So yesterday, we learned that OnStar tracks you even if you're not a customer and today, we learn that Facebook will track and monitor your web usage without your knowledge or permission… even if you're not logged in.
The social network is quietly retracting a cookie that continued to report your Facebook user ID even after you "logged out" of the site. But it's not sorry about five other cookies that persist after you sign off. What, you didn't think Facebook would ever let you actually for real seriously 100 percent sign out, did you?
Remember, you're not Facebook's customer, you're cattle. These kinds of issues will never stop so if you aren't using special software to counter Facebook's nastier sides, you're at a disadvantage.
I am constantly telling people to lock down their privacy settings because if you keep this stuff visible, this kind of story becomes possible. Apparently there was a debt collector that spammed friends and family of a debtor in order to pressure her to pay.
Melanie Beacham says she fell behind on her car payment after getting sick and taking a medical leave from work. She contacted MarkOne Financial to explain the situation but says the harassing phone calls, as many as 20 per day, kept coming. Then one day she got a call from her sister saying the company contacted her in Georgia.
"I was telling her, 'No way, because you're not even a reference,'" said Beacham, who later found out MarkOne contacted her sister and other relatives via Facebook.
Tags: Debt Collectors
Today a severely depressing story of a baby that was shaken to death for interrupting his mother's Farmville time.
A normal parent knows interruptions happen and can deal, but someone suffering from an addiction is different. They're obsessed and nothing else is as important!
The Mashable article says this:
Needless to say, it is Ms. Tobias — and not the game itself — that is responsible for the death of her 3-month-old son.
While this is completely true, I don't think it's right to say that Farmville was not involved and bears none of the responsibility. The game, is fun, engaging, bright and feeds into people's innate needs to build, organize, nurture, and escape (all signs of addictive games), but worst of all, Farmville punishes you for not playing. When you stop playing, your animals and crops die.
At some point, the people who make Farmville had a meeting to decide how to keep people playing the game and came up with the death idea. To be fair, maybe they didn't realize how this would lead many people into addiction, but it has and that fact is pretty obvious by now.
Even Mashable agrees:
FarmVille, named one of the “worst inventions” in recent decades by Time magazine, has more than 60 million members, most of whom access the game through Facebook (Facebook). Some players have found it so addicting that they’ve lost their jobs and racked up debts north of $1,000.
In the end, what company owns up to this and apologizes or changes their ways even in the face of deaths and misery that they had a hand in causing? If you said none, I think you'd be right. Instead, they'll blame the user saying that it's totally their responsibility for becoming addicted. So the only choice you have is to handle it yourself.
You have to manage or completely avoid games that are (allegedly) built addictive. Just do a search for "name of game" addictive and if there are pages and pages of results, you just might want to look the other way.
, Online Addiction
Ok so maybe not ONE click. But someone has put together a simple tool that you can use to take over the active sessions of anyone within wireless range of you. Hang out at the Starbucks free wi-fi and you'll be able to control the Facebook or other accounts of people nearby. It's an attack that was always simple to do for those who know how, but now any idiot can do it with a simple new interface.
Hopefully with their newest black eye (it never ends for Facebook does it?) they'll patch up this glaring hole.
By the way, they mention a few protections from this at the bottom of the article, but here's one more.
Tags: Account Security
This is not surprising.
"Apps" are pieces of software that let Facebook's 500 million users play games or share common interests with one another. The Journal found that all of the 10 most popular apps on Facebook were transmitting users' IDs to outside companies.
The apps, ranked by research company Inside Network Inc. (based on monthly users), include Zynga Game Network Inc.'s FarmVille, with 59 million users, and Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille. Three of the top 10 apps, including FarmVille, also have been transmitting personal information about a user's friends to outside companies.
Once you install a 3rd party application, you no longer have control. Think twice before touching any "app" about how much you care if your information remains private or is sold on the information black market.
Tags: Data Abuse
Rule number 1: don't trust Facebook or any other marketer with your information. Anything you provide should be carefully researched to see how safe it is then provided only after deciding what risk you face.
Rule number 2: don't use automated processes to share information without even MORE careful research.
Breaking both rules is a new app from Facebook which will allow you (or one of your friends) to violate the privacy of many people at once by uploading your phonebook.
The greatest part is that you don't have to give up your phone number since one of your friends can instead! This is just like how Facebook let friends tell stalkers where to find you or add you to groups so someone who's mad at you can make you look like a pedophile.
Don't you love Facebook?
Tags: Data Abuse
I'd cry blood before using Facebook Places
I can't imagine broadcasting my current location to the world. There are so many risks that I don't even know where to begin. If you like this feature, good luck and godspeed. Hopefully you don't get robbed, stalked, or worse.
And don't think you're safe just because you think that you have your account set to only allow friends! People's accounts get hijacked all the time letting some other stranger in. Also, your friends may have people in their family or others in their house with access to their computer and thus the things that are posted to your wall. What if a computer gets lost or stolen? What if the people you added aren't who they say they are or if you don't know your real friends as well as you thought you did and they decide to do something with the knowledge that you'll be away from your home or off in a secluded area?
The point is that no matter how unlikely you think those things are, you suffer risks from people knowing your location that you don't otherwise. Even if you don't want to be as risk avoidant as me, the last thing you want is for there to be a way for your location to be broadcast without your consent (which of course is the default option in Facebook).
Even if you feel ok posting where you are sometimes, you don't want it to be automatic or something other people can set for you so turn it off!
, Self Stalking
I don't want this page to descend into an "everything about Facebook" page, but the news has been coming fast and hard the last few weeks. The article I found today isn't news, but instead a plea to the public to not buy in to Facebook's apology for their recent nastiness.
Parents of young children can spot an insincere apology from miles away.
"Sorry," your tot mumbles, after you find the dog half-shaved and your Xbox full of jam.
"Sorry for what?" you'll say. "Sorry for shaving the dog and putting jam in your Xbox," he'll say, looking at the floor. But he's lying. He's only sorry that he didn't get away with it.
Facebook's much-reported apology in the Washington Post is a bit like that. "Sorry," says Mark Zuckerberg. "Sorry for what?" the internet asks.
"Sorry for invading your privacy and making things confusing and stuff," Zuckerberg says. "Can I have an ice cream now?"
Funny and blisteringly accurate; that's a good combination. Check out the rest of the article here
It looks like it didn't take long for them to get the hint. Facebook will now be improving their privacy controls and policy.
From the CNN article:
Tech blogger Robert Scoble… equated the privacy outrage to both Facebook's complicated privacy settings and the company's inability to communicate why users should share their private information with the public.
No kidding. Well now Mark Zuckerberg has admitted to making some mistakes and promises to do better. We'll see.
, Mark Zuckerberg
This is a great free tool that was put together by a volunteer who wanted to make it as easy to tell if you're protected or not as Facebook should have done themselves!
First, you go to http://www.reclaimprivacy.org/ and bookmark the link they provided (the link is actually a sophisticated little script).
The next steps are to go to Facebook and log in. Once you are in your profile, click the bookmark and the privacy scanner will go to work. You'll see a series of colored boxes that show if your settings are set to full privacy. If not, it will warn you and give you the option of fixing the setting with a single click!
As with all scripts, there is a risk of running this to both your computer and your Facebook information, but the code is open-source and has received a LOT of attention all around the web recently. I'm betting it's safe and, in my case, I've been careful not to post information that I'm worried about losing on Facebook.
In either case, there's no simpler or more effective method to tighten up your profile security that I know of so be sure to check it out!