Wondering exactly why people are so pissed about Facebook’s latest display of contempt for user privacy? The Electronic Frontier Frontier Foundation’s Kurt Opsahl has a good, short article explaining just what’s going on with the new “Connections” anti-feature:
1. Facebook will not let you share any of this information without using Connections. You cannot opt-out of Connections. If you refuse to play ball, Facebook will remove all unlinked information from your profile.
2. Facebook will not respect your old privacy settings in this transition. For example, if you had previously sought to share your Interests with “Only Friends,” Facebook will now ignore this and share your Connections with “Everyone.”
3. Facebook has removed your ability to restrict its use of this information. The new privacy controls only affect your information’s “Visibility,” not whether it is “publicly available.”
Explaining what “publicly available” means, Facebook writes: “Such information may, for example, be accessed by everyone on the Internet (including people not logged into Facebook), be indexed by third party search engines, and be imported, exported, distributed, and redistributed by us and others without privacy limitations.”
4. Facebook will continue to store and use your Connections even after you delete them. Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there. Even after you “delete” profile information, Facebook will remember it. We’ve also received reports that Facebook continues to use deleted profile information to help people find you through Facebook’s search engine.
5. Facebook sometimes creates a Connection when you “Like” something. That “Like” button you see all over Facebook, and now all over the web? It too can sometimes add a Connection to your profile, without you even knowing it.
6. Facebook sometimes creates a Connection when you post to your wall. If you use the name of a Connection in a post on your wall, it may show up on the Connection Page, without you even knowing it. (For example, if you use the word “FBI” in a post).
I confess that I haven’t paid much attention to this. It came up while I was on holidays, and I hate Facebook and never use it (I have a profile, but haven’t logged in for years). But holy crap, that is the most reprehensible bit of corporate awfulness I’ve seen in months.
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