EFF on FaceBook’s Eroding Privacy—And Rights Grab

The EFF has published two important discussions of recent changes regarding who controls your data on Facebook; first, a timeline of the changes to the Facebook privacy statements:

Facebook originally earned its core base of users by offering them simple and powerful controls over their personal information. As Facebook grew larger and became more important, it could have chosen to maintain or improve those controls. Instead, it’s slowly but surely helped itself — and its advertising and business partners — to more and more of its users’ information, while limiting the users’ options to control their own information. Read more . . .

Earlier, the EFF’s Tim Jones noted that Facebook has deliberately created a user interface from hell, in order to make it more difficult for users to control their data:

As Conti describes it, a good interface is meant to help users achieve their goals as easily as possible. But an “evil” interface is meant to trick users into doing things they don’t want to. Conti’s examples include aggressive pop-up ads, malware that masquerades as anti-virus software, and pre-checked checkboxes for unwanted “special offers”.

The new Facebook is full of similarly deceptive interfaces.

Mind the “new” Facebook UI is so idiotic and poorly implemented and documented that I find it exceedingly difficult to share the information I want to share; there are six separate settings to modify in order to present an RSS feed on a “Wall” that is universally available, while still restricting other kinds of data.

One of the first responses users make to this kind of UI and policy is to deliberately pollute the data stream, to create false IDs, and fake metadata. This policy will adversely affect Facebook.

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She plays o' the viol-de-gamboys, speaks three or four languages word for word without book, hath all the good gifts of nature, knows a hawk from a handsaw, and can see a church by daylight. The rest is subject to fancy.