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Let me put it another way: we all have a problem right now that we're trying to solve, which is that FB is screwing people. Your clever idea is screwing them worse, with no foreseeable gain for ethics either now or long-term that another demonstration couldn't provide.

If you really care about the problem, deactivate your project and come up with something more clever that also takes the moral high ground.




This argument just doesn't make sense. Its trivial to make this search, the OP just put a nice wrapper around it. There are two possible choices he could have made:

Something shocking, like "playing hooky", that could get people in trouble. In this case, people will get in trouble, because someone will find out they were playing hooky and report them. However, because people are directly being effected, a shit-storm will be caused, and people will accept that this is a problem faster.

On the other hand, the examples could have been something trivial, such as "Weight". It may get people annoyed about it, but no one is going to lose their job. And since they won't lose their job, they won't be pissed, and Facebook can drag their feet.

The best part is, anyone with malicious intent could make these searches on their own. Exposing it to the public just forces someone to take action.


To someone with the proper technical skills, it's trivial as you say. But until you do something like what these guys have done, it's dishonest (or geek-myopic) to say that it was trivially available before. When you package it up like this to inject into a receptive media channel, you make it "available" to an audience that would not have had access to this information before.

The rhetorical impact of choosing "playing hooky" over "weight" is obvious, and not the problem here. The problem is that someone whose main motivation was obviously geek cred and not solving a problem went straight for a collateral-damage campaign instead of one of the many other options available. Fixing the Facebook privacy policy is not worth endangering the livelihood of even one of these people.




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