26 February 2010

OT: "Facebook weiss alles über uns" (Facebook knows everything about us)

This is the title of a very interesting article which appeared in two weeks ago in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the (at least in my opinion) German equivalent to the NY Times.

Without translating the whole article into English, here are some key points that may interest you, in case you are on Facebook or consider signing on:

  • Facebook may send invitations to join the site to people who you know, without your knowledge or participation
  • Facebook uses any of your own data you enter in your profile, including results of “what type of dog am I” or “my favourite quotes” etc.
  • Facebook will store any address book data you uploaded. That includes your gmail- or MSN address book, including all data attached to your friends’ addresses, such as birthdays etc.
  • If you sync your mobile- or PC-address book through Facebook, the site will keep any data, Facebook-member or not, and use those data for their own purposes
  • Facebook offers every non-member an option not to store their data. How you would know about this option if you are not already a member is unclear.
Facebook-founder Mark Zuckerberg stated in an interview this January that for him, the concept of privacy is outdated.

I'm a Facebook member, and this post is not about Facebook bashing. Just be aware: it's up to us users to determine how much privacy we keep to ourselves or let go off. Our – the users – behaviour influences not only our own data, but also the personal data of those people we interact with.

Have a good weekend.

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