But, Facebook is invading privacy in subtle ways that users aren't so good at grasping. Like the fact that Facebook remembers every website they visit. And how long you linger on a post in your timeline. And collects your location data even when you're not trying to broadcast it. And analyzes all of your private messages. And trains neural networks to recognize you so they can correlate you with other pictures throughout the internet (and who knows, maybe they're sharing those models with random governments or other companies).
The way I see it, it's Facebook's platform, and it's up to them to build features as they see fit. The news feed works how the news feed works. There's nothing to "fix," and there's nothing rude about it. It's just an optional feature on a website on the Internet, and of course you don't have to use it if you don't like it.
A social network is more like a magical bulletin board that tries to make itself as visible to as many people as possible. Perhaps you don't like that the bulletin board does that, but it's not rude. You're 100% free to not make posts there. I recommend it, in fact.
In the original article linked above, the situation was that users expected their social information to remain private to the ~100 friends they shared it with, and sued Facebook because it ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica. Facebook's attorney's counterpoint is that when you share information with friends, you give up any expectation of privacy as it pertains to these friends. And in this particular case, it was the friends who shared that information with some Facebook app by Kogan(sp?), who then shared it with Cambrige Analytica.
I find the argument pretty convincing, actually. If you tell your friend a secret, and they tell someone else, even if it's a corporation, then that's that. If you share your Spotify playlist with a friend, and in turn they give up all their friends' playlists data (including yours) to some app, then imo that's kind of on you for sharing.
The situation I disagree with is if you tell your friend a secret, and then the communication platform that you used to share that secret (your phone company, the hotel you're staying in, Gmail, Facebook, whatever) decides to share it with third parties.
It was a big change when Facebook introduced the newsfeed back in 2006 or 2007 and I do remember people calling it the ‘stalker feed’ and there being a big facebook group with a million members asking for it to be removed. But people got over it, liked it, and instead of moving to myspace or one of the many alternative social networks stuck with facebook and facebook just got bigger and bigger thanks to users loving it.
We are just fortunate enough to be able to fix this problem for ourselves using a browser extension. Others just complain.
Facebook only opened membership to non-college or high school students in Sept 2006 in fact - so if we had wanted to jump ship because of the 'stalker feed', there were still plenty of other options (e.g. MySpace) and the chance for a disruptor to launch if the other options weren't suitable. In practice, users chose to join Facebook and grow it to what we know it as now.
Within the scope of X likes Y, X said Z, Facebook has a very consistent and strong privacy model . However, they have long considered anything that isn't a hard privacy violation of their rules to be fair game. Technically (and this is FB's engineering mindset showing through) not surfacing information is security through obscurity.
It seems like they are backing away from that model, by deprecating features like Graph Search. I personally think that this is worse because it makes it much harder for people to understand what is visible to others. It muddies the rule of "if you don't want people to know something, don't put it on Facebook".
 There are some messier areas, like People You May Know, or when platform apps are allowed to access (and store) all they data that a person who uses that app could see.
Especially in the world of health, there is a clear distinction about what is private, public, and confidential/secret. This case very clearly public.
I can guarantee you that most higher level executive positions at fortune 2000 companies have had their private Facebook profiles reviewed during the hiring process.
This is not about tracking. This is actually more similar to your phone company selling your conversations and internet activity.
There is definitely not a common perception that Facebook activity is public.
If you were chatting with your friends at dinner in your home, there's no reason you'd assume that was public. Most people mistake Facebook for that when it's closer to chatting with your friends in a crowded subway car.
In the real world, we'd see the difference, understand the difference, and likely decide certain topics out of bounds.
Facebook's entire business is getting people to open up to advertise to them better so it's their best interest to make us think it's the dinner scenario.
Regardless of what the terms and conditions say, i think it's a fair to assume that the vast majority of people using Facebook have implicitly consented to have their Facebook usage tracked.
Facebook tracking you through the rest of the web is a different story...
You're giving the average user too much credit. As a software developer lurking on Hacker News, sure, you understand how pervasive tracking and data collection are. But have you spoken to your parents or older relatives? My mom had no idea that kind of stuff was even possible. Most of those people still think that the core invasion of privacy us tech nerds are always going on about is the public content (the likes/follows/posts). I'm not patronizing, they genuinely don't understand the scale of modern online tracking.
a non-trivial number of people think that facebook is continually listening to their every conversation through the mic on their phone, and keep the app installed anyways.
It always freaks them out when i run through all the ways this might have occurred, without voice recognition. Yes, they did a search, but on their work computer, yes they mentioned it in a pm, yes they put the dates into their calendar, yes they went to get a wrote from a travel agent. But these things are not connected are they?
Edit: They all understand the scale, they see the cause and effect, they just don't understand the how.
The problem here is FB 'might've do that directly, but is 100% happening they are getting metrics from other apps that directly listen to users or do what we would consider outright privacy violations. There is too much money and too little risk not to at this point.
It's not compelling to acknowledge that they understand and then turn around and say they need their hand held because they aren't responsible enough. This isn't a public safety issue.
> I go into a classroom and invite a hundred friends. This courtroom. I invite a hundred friends, I rent out the courtroom, and I have a party. And I disclose — And I disclose something private about myself to a hundred people, friends and colleagues. Those friends then rent out a 100,000-person arena, and they rebroadcast those to 100,000 people. I have no cause of action because by going to a hundred people and saying my private truths, I have negated any reasonable expectation of privacy, because the case law is clear.
Was there more context the article left out about the specific level of privacy the party expected?
(Granted, buried somewhere in your contract for renting the "venue" you've probably agreed to such a thing but that doesn't make this analogy a good one)
If I hypothetically sleep with hundred people and they all show pics of me naked to their friends, I will still not expect penis enlargement companies mailing me their new catalog.
Also I think the analogy the lawyers brought up is misleading. Instead of renting out an arena, it's more like just one of those friends accepted a 1000-page terms of service a couple decades ago for a random forum, and instead of "rebroadcasting" what's "disclosed" at one party, it's more like the forum is now publishing their per-minute GPS location for the past year.
And we can already see this happening, with younger people moving to more and more personal spaces (like say Fortnite chats) instead of using facebook.
The goal of facebook, or anybody else who aims to be a digital public space, must be to give users granular control and transparent expectations about who they broadcast to, because if that isn't the case communities will not exist and the only thing that's left is highly curated, generic blogspam.
And even more importantly, the system must be designed in a way to stay at human-scale and to reign in the virality that destroys privacy expectations.
So they need to STOP using the term "Friends" and start using the term "Friends and Corporations" instead.
Yeah, no. Shall Not Be Infringed. You don't get your cake, and to eat it too.
Facebook needs to get itself in order. In fact, the tech community as a whole needs to realize that just because they can tap into some data source, doesn't mean they should.
Yet all is public information and happened in a location with no expectation of privacy.
It’s not socially acceptable to go and rummage through someone else trolley and confirm what’s in there.
Facebook is like a stalker. Even if he only uses public information, like following you in the street and sitting down next to you in a cafe to listen in on your conversations, it’s still creepy, and it is not expected, even if you have the audacity to walk about and talk to people in cafes.
This is just demonstrating the government/LEO's own definition of Third Party Doctrine which says once you give information to someone else, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy. This is why law enforcement claims not to need a warrant to get your bank records, call history, or internet traffic.
Like it or not, disagree or not, it's clearly established until States or Congress roll it back. SCOTUS stepped in last year to block cell-location history but that's one piece of the problem.
The legal argument in the article is just a good old fashioned gaslighting of FB's users, at least the original group. Next they'll claim email isn't private....
FB would have to innovate internally or turn into MySpace without without Instagram, WhatsApp and others https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitio...
It does work and I am crap at being social anyway, so I don't mind taking the hit. Someone has to be 'that guy', as you put it. Might as well be me.
So, hear me good people. Get the hell off facebook, it is a terrible place full of demons, woe and all that is tawdry, misplaced and wrong, and since we are on HN, go build alternatives to facebook while you are at it.
I guess my ego is strong enough not to feel contempt towards people who know things that I don't, because I've never met anyone who didn't. If I already know, I'll tell you.
On another note, let's say you were this exceptional kind of human: Your advice would still be bad. Most people are not like you. Most people will react negatively, perhaps without you noticing. It wouldn't be very smart to go out into the world and assume that everyone works works the way you do, or that at least they should.
I'd say we have conclusive evidence that people can change their minds by hearing new idea or evidence from other people.
No, I'm saying "being that guy" doesn't work. You know "that guy". You've met him. He didn't convince you. Unless, you already agreed with him, that is. Then you probably didn't notice him as "that guy".
In fact, I wager telling people about facebook being crap works a lot more than telling people to stop complaining about facebook.
This will hit them in their wallet to a much greater extent than any individual quitting Facebook can.
Facebook’s creepy stalking of its users is well known, and it’s practically their only method of funding themselves. The calls to regulate Facebook just sound like entitled users attempting to use the hammer of government to reshape the site into what they want.
Can anyone here make a case as to why regulation is preferable compared to letting the free market force Facebook to change or die? I’m legitimately struggling to find any legitimate reason to do so.
My right to privacy is about all the info they secretly collect, keep and sell to make a profit. My right to privacy implies that they do not keep a shadow profile on me and my relatives who are not on Facebook. My right to privacy implies that they dont read through me phone messages at will. My right to privacy gives me the freedom to avoid being spoon fed by the highest bidders such as Trump, farage et al
FB knows this and they consciously divert the attention towards what we publicly share. Evil.
I'm not sure where you get this from, because I've never heard any legal doctrine to cover it.
> My right to privacy implies that they do not keep a shadow profile on me
Every user has a data model, which you can call whatever you like. This is not unique to FB.
> My right to privacy implies that they dont read through me phone messages at will
I'm not sure how you imagine spam scanners don't read your email. Perhaps you need to rethink your concept of "your right to privacy" or whatever.
> My right to privacy gives me the freedom to avoid being spoon fed by the highest bidders such as Trump, farage et al
Dumping some weird political spin where you don't want to hear things you don't like, is unsurprising. This is not a Right in the US. Some other places in the world (Canada, Germany, etc), are trending this way. It's an interesting development that "words can cause harm" is a central tenet of some political movements.
they have no idea facebook is eavesdropping intently. it is so drastically different.
You have to assume that any message you send out is read by any number of parties. Any e-mail you send to a Gmail account, for instance, will be processed by Google for (among other things) advertising purposes. If you don't like that, you need to employ additional measures, such as PGP.
We are all dumb fucks.
OK if that's how were going to play it then fb isn't responsible if a friend, of their own volition, shares it. However if fb says "you shared it now WE can share it" is a whole other game.
Regulate Facebook. They lied and said they weren't intentionally playing with people's dopamine to grow themselves. They're lying now (in a roundabout way). They're always going to lie. Why will they always lie? Because there's no accountability.
Regulate them. Force their hand. That's the only way we can stop creeping further into dystopia. They won't do it on their own and at this point no one should be comfortable with their practices.
If those are the rules then it seems copyright is out the window. Looking forward to Clash of the Titans 3: Facebook vs. Disney
"Again and again, Snyder blames the targets of surveillance capitalism for their own surveillance"
This is an awful way of looking at the world, because it denies that people have personal responsibility. Everybody knows what Facebook does. It is in plain sight. It's in their terms of services. It's all over the media.
A lot of people don't use Facebook because of what Facebook does. Using Facebook is a fool's bargain, just like smoking or gambling.
If people can't be blamed for their own conscious decisions, we might as well throw out the whole legal system. All contracts are void, because nobody has legal capacity.
This is all pretext for more legislation, for the nanny state to come in and save us all from our dumb and irresponsible selves, to create more positions for bureaucrats to extract even more rent out of the remaining members of society. Don't buy this.