Why it is too late to regulate Facebook

Facebook mat on 151 University

I’ve seen a lot of angst over the past week about Facebook’s moves to open up your data to other applications.

To really understand how huge these changes are I had to get away from Silicon Valley and come and hang out with the geeks in Kinneret, Israel where famous VC Yossi Vardi is throwing an exclusive camp for geeks and successful business innovators.

To be sure, there is some fear and even a bit of hatred here of Facebook. Let’s detail that fear and hate:

1. Facebook has broken an invisible privacy contract with its users. Most of the geeks here say they expected Facebook to be about sharing photos, videos, and thoughts with friends and family. But now their previously private data is showing up on Yelp, Pandora, and Spotify. That wasn’t expected by the users, so has generated quite a bit of discussion here.
2. Facebook is very quickly painting the web with little like buttons and other social widgets. One CEO I talked with, who asked me to keep his name and company name out of this article but who runs one of the top 50 websites according to Comscore and Compete.com, told me his company will add Facebook’s likes next week. He’s not the only one saying that. My prediction that 30 of the top 100 Websites would incorporate Facebook’s likes in the first few months might turn out to be very low, based on what I’m hearing in Israel. But that does worry geeks here who are seeing that Facebook is very quickly getting their fingers (and branding) into a very large chunk of the web.
3. I’m sharing a room with one of Yahoo’s search strategists here at Kinnernet and, while he wasn’t able to tell me what direction Yahoo is going in, it’s clear that Facebook has disrupted his thinking of where the world is going. If Yahoo is feeling the disruption imagine what it must be like over at Google! Facebook is studying metadata from all these likes and other behavior of ours and I believe is preparing new kinds of search and discovery services. Facebook doesn’t need to “kill” Google to have quite an effect, either. They just need to put a box around Google which would keep Google from growing. What happens when Google can’t grow the way it wants to? Flat stock prices and loss of ability to hire the best employees that comes with it. Google is the new Microsoft, the geeks here say.
4. The geeks here say that it is clear that Facebook is becoming a dramatically more important, and larger, company than they expected. So, now, new business plans are being changed to account for Facebook’s new power and stance in the world.

So, why is it too late to regulate Facebook?

Well, first of all, what can government do?

1. They can force Facebook to switch its defaults on its new Instant Personalization program, which is already being used by Yelp and Pandora (you can see which music I listen to, for instance, on Pandora, and that feature got turned on automatically. The government could force Facebook to turn that feature off by default and make me “opt in” for you to see my Pandora music.
2. They could fine Facebook for its behavior.
3. They could call Mark Zuckerberg in front of Congress and call him nasty names.

But what else could the government do? I don’t see too many options. Do you?

So, why is it too late to regulate Facebook?

1. The damage is done. Well, let’s assume they made them switch Instant Personalization to opt in. Who cares? The damage is done. My Pandora already has all your music shared with me. Most Facebook members won’t change their privacy settings from what they already are. So, old users will keep sharing their music and only new members will be asked to opt in to these new privacy-sharing features.
2. The regulation will come too slowly. Government never moves fast. Even when it’s motivated. So Zuckerberg has at least a few months to aggregate his power before Government slaps him on the hand. Government is not going to be able to prevent that top 50 website from putting Facebook’s new features into its service. Government will not keep me from using Pandora.
3. The regulation will come after we get used to new privacy landscape. Already I’m finding I’m getting used to the fact that you all can see my data and that I can see yours. So, if Government comes along and tries to regulate that it will get pushback from me. Why? Well, I actually like the new Pandora features. I’m finding a ton of cool music because Zuckerberg forced you to give up some of your privacy. So what that I can see that you like Kenny G? Users will get addicted to these new features and they won’t take kindly to some government jerk taking away these new features.
4. Giving Zuckerberg a fine will not change Facebook’s behavior. If anything it will just push him to monetize these features more aggressively in order to pay the fine. Just wait until Cocacola icons show up next to all those Facebook like buttons. Government taxation, which really is what fines are, might have a negative effect long term.

So, what can be done about Facebook? I don’t see what we can do about Facebook. Not enough people have changed their behaviors due to these changes. I’m watching and these features are VERY popular. Even here in Israel, far from the hype bubble of Silicon Valley, all the geeks I talked with are impressed with the new features and many are already implementing them. No one sees Facebook as less powerful or less interesting today than two weeks ago. Even with a few of my geeky friends saying they deleted their accounts from Facebook my feed there is actually moving faster lately and my items are getting more engagement, which shows that not many geeks changed their behavior away from Facebook.

Zuckerberg just played chicken with our privacy and it sure looks like he won based on what I’m hearing here in Israel.

What do you think?


  1. Years ago, I believe you were against Facebook because it was a walled garden. Then you changed your mind, I guess. Now it’s a walled garden with ‘leaks’.

    I’m still against. Facebook is just one new login too many.

    My worry is that as a society we lower our expectations on privacy, we will be less able to defend ourselves against unwanted (government or other) invasions of our privacy, because the “reasonable limits” will have changed.

  2. Hallelujah! On one hand it makes perfect business sense, because the more data Facebook has that can be openly searched and accessed by everyone, the more money it can make. On the other hand, it’s the regular users that get fucked.

    And I remember a telling quote about Facebook : “facebook is to the social what exxonmobil is to nature. an exploiter” . They are businessmen, right? Who can blame’em?

  3. So long as deleting a Facebook account can be confirmed to truly erase all data associated with that account, there’s no need whatsoever for the government to step in here. Every single user of the service has the power to avoid privacy concerns by no longer using the service.

    We aren’t talking about a vital utility like water or power, or even a less vital one like internet access. It’s a website where participation is purely optional.

    1. I’m not sure about that. R u certain that your data is truly deleted? Think about the fact that your data is spread across many tables across many servers and is also referenced in endless way with other data. Plus, it exists on backups/archives etc. I personally highly doubt it

  4. Robert, the most insidious thing about what Facebook has done is this: there is no more “private” privacy.

    Now, there is only public privacy.

    We're on the horns of a dilemma.

  5. with the (early) success of Open Graph (50,000 installs in it's first week) I think the keys to the internet should be handed over to Mark Zuckerberg.

  6. Well, I disagree a bit on the like button, but more than anything, I blame the people that let Facebook take control. I hate Facebook because it's useless…too much bs and not enough worthwhile interaction.

    I'd rather talk on Twitter any day.

    That being said, they are going to make money selling this info, and not having to opt-in is a huge problem. Gov might not be able to do anything, but if you and I show up at Z's house with a can of whoop ass, he might cease and desist :)

  7. I'm not concerned in the slightest about Facebook's apparent “privacy invasion.” The way I see it, nobody is forcing anybody to use Facebook. If you don't like their new features, don't use their site. Or just turn it off. It's not a feature you are forced to use. Also, many people are trying to make Facebook out as an evil company who wants to sell all your information to the highest bidder. I don't think that's their plan or their intentions. They see that millions of people use their website and post their “likes.” They innovated and came up with a new way that this information can be used and it's already working. They want to make sure you get the best, most relevant content, the fastest.

    And when it really comes down to it, how “private” are your interests, favorite music, movies, books, etc? And in what ways can it be harmful to have this information publicly accessible?

    1. “Also, many people are trying to make Facebook out as an evil company who wants to sell all your information to the highest bidder. I don’t think that’s their plan or their intentions. They see that millions of people use their website and post their “likes.” They innovated and came up with a new way that this information can be used and it’s already working. They want to make sure you get the best, most relevant content, the fastest.”

      While I agree that “evil” is hyperbole, what exactly is Facebook’s bsiness model _except_ to sell all your information to the highest bidder? Their intention is to make money. They aren’t doing this just for the fun of it, they are doing it so they can collect all that information from you, slice it and dice it, and sell it.

  8. “It's not a feature you are forced to use”

    The new feature is on by default and has an intricate opt-out process. I personally find this feature to be a glorified delicious with iframe.

  9. As far as I can see on my Facebook account, the instant personalisation is turned OFF by default. An early response from the FB team or just different treatment to some accounts?

  10. Forced to use in the sense that there's no way users can turn it off.
    As far as the opt-out process:
    Account –> Privacy Settings –> Applications and Websites –> Instant Personalization –> Untick the checkbox –> Click Confirm.
    It seems like a pretty easy and straight-forward process to me.

    1. What you are forgetting is that check box only prevents YOU from sharing your data. It DOES NOT prevent your friends from sharing your data. For that, you must constantly monitor FB’s list of partners in this program and block each of their applications as it becomes available. I would definitely call that an intricate and difficult opt-out process.

    2. Brandon. You obviously have no idea whaqt you are talking about. You have to block every single application. Facebook is violating privacy and I hope Mark Zuckerberg gets his ass sued. I can’t believe this idiot issued an apology 2 years ago for Beacon and now is trying to get away with it again. And he might get away with it, because there are too many people in Facebook who barely know how to use a computer, least how to set up privacy

  11. The privacy debate is a storm in a teacup. Right now it matters because users are just coming to terms with the changes but if Facebook don't want to incorporate privacy into the app then the end user will self moderate, which means they will either just fill Facebook with more trivia than they already do or just stop using it.

    Privacy=intimacy and people like intimacy (in varying degrees) with their friends, it's a fundamental part of the friendship relationship. So in the end another network will come along offering users the functionality and control of their data that allows them to be intimate and have the relationships that they want.

    Most people have friended too many people anyway so using the next best social network will be a good way to start over.

    Facebook has been a big learning curve for many people, it's been a big step along the way. It may well remain an integral part of the internet but not in it's current format.

  12. Richard, I think you're right. If Facebook really oversteps it's bounds, something will fill the gap.

    Still, the ground they're breaking is uncomfortable.

  13. Dave, personally I think they have already overstepped the mark but I'm guessing Zuckerberg will continue to try and get away with as much as possible because it suits their revenue model. Just depends when the backlash really kicks in.

    There are plenty of college kids who are changing their names on Facebook to prevent potential employers looking them up. That's a fail for Facebook as far as I'm concerned when one of their key demographics starts self moderating..

  14. Isn't the real story here that (as you put it) Facebook is becoming a dramatically more important, and larger, company than they expected? With 400 million users globally, Facebook can now do things off platform that will impact on the shape of the web for practically everyone. You can be sure that Facebook haven't done anything here that has broken the regulation.

    While our trust in them might be shaken because they have taken us on a journey that we were not expecting, they have enough credibility to carry them through these changes and more that will come.

    Our privacy boundaries are shifting daily and it is going to be goliaths such as Facebook that continue to open up new territories. Big is not always good, and just because we can do it doesn't mean that we should…

  15. If effective regulation happens on this, it will come (slowly) from the EU.

    Facebook is making the same mistake that Microsoft did in underestimating the stubbornness of the European Union on this.
    Remember that the German Chancellor grew up under the stasi, she isn't going to take intrusions into privacy lightly.
    Microsoft thought that they could 'change the facts on the ground' over IE, instead they landed themselves with a huge fine, a never ending stream of appalling publicity and a massive deflection of all the management team's time.
    Was it worth it for IE's dominance of the web ? Dunno – but there is a lesson there for F8.

  16. Massachusetts passed a law, if I can remember correctly, that states that any tech company with personal info of residents can be fined if such info is not encryped properly. If they have over 1,000 residents on their service they can be fined up to 5 mil. Laws like that may have some impact.

  17. You know, at this point all I want is Facebook to succeed. G. has become too abusive. From their preference of showing their own G. products as top listings, reputable site deindexing to unfair **sense banning it’s all a big abuse. If Facebook succeeds it will make G. behave better. You are right, G. is the new Microsoft and people are starting to hate it.

    The worst enemy G. has right now are people they have ticked off in the past. Barely anybody will come to their rescue now. You’ll see the thousands of people with sites deindexed or banned unfairly by **sense come out of the woodwork promoting Facebook anywhere they can. And those people have some special power. They visit the most powerful marketing forums on the net. The forums who dictate which site will be famous next.

  18. This is a ridiculous post by someone that has lost all perspective on the value of privacy. There is also a big conflict of interest undermining your credibility here. You are an evangelist and better privacy controls would curtail your ability to extend your influence and hurt your pocketbook.

    What if the industry gave up on regulating Microsoft? I bet there would not be an Apple or Facebook today. Apple could not compete with them and Facebook would be a crappy feature of Windows.

  19. Hi Robert,

    I have to agree with you the information is too far out there now to lock it down with regulations. On a related note, we are tracking all of the Facebook new functionality at BuiltWith Trends. You can see the Facebook Like buttons already taking hold – http://trends.builtwith.com/widgets/Facebook-Like

    Other new Facebook functionality can be found via http://trends.builtwith.com/search.aspx?SRCH=fa

    Will be interesting to see how this data pans out.


  20. “Account –> Privacy Settings –> Applications and Websites –> Instant Personalization –> Untick the checkbox –> Click Confirm.
    It seems like a pretty easy and straight-forward process to me.”

    5 levels deep into a heirarchy of settings is NOT in any way straight forward, even assuming that people KNOW exactly where to go to find this. Changing defaults is the disconcerting thing, and then assuming that it's OK because it's “Easy” to RECONFIGURE is just plain irresponsible.

    This is a fascinating debate, nevertheless. I see the utility and the usefulness of connecting all these personal bits of data. I share a lot of Scoble's excitement about it. But something bothers me about how it was done. Clay Shirky retweets an interesting article about the eroding privacy of Facebook http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-t…. And of course, Dave Winer has a lot to say about it.

  21. “Account –> Privacy Settings –> Applications and Websites –> Instant Personalization –> Untick the checkbox –> Click Confirm.
    It seems like a pretty easy and straight-forward process to me.”

    5 levels deep into a heirarchy of settings is NOT in any way straight forward, even assuming that people KNOW exactly where to go to find this. Changing defaults is the disconcerting thing, and then assuming that it's OK because it's “Easy” to RECONFIGURE is just plain irresponsible.

    This is a fascinating debate, nevertheless. I see the utility and the usefulness of connecting all these personal bits of data. I share a lot of Scoble's excitement about it. But something bothers me about how it was done. Clay Shirky retweets an interesting article about the eroding privacy of Facebook http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-t…. And of course, Dave Winer has a lot to say about it.

  22. I do think that Facebook risks making it perfectly clear to the majority of users that they really don't have privacy on their service and that they need to be careful with what they share, say, fan etc. This could have the effect of decreasing traffic and that would decrease revenue.


  23. Thanks Robert,

    I think Facebook recent moves are a reflection of a shift that took place sometime ago. Once the web enabled us to take our lives public, it was only a matter of time before the entire web would be socialized. The fact that Facebook is leading the charge is simply a function of their numbers and savvy as effective business builders. In my mind the separation between public and private is false. There are now only degrees of public if you choose to engage on the web. I for one, am choosing to stay open to the positive potential of a social web which we can't even imagine right now. I will manage my privacy as best I can but this shift occurred a long time ago. It's only now that we see where it's heading.

    Thanks as ever,


  24. Brandon, re: “nobody is forcing anybody to use Facebook”

    that is actually not entirely true. Yes, in a strong sense, no one is putting a gun to anyone's head. But in an extended sense, given that humans are social animals, there are clear group pressures such as conformity, social proof, and wanting to belong that are exerting unconscious influence on most people, like it or not.

    How do you think that Facebook got to 500M users so quickly in the first place? People didn't want to be left out. And they followed the example of their friends and family in droves. It didn't hurt FB that it started out as a service for Ivy League students only, itself an *exclusive* club that most people would love to belong to. Then came all college students, yet another “club” that people would rather belong to than not…asf.

    And now that Facebook has over several years sucked up everyone's social graph, photos, and semi-private musings where they are hard/next to impossible to get back out of, the pull of all of that time & energy spent on it is acting as yet another force to keep people in.

    The psychological effect that is in play here among other things is called “Consistency”: We don't like to change our minds about our decisions once we've made them. The “I was wrong/stupid” internal psychic penalty weighs heavy enough for most that they'll adjust their internal view of reality to a significant degree to still justify the decision.

    I'm sure I'll think of more…

  25. But what if Facebook's bad behavior is just the thin edge of a really big wedge? Sure you can be comfortable with quantity/quality the data you are sharing now… but maybe it's time to put the dampers on before Facebook finds a way to publish all your cellphone calls, scan your emails, etc. All I'm saying is without some sort of push-back companies eventually cudgel us with avarice!

  26. I agree, Dave. this does very much feel like a true fork on the road. While I have said for years that anything you put on the Internet you might as well regard as public, there still is something peculiar about a service that starts out with the explicit promise of privacy, changes its mind, and hardly anyone (of the actual users, not the tech news crowd) makes a peep.

    It's as if Zuck were standing there yelling “Do somethin… go on then, do somethin…” (of course he is the guy – now what, 24? 25? – who not long ago walked around in T-shirts with “I'm CEO, Bitch!” imprinted on them).

    The argument recently has gone in the direction of “who cares what you know about me” and a form of lost-privacy reciprocity, one might say a sense mutually assured destruction (see Arrington et al.).

    But do we really know if this is true? There are still people in all walks of life and stations in society where certain information about them can have real consequences.

    And while this is less so than say 15 years ago, does that mean that all expectation of privacy should be thrown out of the window? It appears the Gen-Y/Millennials have the least issue with any of this, they've been used to living very publicly, most of them don't know anything different.

    Us Gen-Xers are somewhat of both worlds, but there will still, for at least another 15-25 years, be people in places of influence in the enterprise, academia, gov't, etc. that have entirely different view of the world, and who might still hold any number of things against you. The conservative wing of the Republican party also comes to mind (regardless of age group).

    So have we truly reached the point of “once your reputation is first ruined, you can live entirely shamelessly…” yet?

  27. you may choose not to use the new instant personalization features… as i did… but facebooks privacy policy puts all of your data out on the web anyways… by way of your least privacy conscious friends… or your technologically clueless neices and nephews… or the “don't have time to make breakfast, much less bother with privacy settings” mothers in your life…

    i deleted all my content, commentary, likes and fa pages… right before i deleted my profile…

  28. as if farmville and yoville weren't enough reason to dump them all as friends… not a single mother in my list of friends, knew where their privacy settings were… nor had any inclination to even bother to look for them… facebook freedom is glorious…

  29. it took me a week to scrape out all of my postings, comments, likes, group memberships & stuff… as i didn't trust facebook to honor their pledge to delete my content if i merely deactivated my account…

  30. Remember Netscape. The nice thing about the internet is that no player large or small has a position that is at all assured. I don’t even think that Google is untouchable. Who would have said five years ago that Apple would become bigger than Microsoft in that same time frame? I think facebook is just getting a bit ahead of itself. It hasn’t quite achieved anything earth shattering yet. Think about it this way. If email stopped tomorrow we would have a problem. If facebook stopped tomorrow I think we would adjust within Two days. Well perhaps 1 week for the girls.

  31. It's not what Facebook is doing (adaptive web/public network).
    It's the way they're doing it. Just not classy with the subtle interface to drive users where they need them.

    Government can regulate social web activities, we really don't want that. But Facebook may provoke more overseeing if it's not careful.

  32. So my question is: what is so bad about what they do. They are creating a multitude of business opportunities which is what they should do as they are a business themselves. To me a lot of the criticism sounds like what people used to say about bad TV shows, or stupid TV commercials. The answer is: don't watch it. In this case: don't participate. Kill your FB profile. Opt out. It is possible…

    PS Interesting that I signed in to comment by using FB Connect :-)

  33. I think one of the major reasons why Facebook can play chicken with our privacy and still win is that there are no real competitors. When one company monopolizes an industry (and let's face it, who really directly competes head to head with Facebook), then the consumer loses his ability to make choices.

    That having been said, I am very excited about the idea the Social Graph and the potential individual benefits of having an internet experience totally personalized, for me, outweighs the cost in privacy.

    However, for me, one of the questions is, will anyone compete with Facebook? And if not, what are the possible consequences down the road when the US economy and all our models for business, growth, and consumer interest are based on competition?

  34. An naive reaction to this major threat to online privacy. Privacy officials and policymakers, especially from the EU, will strongly press to expose and counter what Facebook is doing. Mr. Zuckerberg has helped bring shame to his brand–and savvy advertisers are likely on notice that their involvement in new data mining activities will increasingly be scrutinized. What Facebook says about protecting consumer privacy through its new approach is the height of hubris. Stay tuned.

  35. Wow – short, sweet and to the point!

    “Facebook has been a big learning curve for many people, it's been a big step along the way.”

    Facebook the open lab experiment.
    Lesson #1
    NETWORK EFFECTS are a very small subset of ORGANIC EFFECTS.

    LESSON #2
    A little NETWORK EFFECT knowledge can be very dangerous, leaving you swamped out by the more complex unintended ORGANIC EFFECT consequences.

    Lesson #3
    Learn to WALK with the recurring generic theme lexicon of ORGANIC-PROCESS-LITERACY before you start running with the NETWORK EFFECT as if it were anything more than a simplistic instance of a much larger ORGANIC EFFECT superclass.

    Lesson #4
    Zoom out and stop reinventing the wheel. Start making a conscious effort to integrate bottom up experimental social-network schema with our top down understanding of ORGANIC-LIVING-SYSTEMS schema. Nature has provided us with an exhaustive cheat sheet. ORGANIC-LIVING-SYSTEM schema should be one of the central social-objects around which social-network developers gather to drink in nature's time tested homeostatic wisdom. Not invented by us won't cut it at this stage of the OMEGA-POINT journey. Like all other forms of hubris it leads to disaster. Cellular social organization and synchronization signaling has broad shoulder well worth standing on, after all, everyone of us is captaining a own ship of consciousness riding atop those shoulders.

    Lesson #5
    Note to young tech geniuses like Mark Zuckerberg. Only a very concerted cross disciplinary collaboration can forge this, safe for public travel, magic gateway into that great social singularity in the sky without catastrophic runaway feedback implosion. Fools rush in where angles fear to tread and all that!

    Caution, Apple is skulking in the background just waiting for the opportunity to clean up your, fools rush in missteps and repackage them as a silk road ride for the rest of us.

  36. I passed this article over to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner (Canada) on Twitter, and they said “interesting read”. Canada & the EU both have given FB a hard time already.

  37. Facebook is taking a gamble and hoping most people don't care enough.

    If you *do* care enough, stop using Facebook. Quit complaining. There's no place here for government intervention. They can barely get the important stuff right much less worry about the some people reading comments or reviews or seeing photos that you put ONLINE.

    Be a big boy and walk with your feet instead of whining, “I'm gonna tell the Government on you, Facebook!” If enough people do that, Facebook will respond or competitors will sprout up.

    (oh, this is shared via facebook.)

  38. They will at least be able to claim larger subscriber numbers as people double down on a secondary anonymous accounts.

    I have always prided myself on just being the real raycote, (never mind all those other slimcotes out there) riding the open range just being me. But I am certainly going to setup an anonymous Facebook account just to experiment with these new features. So I will be having fun with silly names and silly social-graph end trails.

  39. You are right, there is a whole new scale for public/private but it is still a differential scale, now the scale just has some very tricky exponential end point.

    We just need experience and tools to more delicately manage that new trickier public/private continuum.

  40. No. Regulate. For Facebook now, and for the future facebooks. This is something that's a classic case for regulation: it is not in the financial interest of Facebook to have this opt-in, but it definitely is in the interest of the consumer. So only the federal government is left to regulate. I suppose a *laughs* industry voluntary group will do it, right?

    Your hesitation just proves what a paralyzing brain disease anti-government libertarianism actually is.

  41. i tried that… opened a faux account… somehow it latched right onto my same cirlce of friends… and tried to friend my main account… completely separate details and all e'mails… but i guess i had to open it on a separate computer… even had a different profile in firefox for the faux account … glommed right on to the primary account…

  42. The privacy concern is still there or at least it is among those I talk to who are not in the industry. People are also upset by the way Facebook went about making these changes. Many didn’t feel like Facebook told them in advance what was coming down the pipelines and felt caught off guard by the changes. It is interesting though that some are not afraid of sharing all of their information until something terrible happens that makes them rethink what’s out there. Here’s a great piece that goes into detail about why we should be concerned – http://bit.ly/9NHEKB

  43. is everyone just getting too overly sensitive about facebook privacy? imo you shouldn't be posting stuff on facebook that you don't want the world to see!

  44. It is not only too late to regulate Facebook, it is too late to regulate Google. As you may know, a week or so I decided to deactivate my Facebook account. The plan was to delete it this weekend. However, a few days ago, Nokia announced they were bringing out another Symbian phone. I had been holding out on purchasing a smart phone until Meego phones were available, but that now looks like a false hope in the USA for the forseeable future.

    So I took advantage of Verizon's extra discount for a contract renewal and went for a Droid Incredible. I got it yesterday, fired it up, and discovered that it is integrated fairly tightly with Facebook and Google. In fact, it uses Facebook for offline contact management! Without a Facebook account and a Google ID, it's a nice phone, but inconvenient in the extreme sense. You have to manually enter contacts one by one, and I couldn't even find a way to enter their *names*!

    So it doesn't make sense to get a Verizon Droid Incredible if you're not on Facebook. I don't know about other Android phones, other carriers or other devices, but if you've got a problem with Facebook, you're probably not going to want a Verizon Droid Incredible. So I am stuck with Facebook.

  45. Thanks Raycote. you're so right. It's such early days. We just need experience. imagine the next geenration. Wow, let's hope there's some privacy left. All the best, Simon

  46. Completely agree that it is not straight forward. I spent an hour clearing out stuff, unticking boxes etc.when I first read about the privacy implications. I never noticed the Instant Personalisation button and had assumed that everything else I did was enough.
    It is not really what Facebook is doing as there may be major benefits for people and it is a great business move for them. It is rather the way that they have done it which is part of a pattern of ignoring privacy issues. They could achieve exactly the same goals with better press if they just thought more about what they were doing.

  47. This is reality guys whether you agree with it or not. Most Facebook users couldn’t care less about privacy and all these concerns you have about FB here. Most don’t even know there is a place in the world wide web discussing these issues. Those issues could be staring at them in their faces and they would never process it as being a problem. They are there to have fun and contacts. Proof of not being a concern is common sense and the vast amount users and traffic FB still has which keeps increasing. Mistake we make is believe everybody thinks like us. We are internet freaks on top of news, etc. all day, but we have to realize that other people have a life outside the net too you know. :)

    This “FB users have concerns about privacy” has been overblown a bit by news sites. I asked my wife about this privacy deal and she looked at me clueless and changed the topic on me about a primary school friend she was able to locate through Facebook.

  48. It's not a matter of whining, the role of Governments is to enforce laws, those that don't are mostly corrupt.

    If you look at the EFF timeline http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2010/04/facebook-t… , it's clear that they are changing the rules over time _without_ me opting in.
    The law in europe is that change of use of personal data can only be done by opt-in permission.
    So if FB breaks European Law, they have picked a fight with a group of Governments.

    More fool them.

  49. Oops… time and again facebook seems to bring itself into controversy all due to its own deeds. Hope they will rectify their error and soon.

  50. Mark, I agree … I also believe that individuals need to take more responsibility for their own privacy; stop using so many applications, and be careful with what you “Like.” Before I even click that stupid “Like” button, I usually click the hyperlink on whatever it is and check it out – be it a fan page or an advertisement. If I question whatever it is, I leave it alone.

    It's not what Facebook is doing (adaptive web/public network).
    It's the way they're doing it. Just not classy with the subtle interface to drive users where they need them.

    Government can regulate social web activities, we really don't want that. But Facebook may provoke more overseeing if it's not careful.

  51. Hi,
    I just think Facebook as a service. I don't think that deleting your account will still show up on any partner site like Pandora what you were listening to your friends homepage. I personally deleted my account. And if I'd still had an account, I'd probably not use it anymore, and just delete it. Just mass message every friend to use another service (probably with less fun, but with more privacy) and move you and all of your friends there and start over new community.

  52. Robert, I like your posts but really you should tell us, do you get paid by Facebook? I think everyone should be taking cover from Facebook (or is it 2facedbook). This calling “chicken” of our privacy should not rewarded. It isn't just calling chicken, it is implicit and explicit promise which formed the foundation of the network in the first place. The best response is to switch to another platform and take your friends with you.

  53. Lets not forget the privacy concerns of the Winkelvoss twins, Zuckerberg allegedly ignored at Harvard when he launched the idea. So where did the motto in “Zuckerberg we trust” originate in the first place?

  54. I totally agree with this. If facebook was to be regulated, it would take a lot of energy, time and effort. Plus, there would be stoppage in operations. that would be bad for the users.

  55. I agree that FB should use an opt-in system whenever it adds new features that affect user privacy. The downside for FB is that it would have to wait for everyone to adopt the new feature(s). However, I bet they would make the opt-in/out process much more streamlined if they were forced to use opt-in.

  56. Anyone who relied on Zuckerberg's good faith not to flout privacy for personal gain, should perhaps remind themselves of the tale of the Winkelvoss twins at the founding of the business. It is not just that privacy has been flouted that grates, it is the way it has been done with a virtual middle finger shown to the entire FB customer base. Ask Seth Godin, this cannot, should not be rewarded, Anyone, everyone should consider switching.

  57. Well I think that facebook has annoyed all its users by taking this step. All the rules & regulations should be made clear to the users & before taking such a big step there should be a poll that should be open to all the users. I am still not able to discover that why facebook has taken such a bull shit step.
    Joomla Website Development

  58. If it wasn't for a friend's blog over in L.A., I wouldn't have switched the privacy settings for my applications. This really is criminal! Doesn't surprise me as I did hear the whole facebook idea was stolen anyway. But, it's the doers, not the thinkers that get anywhere…

    Sean in 60

  59. Thats the point which i want to make also…….such no option and if u added someone or old added person in your FB, its issue………I have also no bulk delete button like twitter if i have 1000's friends