information with Third Parties

*(Bullet point 4) If you, your friends, or members of your network use any third-party applications developed using the Facebook Platform ("Platform Applications"), those Platform Applications may access and share certain information about you with others in accordance with your privacy settings. You may opt-out of any sharing of certain or all information through Platform Applications on the Privacy Settings page. In addition, third party developers who have created and operate Platform Applications ("Platform Developers"), may also have access to your personal information (excluding your contact information) if you permit Platform Applications to access your data. Before allowing any Platform Developer to make any Platform Application available to you, Facebook requires the Platform Developer to enter into an
agreement which, among other things, requires them to respect your privacy settings


How do you opt out? Click on SETTINGS up at the top where you see the log out link. Select PRIVACY. Then select NEWS FEEDS AND WALL. Next select the tab that reads FACE BOOK ADS. There is a drop down box, select NO ONE. Then SAVE your changes.



Think your out of the facebook ads? Think again, because I thought I was. "How long have you had your privacy settings on facebook locked down?". Since Day 1, including the Ads setting. And I check it (and my other privacy settings), every time Facebook does an overhaul. "Am I imagining this? "You may opt out of appearing in your friends' Facebook ads." http://bit.ly/k0gp6" Very interesting, so if Yvette has her account on lock down and I though I had my account on lock down. Then why am I seeing her avatar image along with mine in one of those pesky facebook application ads?

Here's the kicker! Remember Bullet Point Four Above? It goes on;
"Before allowing any Platform Developer to make any Platform Application available to you, Facebook requires the Platform Developer to enter into an agreement which, among other things, requires them to respect your privacy settings and strictly limits their collection, use, and storage of your information. However, while we have undertaken contractual and technical steps to restrict possible misuse of such information by such Platform Developers, we of course cannot and do not guarantee that all Platform Developers will abide by such agreements. Please note that Facebook does not screen or approve Platform Developers and cannot control how such Platform Developers use any personal information that they may obtain in connection with Platform Applications."


So basically Facebook has a rule that they aren't able or willing to enforce. Facebook could phrase it such that they can and will delete applications in breech of their privacy policy but that goes against Facebook wanting to have more apps and more clicks on their social network. I informed Yvette of the bad news and she has some interesting counterpoints; "This is wrong, on so many levels. I have not formally endorsed a single commercial product, voluntarily... And, ethically, if I agreed to product endorsements in the FB TOS, I should be informed of what they are. False advertising. And, what if I am morally or contractually prevented from endorsing this or that product, then what? Troubling."

So Basically it falls on the end users to police Facebook and the application developers if they are breaking the Facebook privacy policy and using your images and likeness to sell their wares. Facebook claims these are "rumors" but they are not. But realistically if the setting for this was off by default, would you want to turn it on?

Report Facebook Apps that are Spam

When you catch an app you don't think isn't playing by the rules remove and report it. Also Facebook didn't bother to carry over my setting for Beacon from the older version of Facebook. If Facebook can carry over all the information, apps, pictures from the older version Facebook can remember my Privacy setting for Beacon. We shouldn't have to protect our privacy EVERY TIME Facebok does an update to their social network.

Facebook's got you covered!  Don't worry, we'll leave beacon on FOR you.Facebook's got you covered! Don't worry, we'll leave beacon on FOR you.

Facebook Updated my Privacy Settings for me.  Notice its OFF
Facebook Updated my Privacy Settings for me. Notice its OFF (Or set "Only My Friends")
Do You Know What Your Facebook Privacy Settings Are?

2 comments:

Mikeroblogger said...

It wasn't what I expected,but it was very helpful. However, I have another problem that I think you might be able to help me with. I spend very little time on Facebook and I don't have time to learn about their privacy settings. Besides, in this particular situation, I can't afford any mistakes. How can I contact you privately? Friendfeed, Email, etc. Thanks again!

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