back to article Facebook convenes privacy 'crisis' meeting

Facebook has called a general meeting on privacy amid widespread user discontent over a succession of privacy-eroding changes by the social network. The "all hands meeting" of Facebook staffers is due to take place at 4pm PDT on Thursday. It follows a critically panned attempt by Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president for …


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  1. Code Monkey

    Get it right, bitch

    @Facebook - get this right or I'm off. Bitch.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      Movie Reference: "That's a 300 Dollar hat, bitch"

      Just CANCEL. It's just another ADVERTISING medium now anyway. And, with their apps, outside sites can use your FB accounts to farm your info, but they're not worried about that right now. Because Mafia Wars is the most important thing. One could say a "hit" is warranted....I kid, of course.

      I hardly get on that much anymore anyway.

      The last thing I want to worry about is my info all over a site I don't use.

      Also, for people to be that arrogant to think that all their friends since birth need to know bugger all about what they're doing every minute of the day is a level of self-centered arrogance this world has never seen before.

    2. Doshu

      too late : flush the turd

      Anyone really believe that they're going to fix the mess they've made and suddenly allow you to own your own info?

      Quit while you're ahead people. There are other sites and more on the way -- some might even learn from facebook's mistakes and actually offer an honest service (a guy can dream).

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just Deleted My Facbook Account

    ...but I guess they will keep a copy for a long,long time.....

  3. 46Bit

    Precisely who would consider using this as they'd like?

    Even stranger than what FB can get away with privacy wise is why on earth you get people filling out reams of personal info in the first place. If memory serves, when I signed up in order to reserve a vanity url (or whatever you call them) as soon as I logged in I had a prompt asking me to fill out more personal information than you'd probably agree to giving to your employer - pages of names, birthdates, emails, addresses, phone #s, urls, friends, location, and way more.

    When Twitter asks for effectively 4 things - a unique username, your name, a location, and your email - I struggle to see why anyone would use FB. Yes, it provides image uploading etc - more for revealing everything about you - but at least Twitter has third-party apps for the like and to me is actually useful in finding various web dev resources and news.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is anyone really surprised?

    Facebook isn't free, stupid. They sell your info to third parties (a process, btw, that you will never, ever, have any say in) That's the price you pay for this "free" service. Is it a price worth paying?

    Well I guess that depends on how much you value your privacy, and ultimately, on how much you value yourself as a human being. If the answer to that question is "not at all" then having an excruciatingly detailed log of your life indiscriminately sold to ad-men, the government and any other antisocial prick with money in return for a go on Farmville must be an excellent deal.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Fat chance

    Seeing what a complete pigs ear the Developer API's are : which includes passing session tokens in plain text on URLs, and being able to pick up session cookies belonging to other users, and the bugs and security holes that people have found which remain unfixed after months, I don't really hold out any hope for them fixing it.

    Remember the people who got in trouble for posting about pulling a sickie?

    Well under the new Graph API you can search for it:|2.ERZNAaqqLJbm_plRF0_SGA__.3600.1273759200-892645194|Cz5pqT5MzM-mMhqUJ6VbI1udE68.

    Now that is WRONG!

  6. Doug Glass

    Fools Go Where Angels Fear To Tread

    Wont make a difference, as P.T. Barnum was alleged to have said, "There's a sucker born every minute."

    And then there's the venerable, " A fool and his money is soon parted".

    Just goes to show that people have been free to be stupid and unsafe long before the internet was born and the stupid and arrogant pretty much get what they deserve.

    1. Eddy Ito

      Not how I heard it

      My uncle had a different version for tax day that went; "A fool and your money are soon partners."

  7. Martin Lyne


    Why don't they all get to gether and document their SDKs a bit more first? Just tried writing an app with new API and all I can find is FUD. The new privacy approach is "nothing will work anymore".

  8. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    Easy solution

    Don't put anything on Facebook that you would screw you up if it were made public. The same goes for any website, or indeed any device that is connected to the internet. It may be nominally secure, but ther is no way of knowing if or when a security flaw will be found that exposes your information to anyone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      Please everyone listen to this. I've had one or 2 minor mishaps myself from this in the past - not fired or expelled type things but still.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    How to DELETE FB account

    1. Eddy Ito

      short version

    2. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Hahahahaaa - and you believe this?

      If I recall correctly, FB will hang on to your deleted data in much the same way as Google, but for much longer. Once it's out it's out, you cannot "undo" this.

      Your only option is never to provide anything you might want to delete later, and that's where your problem starts: what looks like a good, useful idea now may not work with what you do later.

      Ergo a default stance of just being very, very careful.. If your social life depends on FB you may want to find a life first..

  10. Tzael

    Deleted early

    I deactivated my Facebook account several weeks prior to the new privacy changes being introduced. My hope is that by the time I get arround to reactivating it Facebook will have suitable privacy controls in place. There's no chance I'm reactivating it until Facebook improves its attitude towards privacy. I do miss Facebook but I read the warning signs and decided that my privacy is more important than being able to keep in touch with friends. After all, I've still got email and the telephone to keep in contact with those friends who live a bit too far away for a day trip :)

  11. Andre 4

    And fix the things you didn't tell us about...

    Even the most security conscious people can't turn off what I consider is the worst of their "features".

    If you are logged into Facebook, and visit certain websites (CNN for one), those sites can pull your name and location information without your knowledge or consent.

    CNN is already using this on some of their pages, and you may not have noticed. Some of their pages allow you to post comments. If you're logged into Facebook, your name will already appear in the comments section, ready for you to post a comment. This is done through some fancy Javascript that talks to one of the Facebook authentication servers, using credentials from your Facebook cookies fro your other open window *.

    Facebook's privacy settings do not allow you to disable this "feature". So, you just need to visit a site and wham, they just got your name and location.

    Someone should sue Facebook for millions for this one.

    * Some versions of IE on Windows seem to successfully block this.

    1. Francis Litterio

      How to use Adblock Plus to block other Web sites' access to Facebook

      You can use Firefox's Adblock Plus add-on ( to prevent any other Web site from talking to Facebook when you visit that site. Just install Adblock Plus and then add the following filters:





      The above filters tell Firefox never to allow any site other than Facebook's four sites (,,, and to access Facebook. Thus, Facebook continues to work perfectly, but other sites don't get to talk to Facebook at all.

    2. 46Bit


      Anyone know if this still happens if one is logged out when visiting the site (ie you clicked Log Out last time you visited FB, not that you don't have it open atm)?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry El Reg, I fibbed.

    Anyone who posts accurate information on social networking sites is an idiot.

    I never give my real details on any website other than a few I make purchases from.

    Most scrape enough information together without my help.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      me too ...

      when hacking poly PR1MEs, you learned very quickly to

      1) use someone elses account


      2) never use your real name in anything sent electronically.

      oh, and

      3) keep your mouth shut at all times.

  13. Anonymous Coward

    open source privacy-centric alternative

    open source, privacy-centric alternative is coming:

    and judging by how quickly these guys raised $10,000 it's sorely wanted by a hell of a lot of people.

  14. jhermans

    @Andre 4

    Account->Privacy Settings->Applications and Websites->Instant Personalization Pilot Program

  15. Mike Kamermans

    And the real reason is probably related to this post on slashdot

    all of facebook's message data is accessible to everyone anywhere in the world without any login, in convenient JSON format.

  16. Tom 13

    @jhermans: EPIC FAIL

    Sorry, Facebook has seriously fucked shit up. When I signed on you could hide information you held as critical, like oh, your date of birth. I tried to update this for my mother the other day, and guess what? Yeah, that's right, you can't anymore. I'm not sure what the hell kind of crap they are pulling with websites. My mother has barely logged onto the site a few times and it wants to link her up to half a dozen other sites. No option to decline.

    I'm with Andre on this one. Even though I know the only ones who will really get anything is the lawyers, if someone wants to launch a class action suite against them for not protecting Personally Identifiable Information, I'm all in.

  17. Andre 4


    Nope - that won't turn it off. If you're very clever, and dig deep enough, you will find Facebook's statement that you can't turn that bit off. They tell you quite clearly that sites can get your name and location, because it is "public information".

    Read their statement like you were a lawyer:

    ""When you visit a Facebook-enhanced application or website, it may access any information you have made visible to Everyone (Edit Profile Privacy) as well as your publicly available information. This includes your Name, Profile Picture, Gender, Current City, Networks, Friend List, and Pages. The application will request your permission to access any additional information it needs."

    There is one way to kill it, and that's to set up a dummy entry in your hosts file for the site they use for this ( This does break some Facebook functionality though.

    Check it out for yoruself. Open Facebook in one window and log in. Browse around CNN's site in another winodw until you find a page that supports Facebook comments and see your name there. If you have some tool that shows you all the connections behind the scenes (like Safari on Mac's Activity window) you'll see the connection (and their JS file) even on CNN's main page. That means CNN knows your name even before you reach a comments page.

    Worse yet, if you told Facebook to keep you logged in, this can happen when you don't have Facebook actually open, since it uses your Facebook cookies.

    You can of course disable Javascript too. Or delete your Facebook account.

  18. Benny


    Doesn't seem to affect CNN.

    Just checked and I have it unticked, but CNN still knows it's me.

  19. Bill Gould

    Yay for Canada

    I went to the EFF site and checked how to turn off the auto-personalization. Turns out it wasn't enabled. Just like the last big FB privacy scare. Then again maybe it's because I never had just the default settings on. I always restricted what was available to people, including friends.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    "EFF has published advice on how to opt-out of Facebook's instant personalisation."

    Here's my opt-out advice: don't sign up. Worked for me.

    AC of course.

  21. Inachu

    I use facebook!

    I am sick of the facebook admins changing the security privacy setting on me once a month!

    I am sick of it!

    I want another choice that remains my choice that they are not allowed to change.

  22. Da Weezil

    Get a REAL life!

    Hmm Faceplant A**eparty etc... the clue here is to get a REAL life.

    I Never got the hype about this social networking fail anyhow, I believe my friends are important enough for me to make the (real) time to interact with them directly in person or by phone etc, that is a real time 2 way exchange, but then these are "real" friends rather than inherited from others or semi strangers that want to tag themselves onto your life.

    The more that the sheeple feed this sort of thing (cos its cool innit?) the more powerful it will get. I didnt register/wont register and they wont get the chance to invade my privacy - Simples!

  23. Oldfogey

    Lies, Damn lies, and login details.

    When I first looked at FB (just to see what the fuss was about) I didn't like what I saw on the privacy side, so didn't join.

    Later I needed to be on in order toaccess some information that was on there, so i did what I always do in such cases;

    False Name

    Address - Head Office of the firm involved

    and their phone No.

    Date of birth - 1 Jan 1900

    Sex - flip a coin, or in the odd case where it is a text field, YES.

    and so on

    and so on.

    Surely everybody does this?


    But it is true that I drink bheer.

  24. Winkypop Silver badge

    Lo' what is that sound....?

    Chickens approaching the house, I guess they'll settle down and roost...

  25. Filomena

    From the continent

    And did you know that maybe it's not only the NYT forum and EFF?

    European data protection group faults Facebook for privacy setting change

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