Facebook facial recognition. How it looks, fact and myth, and how we would fix the problems.


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Facebook facial recognition. How it looks, fact and myth, and how we would fix the problems.

If you haven’t already heard, Facebook has globally launched its facial recognition software this week.  And it’s caused quite a stir.  Facebook users are complaining bitterly, and the European Union data protection regulators are now launching a probe into the privacy implications of this new feature which no one can opt-out of.
So what is it all about?   Well Facebook is now using software to recognise every face in each of the 60 billion+ photos on the site.  You’ve probably seen this software already if you use a camera where a box hovers over the faces of people you’re taking a photo of.   That’s facial recognition. The difference is that Facebook wants to pin your name to your face, on every face that exists of you on Facebook.
If your face has been tagged even once in a photo uploaded to Facebook, that software will now be used to find and identify every other photo of you on the site.  Even if you aren’t tagged in any other photos, that software now knows which photos you are in.  But being tagged many times instead of just once means that the software has less chance of getting it wrong, and so to accompany the software Facebook added a new privacy setting to your account and activated it ‘Enabled’.  If enabled, the feature allows Facebook to group photos of you together and ask your friends if they want to tag them all as you.  To disable that privacy setting, just click ‘Edit Settings‘ next to ‘Suggest Photos Of Me To Friends‘.

  • Disabling ‘Suggest Photos Of Me To Friends‘ will not switch off facial recognition.
  • Disabling ‘Suggest Photos Of Me To Friends‘ will not stop people tagging you.
  • Disabling ‘Suggest Photos Of Me To Friendswill stop Facebook actively grouping photos of you among your friends photos and asking them if they want to tag them all as you.

This screenshot is an example of the facial recognition software.  After uploading photos to Facebook, a screen will highlight all the faces and you will be prompted to tag them:

Facebook’s rules – ‘You will not tag users without their consent’.
If it’s Facebook’s automated prompt which leads someone to tag you when they might not have thought to do so before, is Facebook then responsible for breaching terms if they don’t remind them to ask your permission first?  The screen says ‘Your friends can always untag themselves‘ but it doesn’t say ‘If you don’t ask before entering their name, you’re breaching our terms of service’.
Why doesn’t Facebook protect users better from its own tagging product?  Why doesn’t it ever enforce its own rules?  Users can’t stop themselves being tagged, they can only untag  after the fact.  They can’t even prevent themselves from being tagged in scams.   Now Facebook is finding faces everywhere and prompting people to tag them, knowing full well that as soon as they do they will be breaking the rules.  Why?

As you can see in the screenshot, each face in this one photo has been highlighted, and Facebook then asks ‘Who is this?‘ You may only tag people in your friend’s list.  Just remember that anyone authorized to see that photo can tag whoever they know in it too.  And that will allow them to see your photo regardless of your privacy settings, and yes once again you can only untag them after the fact.
Facial recognition is already out there.  Your face is already in a database.  The photo on your passport/ ID card or drivers licence is stored in Government databases, and will be cross referenced along with millions of others when for instance police try to identify someone in a crime scene photo or cctv footage.  But I’m not a criminal.  I’m just on Facebook to catch up with friends, and share some stuff.   It’s a social network, not a federal database, (we hope).  Why can’t Facebook let me decide if I want to sit this particular game out, and prevent myself being tagged if I want to?
Some people might love this idea and be happy that their friends can just click their name against 100 photos of them, and that’s great.  Got nothing but love for them.    And Facebook’s innovations are tremendous.  It’s the execution of those innovations which is just getting a little too creepy.  I’d prefer to just go about my day without being tagged in stuff I didn’t approve of first, thanks.  Mark Zuckerberg claims that he understands users want control of their online activity.  How am I in control if I can’t stop anyone tagging me?  How am I in control if Facebook is actively pushing my friends to tag me in any photos they upload of me, without warning them to ask me first?  And will the majority of Facebook users now decide that this is one discomfort too far and demand that Facebook switch it off?

The fix is so very simple.  Allow users to approve tags.  If your friend uploads a photo of you and Facebook says ‘Who is this’, they enter your name and a tag request is placed.  Rather like a friend request.  You get shown a thumbnail of the photos your friends want to tag you in, and you press ‘Accept’ or ‘Deny’.  If someone tags themselves or people they know in your photos, Facebook notifies you and you can say ‘Yes’ or ‘No’.   Simple. No terms are breached. No one is tagged in anything they don’t want to be.  No one is tagged in your photos without your final say. 
Wouldn’t that make it all better?  If you think so, please kindly pass the suggestion on to Facebook.

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>Facebook, groups, and the straw that may break my back.


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Facebook, groups, and the straw that may break my back.
by Privacy and Security Guide on Thursday, 05 May 2011 at 14:03

Those of you who have been with me a while know that I rarely put personal opinion here.  I like to give advice and relay verified news on topics relating to your privacy and security on this website.  However today I’m getting personal. With pictures and quotes, and even a witty phrase or two.  But mostly rant.  You are forewarned, so don’t feel compelled to read on. 
Yesterday Facebook’s privacy page posted about a man who lost his memory and is using Facebook to rebuild them.  Facebook is now going to remove all the old-style groups, and only allow a handful of groups to upgrade and take their members with them when those groups are forcibly upgraded. The rest of the groups will have their members forcibly removed.  Discussion topics will be converted to wall posts, lost in a sea of other posts. I wonder how many of this man’s memories that Facebook is claiming to be responsible for are kept in this man’s chosen groups, which are about to be archived?
I personally dislike new format groups.  With old style groups it was my choice to join them.  With new format groups, people are forcibly added by their friends who probably think they are sending invits.  ‘Added’ people will be automatically added to the group without their consent or maybe even their knowledge of the group.   If you are added to a new group, it will show up on your wall and all your friends news feeds.  You can only leave when you find out you were added.  Rather like un-tagging.  And you all know how I feel about tagging, and the fact that Facebook won’t allow us to approve tags before they are placed….
Facebook invites us to create a group because, in Mark Zuckerberg’s words:
“It’s a simple way to stay up to date with small groups of your friends and to share things with only them in a private space.”
This is a lie.  I can say that because I asked one of the engineers to clear up my confusion, which I’ll share with you, and his reply:
And part of my reply:
“Thank you for taking the time to reply Feross.  So the answer to my question is no, there is no tool or function which allows the creator to stop anyone else adding others to the group they created, and instead you are hoping that users will be accountable.  The difficulty with this idealism is that no one at Facebook has told all of the 500 million users the rules. I was added to two Groups by people who simply thought that the Invite button had been renamed, and that I would still have to give my consent to join the group.  Outside of the well behaved or well-informed Facebook networks. no one had any idea that new rules were in place because the new product was also called ‘Groups’. They weren’t being jerks.”
At that point a well known journalist added this comment in reply to Feross:
“‘Should’ is a poor business model.”
Feross declined to comment further.   Possibly because I had won the point.  And I don’t blame him, he’s an engineer working hard for his employer. He didn’t create new groups and at least took the time to reply to me.  But since then nothing has changed, and so Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that new groups are a private place for you and your friends to share is a little more than misleading, when no one can prevent people adding their own friends which you might not know.
I want to use Facebook the way its tagline sells itself – ‘to connect and share with the people in your life’.  I’m perfectly happy to share information and click a ‘like’ button here and there in return for the use of the products on this site.  And in fairness, most of the products are very very cool.  I’m not trouncing what Facebook is about.  But it’s just getting to be too much hard work to justconnect and share with the poeple in my life.   Every new privacy setting is set to ‘enable’ or ‘everyone’ by default, which means that I have to go check them. 
My platform apps has been switched back on by Facebook 4 times.  So yes, while Facebook gives me the tools to control my data, how much of my information was shared to my friends apps when Facebook turned platform apps back on without my knowlege or consent?  The only way to stop anything from being published in the news feed is to set that entire information section to ‘Only Me’, which means that if I don’t want my new likes published to the news feed, I also have to hide allmy likes from my friends until enough time has passed and I can show them again.   I want to connect and share, not be forcibly added and broadcast my wares.  And frankly Facebook is supposed to be a pleasant distraction, not something you should have to work at or check over and over.
The groups I admin do not have the option to upgrade.  All members will be forcibly removed.  All their discussion topics will be turned into wall posts and lost in a sea of wall posts.    And if Facebook forcibly adds me to a group after prompting people to add me, that will be my final day on Facebook.    I joined Facebook to have fun sharing with the people in my life.  Now it’s seeing friends get scammed from threats in the news feeds or chat which Facebook won’t remove, constantly checking privacy settings to see if Facebook has activated new ones to ‘enabled’,  being tagged with no way to prevent it beforehand, and now seeing one more thing which was fun and had meaning removed by the company which needs our input to survive. 
Facebook, I used to love it here.  But it’s become too much work to stay safe from the third-party scam apps which you allow on your platform and don’t vet first.  Privacy settings are sneaked in and enabled by default.  Your social plugins track my movements on millions of websites.  You removed the news feed and wall privacy settings after Mark Zuckerberg gave his word that people would be able to control their data in a blog entitled ‘We really messed this one up’ (http://ja-jp.facebook.com/blog.php?post=2208562130)
Now you are removing people’s original groups.  They were areas where people with similar interests could discuss something that personally mattered to them, and Facebook respectfully that’s not always your own friends. One of my friends is devastated that a support group she created isn’t being given the option to upgrade.  Facebook, what are you going to do for all the people who have joined victim support groups?  Where will you be after you forcibly remove them from those groups?  
Facebook at some point the price for connecting and sharing will become too high for even the most hardened supporters.  Keep removing the fun and meaningful functions, and gradually there won’t be much left for people to ‘like’ at all.  Personally, I’m not sure I want to stay on the ride much longer.  Everything personal to my profile page has been removed.  My likes and interests are your choice of ‘page’.  Old deleted posts come back in the form of ‘Memories’.  If I wanted to rememeber them, I wouldn’t have deleted them.  My about me section has been forcibly removed.  My status or current state of being is relegated down the page while you place my personal information at the top like a cheap and tacky online dating cv (which all of my friends know anyway).  My ability to control what I share has been diminished.  My ability to protect myself from scam apps is lacking, scams which you won’t remove from the platform.  How ironic – old groups have to go but scam apps can stay…?   Scammers are now phototagging users which they can’t prevent, or urging people to post javascript codes which scam their friends, to which there is no protection.  And not only will you not warn all your users about them, you try to prevent others from warning them too.
Facebook, here’s my very personal opinion.  Stop fiddling with it, or it will drop off.  Fix the functions that are broken. If you can’t work on the email product while the site is running without risking thousands of emails being sent to the wrong people and then publishes on the net, give all your users notice and do it properly (http://facebookprivacyandsecurity.wordpress.com/anomaly/).  Remove the scam apps and vet all new apps to protect your users.  Stop closing down pages which exist to try and protect your users from the scams and threats that you won’t remove.  And give us all a little piece of Facebook we can call our own, which is a small ask considering that our data has put a price tag of $50 Billion on the site. Instead of taking away everything that made me want to join in the first place, give me a reason to stay. 
The end…. which may be nigh for my Facebook days.  

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>Facebook WILL NOT own the publishing rights of your photos on Friday – the Facts behind the rumour.


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Facebook WILL NOT own the publishing rights of your photos on ‘Friday’ – the Facts behind the rumour.

Many Facebook users are reposting a status update which claims that on ‘Friday’ (which probably passed about 12 Friday’s ago), Facebook would become the owner of the publishing rights of all their photos.  It’s false, but here’s some information for those who want to know more.
Firstly, an example of the fake update – (and DON’T REPOST it):
Friday, Facebook will become owner of the publishing rights of ALL your private photos. You need to make a simple change: go to ‘account’, ‘account settings’, ‘facebook ads’(along the top),then click on ‘edit third party settings’, choose ‘NO ONE’ then SAVE.
Facebook has responded by refuting the rumour on the Facebook Adverts page:
Quite frankly, Facebook is hopeless at explaining its statements.  Clicking the ‘Learn More’ link takes the user to Facebook’s long and complex Privacy Policy.  Who on earth has the time to read through it all to find the relevant information?  Will they even know what they are looking for, surely that was why they clicked it?
Dear Facebook, here’s a helpful hint.  When we click ‘Learn More’ against any topic, please show us that precise term of service, highlighted in lovely flourescent yellow.  Feel free to add a link to the whole privacy policy if you wish.   Most sincerely, average normal Facebook user with a life.
So where did this false update come from?  Well, we think that someone has completely mis-read information on Facebook’s Sponsored Stories.  Whoever you are, go and stand in the naughty corner and think about what you’ve done.
Unlike a Facebook Advert which contain custom messages from Advertisers, Sponsored Stories use information from Facebook activity and broadcast it to you friends.  In other words, Facebook has turned all its users into advertisers.   Like in this example here:
Status Update and the Sponsored Story created from it:
_________________________
Facebook will republish the Name and Profile Photo of Facebook users in Sponsored Stories as shown above, and this is where we think that someone has completely misunderstood them.  Facebook doesn’t become the publishing right owner of anyone’s photos just because they are republishing them on the Facebook platform, just as Zynga doesn’t when it re-publishes a users photo when they play a game.
But Facebook’s terms do state that :
You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition: For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”).
So while you remain the owner of your own photos eg, Facebook’s terms state that it can do whatever it likes with anything you upload while it remains on the site.  Including using users profile photos in a Sponsored Story.  Don’t upload anything to the Internet unless you understand that it can be copied and re-shared, which doesn’t mean you no longer own the original content, but its value might be diminished considerably.
The facts behind the Facebook Ads privacy setting:
Because Sponsored Stories aren’t classed as Ads, they aren’t covered by the Facebook Ad privacy setting.  So there is no opt-out.  However only people who could see the original activity will see the Sponsored Story created by it.  So if you post an Update which mentions a particular famous brand of carbonated soft drink, only the people who you authorized to see that update would see a Sponsored Story about it.
If you don’t want Facebook to use your name and photo in Facebook or third-party Adverts, then click Account > Account Settings > Facebook Ads > and set Third-Party advert settings and Social advert settings to ‘No One’, and click save.  If you do want your friends to be shown adverts based on your Facebook activity, then leave them at the default setting of ‘Only My Friends‘.  This won’t prevent your name and face from being republished in a sponsored story.  Your Facebook activity will continue to be used to advertise brands in them, but your own photos will remain your property.  And don’t repost status updates without finding out first if the statements within them are true.  Kudos to those who thought to ask first.  Step away from the naughty corner and give yourselves a pat on the back.

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>Facebook’s official ‘Privacy’ page begins pressing users to relax their privacy settings.


>

Facebook’s official ‘Privacy’ page begins pressing users to relax their privacy settings.

If I hadn’t double-checked the date I would have wondered if Facebook’s Privacy page was playing an April Fool with its recent wall post regarding a Facebook user called Tim Robinson.  The Facebook and Privacy page released a photo of what appears to be a status update by Tim relating to an incident he had in an elevator:
And this is where Facebook’s Privacy page admin seems to have taken a sip of loopy juice.  They took this example and decided to use it as advice for users to open up privacy settings.  The post said :
“Facebook user Tim Robinson posts a status update on his mobile phone while stuck in an elevator. The post helps save his life. What would have happened if Tim restricted everyone but his best friend from viewing his Wall? In that case, one would hope that the best friend is always online and available to see when Tim needs help.”
On looking at other recent posts from the Privacy page, we can detect a similar message.  It would appear that Facebook is attempting to lure users to loosen their privacy settings, using what can only be described as ridiculous examples.  The likelihood that any Facebook user restricts their wall to all but one person is absolutely ludicrous, so who is this post aimed at?   While no one can deny that Mr Robinson suffered a frightening incident, using it to persuade users into loosening their chosen privacy settings is dangerous and manipulative, as many have been quick to point out:
The Privacy page seems to share the message lately that users should take little notice of Facebook’s tagline‘connect and share with the people in your life, or simply reverse a decison once made which suits their privacy needs.  Now it appears Facebook would prefer you to ignore previous tips and fling the privacy doors open just incase the people who you allow to see you wall aren’t logged on when you frantically update your status to say:
“Help I’ve got my foot stuck down the toilet and I can’t seem to phone or text anyone for help. In fact Facebook is the ONLY thing that works on my phone.  Quick, my toes are going wrinkly!” (example)
Facebook recently came under heavy criticism for allowing Apps to request access to users phone numbers and addresses.  The Privacy page’s effort to try to rebuke any negative impact was evident in their post of  March 29 2011 in which :
“Facebook as Phonebook to allow applications you choose to access your phone number and address? Forbes’ Kashmir Hill asks “Um….’Why not?’”
Why not indeed….  Further reading of the Privacy page’s posts reveals a confusing and over-elaborate message including instructional posts which use fictional users ‘Dave and Melody’, ‘Al and Keon’, and ‘Ami and Bo’ to try to explain how to use certain settings.  Instead of simply and clearly instructing users where to find them, the admin creates a plot and storyline of why these characters would need to use them in the first instance, leaving some users frustrated and indignant with the page’s posts which appear to be aimed at pre-schoolers. One user left this comment:
“Quincy, please get off of the Dave & Melody saga! That is not the point! And,when FB uses these examples – Dave & Melody – they are do nothing except talking down – really down to us!”
We can only assume that Facebook has evaluated users privacy levels and is threatened by how many might be keeping more information private.  I certainly can’t think of any other explanation of this about-face from a page which used to post helpful privacy tips on how to post information to only certain friends such as this advice on July 21 2010:
“Have a link to share with work colleagues? Baby photos to share with your family? Facebook Lists make it easy to share content with specific groups of people in your life. Learn how…”
In a video filmed for Time Magazine, Facebook engineers once again made condescending remarks towards users by suggesting that those who haven’t used Facebook’s products as expected such as not uploading as many photos as Facebook perhaps estimates would be shown ‘educational’ instructions on how to do so.
Facebook needs to stop condescending/ manipulating its users just because most have the sense and foresight to use the privacy settings provided, or decide for themselves not to use certain features.  Perhaps these pages should take Facebook’s users privacy and security more seriously and post warnings about which scam links and malware to avoid.  Or perhaps inform all users of the new privacy setting (Customize Settings > Suggest photos of me to friends) defaulted to allow Facebook’s facial recognition software to suggest photos of you to be tagged by friends, instead of using unrealistic examples to persuade users to relax their privacy settings.
What do you think?  Is Facebook’s official Privacy page posting what you feel is appropriate to users privacy, or not?

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>Unofficial Guide to FB Privacy and Security Shared – Question and No Privacy


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Should Facebook make ALL users aware that their ‘Questions’ don’t have any privacy settings at all?

Facebook recently launched a new product called Questions.   It allows users to post questions about anything they want.  But has Facebook done enough to make all users aware that their questions can be seen by anyone, regardless of their personal privacy settings?  When you answer a Question, do you take into account that teachers, employers, college applicant staff  – in fact anyone might see it?  You may have hidden your profile information from the prying eyes of strangers, but your questions and answers could provide a very telling insight into your personal views and personal life.   Users posting a question would expect it to be published to their friends, but do they realize that once their friends answer it, their  friends friends will have it posted to their feeds too and so on?   Which seems to be the point of the product so as to allow as many people to answer the question as possible.  What we’re asking is, has Facebook done enough to make sure everyone knows the deal?
This is a profile with ‘Friends Only’ settings:
And this is how the profile looks after posing a question:
As you can see, there is no way to hide your Questions, regardless of your usual wall settings.
It is a simple product to use.  Users click on the ‘Question’ button on their status update box and post their question.  They can also add a ‘poll’ option to allow people to choose from possible answers to their question.  For example if my question was ‘What is your favourite ice cream?’, I could add flavour options for people to choose from.  And Facebook has also incorporated a link system within answers shown in the link above where  Facebook’s Scott Lippert posted the question, ‘What is the best International Relief organization for me to donate to?’.  A user can link them to a Facebook page representing their answer such as Red Cross.  More detail can be found in Facebook’s Blog post.
On the surface this really is a really cool product.  However looking more closely at Scott Lippert’s Questions section, and in particular his answer to the question  ‘Why don’t websites like Facebook and Twitter require HTTPS for all connections?’ , one can see that his and Facebook’s views aren’t always in sync.  If Scott were to seek employment elsewhere, would a potential employer checking his Facebook profile see his initial answer as argumentative/ opposing the strategy of his company, and in turn discard his application?  Or would they bother to look at the whole thread and see that this may have been the catalyst for Facebook’s eventual decision to in fact act upon Scott’s desire for Facebook to provide secure browsing?  Either way his comment; ‘I don’t speak for the company, just myself. It was actually me being sarcastic about the fact that things are still this way. In other words, I agree with you =).’ could be viewed as provocative to a potential employer.  We might all have Scott to thank for secure browsing on Facebook, but would he be given the chance to explain that at an interview should he decide to take his talents elsewhere?
And this is what users need to be fully aware of when posting and answering questions.  It doesn’t matter if your privacy settings are locked down to ‘chastity belt’ or if you have turned off platform apps.  Anything ‘Questions’ related will be viewed by anyone who can see that profile.
There is absolutely no doubt that some questions have to be posted to a wider audience.  It is the main purpose of this product.  Questions about holiday destinations or protocols when visiting certain countries might not be answerable by your friends alone.  Users might want to induce healthy debate or target a question to a specific company in hopes of enlightenment, however this post simply asks should Facebook have informed all users clearly that regardless of their settings, any question they post or any question they answer might be viewed by anybody?  And should they offer the option of a privacy setting so that some more private questions can be seen only be personal friends?
Facebook does provide a tiny question mark icon which users can click for more info when posing a question:
They are informed ‘Use Questions to get recommendations, conduct polls and learn from your friends and other people on Facebook’. Does including the term ‘other people on Facebook’ really put across to users that everyonewill see their question or answer?  Or will most users believe that questions will follow the rules of their privacy settings, and assume that the other people on Facebook only applies to those who have their wall set to show ‘Everyone’?
Also Facebook appears to have made a layout gaffe.  Unless the question poster clicks on the ‘Add poll options’link, they will not see the check-box which says ‘Allow anyone to add options’. This means that anybody who sees the question can alter it by adding their own poll options without the question-posters permission.   This check-box should be viewable even when only posting a question if keeping it checked by default means anyone can alter the original Question premise. 
Did you assume that any question you posted would only be seen by the people authorized to see your wall?
Would you prefer Facebook to give ‘Questions’ privacy settings so you can choose which you want to be seen by everyone for a broader response, and which you would prefer only your friends to see?
We posted the latter question to our Facebook page.  You can check the results of our poll for yourself.

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Unofficial Guide to FB Privacy and Security Shared – Question and No Privacy


Should Facebook make ALL users aware that their ‘Questions’ don’t have any privacy settings at all?

Facebook recently launched a new product called Questions.   It allows users to post questions about anything they want.  But has Facebook done enough to make all users aware that their questions can be seen by anyone, regardless of their personal privacy settings?  When you answer a Question, do you take into account that teachers, employers, college applicant staff  – in fact anyone might see it?  You may have hidden your profile information from the prying eyes of strangers, but your questions and answers could provide a very telling insight into your personal views and personal life.   Users posting a question would expect it to be published to their friends, but do they realize that once their friends answer it, their  friends friends will have it posted to their feeds too and so on?   Which seems to be the point of the product so as to allow as many people to answer the question as possible.  What we’re asking is, has Facebook done enough to make sure everyone knows the deal?
This is a profile with ‘Friends Only’ settings:
And this is how the profile looks after posing a question:
As you can see, there is no way to hide your Questions, regardless of your usual wall settings.
It is a simple product to use.  Users click on the ‘Question’ button on their status update box and post their question.  They can also add a ‘poll’ option to allow people to choose from possible answers to their question.  For example if my question was ‘What is your favourite ice cream?’, I could add flavour options for people to choose from.  And Facebook has also incorporated a link system within answers shown in the link above where  Facebook’s Scott Lippert posted the question, ‘What is the best International Relief organization for me to donate to?’.  A user can link them to a Facebook page representing their answer such as Red Cross.  More detail can be found in Facebook’s Blog post.
On the surface this really is a really cool product.  However looking more closely at Scott Lippert’s Questions section, and in particular his answer to the question  ‘Why don’t websites like Facebook and Twitter require HTTPS for all connections?’ , one can see that his and Facebook’s views aren’t always in sync.  If Scott were to seek employment elsewhere, would a potential employer checking his Facebook profile see his initial answer as argumentative/ opposing the strategy of his company, and in turn discard his application?  Or would they bother to look at the whole thread and see that this may have been the catalyst for Facebook’s eventual decision to in fact act upon Scott’s desire for Facebook to provide secure browsing?  Either way his comment; ‘I don’t speak for the company, just myself. It was actually me being sarcastic about the fact that things are still this way. In other words, I agree with you =).’ could be viewed as provocative to a potential employer.  We might all have Scott to thank for secure browsing on Facebook, but would he be given the chance to explain that at an interview should he decide to take his talents elsewhere?
And this is what users need to be fully aware of when posting and answering questions.  It doesn’t matter if your privacy settings are locked down to ‘chastity belt’ or if you have turned off platform apps.  Anything ‘Questions’ related will be viewed by anyone who can see that profile.
There is absolutely no doubt that some questions have to be posted to a wider audience.  It is the main purpose of this product.  Questions about holiday destinations or protocols when visiting certain countries might not be answerable by your friends alone.  Users might want to induce healthy debate or target a question to a specific company in hopes of enlightenment, however this post simply asks should Facebook have informed all users clearly that regardless of their settings, any question they post or any question they answer might be viewed by anybody?  And should they offer the option of a privacy setting so that some more private questions can be seen only be personal friends?
Facebook does provide a tiny question mark icon which users can click for more info when posing a question:
They are informed ‘Use Questions to get recommendations, conduct polls and learn from your friends and other people on Facebook’. Does including the term ‘other people on Facebook’ really put across to users that everyonewill see their question or answer?  Or will most users believe that questions will follow the rules of their privacy settings, and assume that the other people on Facebook only applies to those who have their wall set to show ‘Everyone’?
Also Facebook appears to have made a layout gaffe.  Unless the question poster clicks on the ‘Add poll options’link, they will not see the check-box which says ‘Allow anyone to add options’. This means that anybody who sees the question can alter it by adding their own poll options without the question-posters permission.   This check-box should be viewable even when only posting a question if keeping it checked by default means anyone can alter the original Question premise. 
Did you assume that any question you posted would only be seen by the people authorized to see your wall?
Would you prefer Facebook to give ‘Questions’ privacy settings so you can choose which you want to be seen by everyone for a broader response, and which you would prefer only your friends to see?
We posted the latter question to our Facebook page.  You can check the results of our poll for yourself.

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>Unofficial Guide to FB Privacy and Security – The Facebook Site Governance Page


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https://www.facebook.com/privacyguide

The Facebook Site Governance Page is cited in the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Privacy Policy as the area for posting notice of any amendments to terms. So I have to question the professionalism why Facebook’s most significantly legal page has only one ‘like’ – the ‘Public Figure’ page of the admin’s dog…? 

The Site Governance page is administrated by Facebook’s Privacy Counsel Edward Palmieri who has recently been re-translating Facebook’s Privacy Policy, was quoted to say “We struggled with really hitting home to users that we do not sell their data to advertisers,”

Mr Palmieri, we appreciate the information posted to this most important page. However if the Site Governance page had affiliated itself with most of Facebook’s official pages before you added your dog’s as the only one Facebook’s most vital page ‘likes’, perhaps we would believe Facebook’s sincerity when it comes to user data and the seriousness of privacy. Please use your own profile to plug your dog’s page. Or if you have time to stop by there, could you take a minute to answer some of the questions posted each day so those of us not salaried by Facebook don’t have to.

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Unofficial Guide to FB Privacy and Security – The Facebook Site Governance Page


https://www.facebook.com/privacyguide

The Facebook Site Governance Page is cited in the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Privacy Policy as the area for posting notice of any amendments to terms. So I have to question the professionalism why Facebook’s most significantly legal page has only one ‘like’ – the ‘Public Figure’ page of the admin’s dog…? 

The Site Governance page is administrated by Facebook’s Privacy Counsel Edward Palmieri who has recently been re-translating Facebook’s Privacy Policy, was quoted to say “We struggled with really hitting home to users that we do not sell their data to advertisers,”

Mr Palmieri, we appreciate the information posted to this most important page. However if the Site Governance page had affiliated itself with most of Facebook’s official pages before you added your dog’s as the only one Facebook’s most vital page ‘likes’, perhaps we would believe Facebook’s sincerity when it comes to user data and the seriousness of privacy. Please use your own profile to plug your dog’s page. Or if you have time to stop by there, could you take a minute to answer some of the questions posted each day so those of us not salaried by Facebook don’t have to.

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Advice from Unofficial Guide to FB Privacy and Security – Comment Tagging



Facebook has introduced tagging within comments. Users can tag their friends using the @ key, as they can in an update. While this is a very handy tool, Facebook has neglected to provide a function for the tagged user to untag themselves. (If you are tagged in a friends status update, you are able to untag yourself.)

Facebook’s tagging policy states users must not tag others without consent. We will investigate further to see if policy is breached by not providing users the ability to untag themselves from a link which leads directly back to a their profile, on a Facebook product that doesn’t allow users to approve it first.

If a user chooses to leave a comment on a friends wall, it is their decision to leave a link back to their profile which could be seen by anyone depending on that friend’s wall privacy settings. However the user can choose to delete that comment. This tag cannot be deleted unless the whole comment is deleted by the creator.

This photo shows how users are notified that they have been ‘mentioned’ in a comment. We will continue to request that Facebook provide users the ability to approve/ deny a tag before it is placed to stop the site wide abuse of the tagging policy terms.

Checked and Verified by The BULLDOG Estate

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Advice from Unofficial Guide to FB Privacy and Security – Telephone Numbers


The BULLDOG Estate Says REMOVE ALL YOU NUMBERS NOW AND PUT FACEBOOKS NUMBER IN ITS PLACE

Facebook will re-enable apps to request permission to access phone numbers and addresses. Facebook’s reply to Congressmen:

by Unofficial Guide to FB Privacy and Security on Monday, 28 February 2011 at 21:19

In January Facebook allowed Apps to request access to users phone numbers and address’s in their dialogue permissions, (temporarily disabled after negative feedback.) Congressman Barton and Congressman Markey wrote a letter to Facebook which asked various questions about this practise including plans to re-enable the feature. We posted this information on February 6 2011.

Facebook’s Marne Levine has issued a three page response to those questions which in short states that this feature will be re-enabled. 

Note that Apps can only access information uploaded to Facebook.  If a mobile number is not uploaded, the App cannot access it.  Also note that when developers were given permission to request access to this information, most permissions dialogue boxes had the request as part of the Basic Information required to use the App, meaning that if the user did not want to allow access to this information they would not be able to use the app at all. 

Facebook’s Developer Principles and Polices (https://developers.facebook.com/policy/) states “You will only request the data you need to operate your application.”

In Marne Levine’s response she uses two screenshots to describe app permissions dialogue boxes.  The examples is for the apps ‘My Great Website’ and ‘Farmville’.   Neither App offer anything new to the user which would require this information in order to use it.  In my opinion unless the app requires the users address in order to run such as a location finder, or their phone number in order to run such as a tool which would text information to that users, this information should never be requested.

Although Ms Levine explains in Answer 1 “we are assessing potential additions to the permissions screen that would appear when an application requests a users contact information”, this does not mean that apps won’t ask for access to this information in order to use the app on the initial request. 

I also noted at the time this additional information was permitted access by Facebook that the ‘Information accessible through my friends’ was not updated to include phone number and address.  I have discussed previously that apps are accessing the following information from users friends:

Significant Others and Relationship
Groups
About Me
Events.

These information sections are not listed in the Information accessible through my friends‘ privacy setting which means that users cannot deny access to them.  Users phone numbers and addresses were also not added to the list during the time this feature was enabled.  I have previously asked both Tim Sparapani and Andrew Noyes to determine the reason why these data sections are not covered in this privacy setting and whether Facebook will include them, however no reply was given even though I discussed several issues with Mr Sparapani in 2010 following Marc Rotenberg’s decision to include them in his testimony in US Congress.   

I can see no explanation from Ms Levine as to why the examples she uses would require access to the users phone number or address in order to run and this is a question I will pose to both Congressmen and have already posed to Marc Rotenberg, President of EPIC.  I will also how Facebook plans to determine which apps have are validated as needing this information in order to run, and how the procedures in place will ensure only those apps request this data.

Apps play a hugely important role for Facebook users.  They are fun to use and help users engage with friends old and new.  Any app on or off the Facebook platform will access data.  Facebook does more than most platforms and gives users the opportunity to see what data is accessed by apps and when, and forces apps to request permission to access data before the app is used.  Ultimately the choice to share data in order to use an app is in the hands of the user and if the level of data requested to access becomes more than people are uncomfortable with, then they should take control and decide whether they still want to use that app.  Users can also ask app developers to delete their data, another policy imposed by Facebook.

Here is the link to the Congressmen’s letter:
http://markey.house.gov/docs/2-2-2011ltr_to_fb-_addresses_and_mobile_numbers.pdf

This is Marne Levine’s response:
http://markey.house.gov/docs/facebook_response_markey_barton_letter_2.2011.pdf

Remember, Facebook is a website designed for sharing.  Never upload any information to a social network if you are not comfortable for that information to be shared.  Privacy settings are designed so that information you share is only shared to those you choose at the time it is uploaded.  However that information can be shared by those authorized to see it. 

To check what data you may be sharing to apps you use, or those of your friends, click
Account Settings> Privacy Settings > Apps and Websites.

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