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Who's to know whether or not Facebook is considering plans to monetize this sort of behaviour by offerring institutions you have listed on your profile the opportunity to see everything you have listed for a fee.

Considering that if this practice were revealed, it would cause a total collapse in Facebook's user base and thus its revenue engine... unlikely, to say the least.

Facebook is subject to EU data protection laws for all EU users. If they did this over here they would be - well, the technical term is "reamed." Especially if the proposed new penalties come in: the relevant quote is "[Data protection authorities] will be empowered to fine companies...up to 2% of the global annual turnover of a company."

Are you sure it would cause a collapse in its user base? I don't think it would, given that it's so ingrained in the lives of college students. At most there would probably be some outcry followed by a symbolic climbdown by Facebook, but a 'total collapse' is extremely unlikely.

Facebook would be putting short-term revenue over not just user happiness, but user career prospects. Selling user data in a way that can cause direct harm to users seems several unforgivable steps beyond any privacy violations we've seen from Facebook thus far. But maybe I'm naive/old-fashioned.

Most people don't care about privacy violations. That's especially true of the Facebook userbase, because if they did care they would not be Facebook users.

Seriously, most people will say things like "I don't have anything to hide so it doesn't bother me".

I don't know if it's apathy, so much as it's lack of awareness. People are simply ignorant of how the things they say and post on Facebook can come back to haunt them, and when, and with whom, and in which settings. It's a safe bet to assume that most Facebook users simply don't know how Facebook data works, or what its ramifications could be.

They won't know, or care, until they run into a specific case where it affects them -- at which point, chances are, it will have taken them entirely by surprise. (It takes only one off-handed reference to a drunken Facebook photo in a job interview, for instance, to put the fear of God into many users).

I'm not suggesting that people would abandon Facebook en masse if they were better informed about it. And hell, I'm not sure many people even would care all that much. But I bet you'd see a marked shift in user behavior in pretty much any users in college or older. (Basically, anyone thinking about employment).

This always comes up and I think everytime, if people knew they would care. Most people really do want to hide things, I promise. They probably even want to hide things from you, specifically; I promise. The problem is really just, as another user said, awareness.

I don't know. In the UK there are two recent issues that might be relevant.

i) National ID cards. These failed not because of (well publicised) privacy concerns, or because people didn't want to have to carry an ID card, but because the government said that cards would cost > £100 for most people.

ii) National Criminal DNA database. The UK has a huge DNA database, and it used to include profiles from people who had been arrested but never charged nor convicted. A court of human rights said that it's abuse to keep those indefinitely; government offered 12 years but that was reduced to (I think) 6 years. Many people said they didn't care if they were on the database, saying that they were innocent and that if it helps the police they'd volunteer. (Missing the problem of false positives and having to keep too much data).

For both of these things there were active campaign groups warning about the risks, but many people just didn't seem to care.

The only reason they don't care is because not caring hasn't gotten them burned yet.

Sometimes people have to learn things the hard way...

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