Archive for the ‘privacy’ Category

BuyItOrDie? Yeah, right…

I’ve noticed that one of my posts has been stolen (search for my site on Technorati) by a website called BuyItOrDie… I’m not going to link to them because I don’t want to help their google rankings. Regardless, they’ve stolen some of  my content and a quick look round the blogosphere confirmed that I’m not the only one who’s having their content stolen.

This doesn’t appear to be an isolated incident and I suspect it will provide a challenge for the quality of results provided by search engines indexing blogs.


Bad Facebook, Bad Facebook

I’m on Holiday so I’ll keep it short. I logged onto Facebook tonight and was greated by the following advert in my news feed: 


  • It was only a matter of time until this happend, but this ****** me off something else…. it is “my” news feed after all… I think injecting adverts into my news like this is pretty cheap and tactless.
  • Is this a targeted advert at me? If so, well done on asking a married guy if he’s tired of being single… get a grip.
  • Has someone “shared” this advert to me? Are they being compensated? If so, this is yet another privacy issue I have with Facebook.
  • Are the pictures of real Facebook users? Do they know that their picture is being used to sell some dating service through Facebook? Are they being compenstated? 
  • If it’s not real users, the advert implies that they are and in my book that’s wrong…

The Facebook Problem

I don’t think anyone has had more column inches in the press or words in the blogosphere as Facebook. The majority of the last twelve months have been an amazing success as Facebook expanded beyond students and alumni allowing anyone to join. Yahoo apparently valued Facebook at upwards of… Finally, the opening up the Facebook “platform” to 3rd party developers resulted in even more positive press.


Brad Feld and Fred Wilson gave their takes on The Facebook Problem last month – I’d like to suggest a different Facebook Problem.

I’m noticing a growing sense of unease of what “Facebook” is for. Robert Scoble thinks it’s a business tool, Scott Hanselman uses it as a social tool (but thinks it might change), Mark Evans didn’t think it could be a serious tool last month. I like the idea of a LinkedIn/Facebook split, but as more people use Facebook as a business tool it raises privacy concerns for those who don’t view it in the same way.I discussed this with some colleagues this afternoon. We hadn’t added each as friends, yet they were genuinely shocked about the information I was able to access about them. The fact that the default privacy settings can allow non-friends to access your profile presents an issue for users when the Facebook world and real world intersect.   

As discussed in Slashdot and the Times; users can tag a photo of you and it is then associated with your account without permission. Granted, while you can remove the tag it’s hardly an easy thing to explain socially. I’m reminded of the saying “easier to apologise than to ask permission”. This type of content injection is not something I appreciate and I’d like to be able to turn it off. While the limited profile does give some control, I personally don’t think it’s quite granular enough – Bill Thomson hit the nail right on the head.


We should also beware of the threat impersenation presents; something that was fairly common on FriendsReunited.


Facebook needs a way to allow users to manage and segment their network more effectively – if they don’t someone will and I suspect we’ll be hearing more about the importance of privacy on social networks as it becomes the norm for professionals, parents and the public at large.