Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

It's laughable that any Facebook user assumes any degree of privacy.

What's far more concerning, and what this probe doesn't appear to address, is what Facebook does with the information of non-users.



You seriously think grandma and Joe the plumber are aware of Facebook's constant data collection?

Let's have empathy for people outside the tech bubble and realize that it's our duty as technical people to educate people around us about these issues.

I was on the phone with my mother and told her about the recent facebook things and she said "I am very careful about what I post on facebook so I don't worry".

Then I told her about what they actually do with the pixel and like buttons and she was flabbergasted. "You mean they can see what I read even if I don't press the like button?"

Not sure I convinced her to delete the account though as all her friends are there.

I would guess that the elderly are much more skeptical about handing over their personal information online than younger generations. For example, Facebook started off in colleges. And other forms of social media like Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram are predominantly used by younger cohorts who are ambivalent about what companies might use with their data. The information about data collection is out there, what with Google searches and all. People choose not to abstain.

I'll give a more recent example: I meet 20-somethings at a meetup I go to each week. Most of them go to a pretty well-known university (thus, they are well educated), they ask me if they can connect with me via Facebook. I say I don't use Facebook, and then spend an extra 20 minutes explaining all the reasons why often to their astonishment. In my mind I'm like, "Really? How do you not know all of this? You read tons of magazines/journals?"

The sad reality is that billions of people don't care. Even with this whole scandal, I'd be shocked if Facebook's stock price was hurt in the long term.

You don't talk to many casuals then. They are fully aware that all of their data is being recorded and used against them. They've been aware since the massive NSA scandal.

What about the like button on web sites and the FB pixel that is invisible to the user? Again, you seriously think Joe average is aware of that?

In my opinion, the problem isn't just with being an active Facebook user. Anytime you visit a website with a FB Pixel, "Like" button, or any other FB embedded content, you are tracked - whether or not you are a user.

I do have the Facebook trackers disabled in Ghostery but I wonder if that’s enough

You're being additionally tracked in the reverse by a third party affiliate on the knowledge of you being a person who blocks Facebook, if that makes any sense.

Adblock detectors that function in the same vein as "FuckAdblock" look at if the client blocked a Facebook pixel.

Seems like the fingerprinting that can be done in this case is much less -- the affiliate would just get "ip / website / using-adblock" instead of "ip / website / FB profile ID" right?

Or are the websites providing identifying information like email? (I've never heard of this but I'm not well-versed here).

It's more like the combination of ip / website / using-adblock / screen resoluction / installed fonts / installed plugins and their versions / hash-this / hash-that are individually non-identifying by themselves, but a combination of them can be used to uniquely identify an individual. [1]

But who, exactly, is the individual? Well, that comes later. Maybe your blocker fails to block something that is gathering that data plus your identity. Now, all of that activity (that was previously not tied to an individual) can now be safely linked to you, the individual.

1: https://panopticlick.eff.org/

Very good point, those fingerprinting techniques were what I was missing.

Also, thanks for sharing that EFF link, I really like the breakdown of how much entropy they can get from each fingerprint dimension.

I do not doubt this, but do you have more information/sources?


Yea, so "laughable" that people are not constantly paranoid and super informed about how the information industry works. /s

It's not people's fault that facebook is abusing their data. That's some sociopathic logic.

Just think of all the children whose whole lives are being put unto Facebook by unthinking parents. They never stood a chance.

Remember for a lot of regular internet users, Facebook is almost indistinguishable from "the internet" itself.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact