back to article Facebook RIPS away your veil of privacy, declares NO MORE HIDING

Facebook is binning a feature that lets people retain their anonymity on the social network. The retirement of the "Who can look up your Timeline by name?" privacy setting was announced by the company on Thursday. It means anyone can find the profile of someone else through the search bar. People used to be able to make …


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  1. An0n C0w4rd

    And so it begins

    Since Facebook has to make money for it's shareholders, a gradual erosion of privacy will happen to force more content to be readable by everyone so more pages can be served up and more ad revenue generated.

    1. dan1980

      And so it continues.


      The 'erosion of privacy' IS happening and has been for some time.

      1. Cliff

        Re: And so it continues.

        Began a long time ago. Turn your back and another settings change means something else goes public by default.

        I urge all reg readers to do the honourable thing and destroy any Facebook profile you have. You just know that inactive/deactivated accounts will still be mined and sold, the only way to destroy an account and your PII being fodder for them is the destruction that they make as difficult as possible for you... It even take an extra fortnight 'in case you change your mind'! Killed my profile a while back, it's liberating.

        1. Elmer Phud

          Re: And so it continues.

          'I urge all reg readers to do the honourable thing and destroy any Facebook profile you have.'

          " though the information they see on your profile will depend on how much you have shared."

          Don't panic Mr Mainwaring, I am amused at the 'you haven't filled in this bit of your profile' prompts on screen.

          A single click and it's gone.

          My profile is almost empty -- it has a name and a free email account I set up to register with FB - I might populate it with complete rubbish sometime.

        2. Jim 59

          Re: And so it continues.

          Churn -> spy -> advertise

          When the the interwebs be free of this irksome business model.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And so it continues.

            "When the the interwebs be free of this irksome business model"

            When people are prepared to pay for things again...? :-\

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: And so it continues.

              What's App doesn't have advertising and you pay a small fee.

        3. oolor

          Re: And so it continues.


          While the profile killing is all well and good, the commercial value of the information contained in the 'archives' decreases over time. The real threat of this new change is bigger than the obvious privacy issue. Now users will be trying to tweak their privacy/sharing at a more granular level, and this information is really what Facebook wants. Basically they are crowd sourcing the connections/interests information, not unlike the data brokers back a few weeks ago:

          Damned if you don't, damned if you do. Even if you accept that everything is public and only use it to communicate instead of being 'social', you still end up helping them refine their data. They have finally figured out how to get you to do the dirty work for them regardless your use case.

          @AC 16:10:

          The point is not that it is posted on facebook, but the connections that facebook is mining, if a third party posts your work there, that is a bit different than you and your friends helping target ads that will be served to you. It is quite easy to take steps to make it harder for facebook to find or use connection information when content is submitted by a third party as opposed to through FB itself.

      2. Robert Helpmann??

        Re: And so it continues.

        The 'erosion of privacy' IS happening and has been for some time.

        You cannot have an effect (e.g. erosion) on something that does not exist (e.g. privacy on Facebook). My assumption has always been that if you post anything on FB, you are making a public statement. In fact, you probably will get more eyes on it than if you put up fliers in a metropolitan area.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      force more content to be readable by everyone

      Maybe in general, but not in this case. This story simply means that the fact you are ON facebook can't be hidden - that "John Smith" has a profile is searchable.

      You can still lock down everything about you from strangers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: force more content to be readable by everyone

        This story simply means that the fact you are ON facebook can't be hidden - that "John Smith" has a profile is searchable. You can still lock down everything about you from strangers

        Only until that gets in the way of revenue too. The author got it right:

        the company's main motivation is to eradicate user privacy over time

        I don't think it can be said any better than that.

    3. Suburban Inmate

      Re: And so it begins

      I just checked over my settings, awkward though they are.

      "Limit audience for old posts" Set to friends only. Sorted.

      And my profile pic is currently The Blerch:

      1. Zolko Bronze badge

        Re: And so it begins

        The Blerch:

        that's bloody freakin genius, thank-you

        1. IglooDude

          Re: And so it begins

          No, seriously, "bloody freakin genius" is a bit of an understatement. Wow.

      2. dssf

        Re: And so it begins -- New Subterfuge Powers...ACTIVATE

        New Wonder Twins Subterfuge Powers...ACTIVATE

        I did that, too.

        However, I suspect that fb will try to say:

        -- when you agreed to the TOS, you warranted that you would post factual info about yourself

        -- you agree to be subject to our TOS even if we amended them behind your back

        So, theoretically, if it mattered to fb, fb might "resurrect" old, deleted posts it feels "are factually necessary to establish a factual, minimal record of you and your corporate being so as to enable (creditors, law enforcement, marketing forces, governments (domestic or foreign) and other) entities to find you and enjoy a seamless, meangingful engagement on fb. You may delete your profile only to find friends telling you that you still pop up as a friend.

        After all, MA himself says privacy is dead. How can an adult wishing to be private/anonymous remain so if one megalomaniacal corporation alone decides to be gatekeeper/librarian of its subscribers? AOL locked outsiders out, unless they joined in. FB is locking in subscribers, even if they think they are jumping out. After all, who can prove that fb really does delete our information even if we systematically, post-by-post go in and zap 100 posts per day until we have cleared our profiles before hibernating a month, and before resurrecting prior to a "final" purge?

        FB could declare that we are violating the TOS by hand-purging all our posts, committing "contract/covenant subterfuge", and forcing it to "restore the facts" we are trying to hide. Well, that is, if we're engaging in this "subterfuge" post-age-18/local age of majority/age-able-to-enter-into-legally-binding-contracts, that is.

        And, consider this: maybe, if fb thinks it can hide its activities with its "other customers" from its "real product/customers/us", it may just feed us honeynets of ourselves and friends while working on a black project of making us THINK we are maintaining private, less-or-non-marketed profiles. Soon, we'll not ever anymore be in legal control of our own reputations as long as entities like fb deem our posts and private info as having so much value that they will monetize it no matter WHAT we say.

        So, at what point does fb become subject to regulation as a public utility? Or, does that depend on how supplicantly/obsequiously fb whores itself out to various governments?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And so it begins -- New Subterfuge Powers...ACTIVATE

          Easy enough to ensure your information doesn't get directly used by Facebook, don't use it.

          I acknowledge that Facebooks slippery tentacles may (will) have access to some stuff I post elsewhere but I am doing my best to not post things on the web that may be of value to commercial leeches. My view is that anything on the internet is basically public, so only put just what you want. I have zero issue with The Register mining my comments as they're pretty innocuous.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And so it begins

      I'd stop posting to ANY websites if you're worried about Facebook!

      I post images to Archant press website, you know where they post their selected image of the day? Yep, Zuckerberg's online marketing data warehouse! Doesn't bother me, I'm glad of the exposure for my work. Lots and lots of companies have Facebook presence and unless you have double checked every single sign-up agreement with a fine-toothed comb, there's a chance you could end up in Zuck's data-mart by proxy if you missed some legalise clause in the sign-up agreement.

      Sleep easy in your beds tonight tinfoil hatters!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And so it begins

        Once you share something with at least one person, that thing ceases to be private.

    5. Mark 65

      Re: And so it begins

      It's evolution in realtime - if you're stupid enough to use Facebook then this is what you can look forward to.

    6. Anonymous (Noel) Coward

      Re: And so it begins


      "People just submitted it. I don't know why. They 'trust me.' Dumb fucks."


  2. Denarius Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    back to wetware to wetware direct interfacing

    Pick up the phone, please the local coffee shop and talk face to face. Anything to avoid the clammy hand of advertisers. Though given the integration (read corruption) of the ruling elites, one could expect the NSA to amalgamate with Google et al and everyones data be sold for advertising and low cost "anti-terrorsim" surveillance. Synergies all round. Or has this already happened, but the IPO has not been announced yet ?

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: back to wetware to wetware direct interfacing

      In which case you will also need to only use cash, no more cards as that info is also marketable as are the lists of goods you buy with a card at the supermarket.

      1. Paul Slater

        Re: back to wetware to wetware direct interfacing

        Only if you use a loyalty card

        1. Horned-Devil

          Re: back to wetware to wetware direct interfacing

          You think? And Visa/Mastercard don't know your buying habits?

          1. Charles Manning

            It's all in the details

            Visa/Mastercard just know you bought $20 of stuff from the supermarket.

            The loyalty card tracks your actual purchases. The supermarket sees you bought more condoms than usual, a bottle of wine and a bunch of flowers and can figure you might have a new girlfriend.

            FB KNOWS you have a new GF because you post all those pictures which can be picture linked to a new person and you changed your status.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: back to wetware to wetware direct interfacing

        In which case you will also need to only use cash, no more cards as that info is also marketable as are the lists of goods you buy with a card at the supermarket.

        You have only started to think about doing that now?

        :shakes head in disbelief:

      3. cortland

        Re: back to wetware to wetware direct interfacing

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: back to wetware to wetware direct interfacing

          Microwaving money makes invisible RFID tags burst in to flames?

          Nothing to do with the metal strip in the notes then? Metal of any kind doesn't work so well in a microwave.

    2. big_D Silver badge


      I deleted my account back in 2010.

  3. Michael Thibault

    There, there...

    'You can get used to anything. And, besides, it's not such a big deal'.

    Most won't be able to tear themselves away from fb long enough to even wonder what's different. Nor whether they should wonder about its significance. Sad, really.

  4. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HR loves facebook and hates people with private profiles. This move could prevent some people from getting jobs because of what they said to their friends in the past, when they thought they had privacy.

    1. dssf

      Could also cause non-hiring of those who hibernate their fb accounts

      Or who lock them or refuse to open one up.

      Time to re-limit, and to just use fb as an overwhelming blog wall.... Anyone looking, tho, can still try to social engineer our friends, or try to add us.

      Personal policy: 140 is the MAX, and from now on, if I have not met you, you do not get added, period.

      1. MrWibble

        Re: Could also cause non-hiring of those who hibernate their fb accounts

        "Personal policy: 140 is the MAX, and from now on, if I have not met you, you do not get added, period."

        Why would have "friends" if you've never met them?

        My policy is the pint policy. Have I gone for a pint with you in the past 12 months? If not, you're not a real "friend" and you get binned off.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My profile is all private and I only share to friends; if HR asked to see my profile I'd tell them to jog on, just like if they asked to see inside my house. None of their business.

      If I go on a job hunt my profile gets deactivated.

      1. teebie

        "we weren't able to find your facebook profile"

        "why would you want to find my facebook profile"

        "it's our policy, to avoid situations where users may find comments on our company on employee profiles"

        "and you couldn't find my profile"



    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      HR loves facebook

      Any employer who expects employees to have a Facebook profile is an employer I have no desire to work for.

    4. Amorous Cowherder


      When are people going to wake up and realise the days of the internet being a free wild-west, last frontier of freedom are long gone! It got owned by the corps many moons ago and they've got your "number" well and truly marked and catalogued in one of their neat little categories. If the marketers haven't got you yet then PRISM has the backups just in case!

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    Facebook and I have a special privacy agreement

    I never use their site.

    They never use my PI.

    1. Raumkraut
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Facebook and I have a special privacy agreement

      > They never use my PI.

      Do you have any friends on Facebook? Are you sure they've never mentioned you, or uploaded a picture including you?

      Or have you ever visited a website with a facebook "like" button?

      Your naivety is showing. Facebook probably already have a "shadow" profile for you.

      1. Winkypop Silver badge

        Re: Facebook and I have a special privacy agreement

        Nice try but a fail.

        I don't have any friends!

        So there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Facebook and I have a special privacy agreement

          I don't have any 'Friends' © ® (Pat Pend)!

          There, fixed that for you.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Facebook and I have a special privacy agreement

      Unfortunately its not as simple as that.

      They still force cookies onto your devices unless you've deployed countermeasures, so that they can track you when you browse sites belonging to affiliate businesses whether you're a FB user or not.

      Also they now 'own' any information that friends/associates may have foolishly posted which relate to you - regardless of whether you the subject of that information actually has an account.


      1. Social Thinker

        Re: Facebook and I have a special privacy agreement

        Its seems to be getting tougher to protect oneself on Facebook and easier on the streets. Is this how a person feels in the offline world when someone stands on their rooftop and yells sensitive/ embarrassing/ secret information about them to the world?

        1. dssf

          Re: Facebook and I have a special privacy agreement

          Moke and Smirrors

          Even HERE!

          The other day, in a section about databases, I asked a few questions. Within an hour or less than 4 hours, i received in my gmail a very tailored databases-related (more than previous ones) damned near blatantly trying to address the very stuff I posted. It didn't feel creepy or surprising, except that it makes me wonder whether:

          -- The Register heaped the gist of my comment over the wall, or

          -- A db marketer paid to get my email address in order to send me a targeted (informative, but uninvited, more or less) email, or

          -- Whether Google is trawling The Register and then taking it upon itself to direct companies at me and at other users

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Use them like they use you, simple.

    Don't post anything that is not public knowledge anyway.

    Don't say anything stupid.

    Use ad block.

    And better yet, do not use a real name or at least not your real name.... my friends totally accept that i am not the same name on facebook as real life and it keeps the 'old school friends' away, yet i still get to see world+dog baby photos and lol cats.... (aren't i lucky).

    You can be a victim or you can just work around their desperation for your info by giving them what is not of value.

    1. adnim

      Re: users

      That's right. I use Facebook for business, many of my customers are there and share my updates.

      I post about my business, knowledge I WANT to be made public.

      I don't post about my liking for Shiraz or that I love my cat more than I even like most people.

      And I don't post opinion only fact.

      Facebook have a real email address and a real name associated with the business.

      My business is honest with nothing to hide.

      They have my IP address (static) and all the information that can be gleaned from that.

      They think I am 108 years old, there is not a single other piece of personal information I have given them.

      Facebook scripts are blocked everywhere except Facebook, I only accept session cookies from them.

      The adblock filters:

      deal nicely with the advertising.

      What's not to like about a free advertising platform?

      As for your average Facebook user, think of it as evolution on the Internet, Darwinism on a whole new level. Those with the smarts to work it out and understand how the Internet works will be the users. The rest will be the used. Not so much survival of the fittest, which was a somewhat inaccurate description of evolution anyway, as survival of the smartest.

      Be grateful for those with less Internet savvy, for they take the flack. And whilst there are those to take the flack, those of us smart enough to wear flack jackets (noscript, adblock, refcontrol, cookie monster etc) will generally be overlooked.

      1. Elmer Phud

        Re: users -- filters

        You missed one out.

        The one that looks for any image file from anywhere that has 'zuckerberg' in the filename.

        Works a treat.

    2. Rhetoric

      Re: users

      My thoughts precisely.

      I never initiate any posts unless it's a neat photo I've taken, or something earth-shattering which has never happened to me before. Other than that, I share no "valueable" personal info. Simply put, don't post stupid stuff, and stupid stuff won't happen as a consequence of said postings.

      I also delete friend requests of people whom I either:

      1.) Simply don't know IRL

      2.) Don't associate with on a regular basis IRL

      3.) Flat-out don't enjoy sharing oxygen with them on this planet.

      I also use VPNs, Proxies and Ad Blockers. One would be daft not to employ such measures these days.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook == Big Brother Watch

    with a feed direct to GCHQ and the NSA

    Do you really want everyone to know all this stuff about you? Nah thought not

    Another reason (if I ever needed one) NOT to use this thing. The same applies to gmail and twatter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Facebook == Big Brother Watch

      Why would you put anything on any social network that you didn't want everyone to know about you? Surely the whole point is that you put it up there for other people to see?

      1. ecofeco Silver badge

        Re: Facebook == Big Brother Watch

        "Why would you put anything on any social network that you didn't want everyone to know about you?"

        It the friends who will post it that you have to worry about.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Facebook == Big Brother Watch

      >>Do you really want everyone to know all this stuff about you?

      I'm not really bothered. Just like I don't insist on whispering to friends in the pub in case someone I don't know hears my opinion on the ending of Lost.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Real names optional

    This is why I'm starting to see more of my Facebook friends using something other than their real name. There have always been some women who used their maiden name or middle name in place of their last name to keep stalkers from easily finding them. But lately I've seen some change their names to something totally made up - looks like they used one of those "what is your porn star name" type apps to generate them. They still use their page as before, they just use it under some weird name that makes you do a double take the first time you see their status in your feed and wonder how this person got on your friends list.

    It would be a convenient way to avoid being searched under Facebook's continued assault on privacy, and they could tell snoopy bosses they don't have a Facebook page with no way for their boss to prove "Debbie Daggers" is really their account. Facebook can't force people to use their real name, and the more they push this kind of crap on us, the more people will adopt fake names. I should think that would be more damaging to Facebook in the long run than any additional revenue changes like this net them in the short run. Though perhaps they realize this and don't care - they know Facebook in a decade will probably resemble what AOL is now anyway, so they may as well cash in as best they can sooner rather than later.

    1. Captain Underpants

      Re: Real names optional

      The thing about using fictional names is that it's much more fun to make up something completely fake (as in, you'd actually have to be a complete fuckwit to not realise this). And that's assuming that folks don't just create duplicate accounts (I've done this before and always use stupid names to make it blatant - the last one was something like Donkeypunch McFunkwit or something along those lines....)

      I think FB is currently in a panic to try and squeeze money out of the people using it, having failed to realise that the more they try to overtly do so the more people push back. The main issue is people uploading photo and video (less deniable than simple profile names), but thus far this hasn't been too big a problem...

    2. IglooDude

      Re: Real names optional

      Or do what I do, and just slightly misspell your real last name (along with an email address devoted purely to facebook). Real friends hardly notice, and still a decent evasion of search engines.

      The general common sense about not saying anything on a social site that you wouldn't publish in a newspaper still applies, of course.

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If anyone does not like Facebook's increasing intrusion into your private lives then do what I do - don't touch Facebook with a bargepole.

    1. dssf

      Bargepole? How bout a honey baster?

      Buy into one of those "agent" apps the USAF and other countries' secretive agents use, and set up 500 personas, and get 500 new email addresses, and CREATE for yourself 500 friends, family members, acquaintances, fans, stalkers, and ex relations.

      Then, automate the thing to "astroturf" your profile.

      However, you'd have to be REALLY, REALLY good at keeping the NSA from informing fb that your 500 aliases are aliases. Or, maybe, fb will tip off the NSA.. Wait, I've had a sneaking suspicion that Zuck is the worse-than-Gates-before-age-25, and he did something SOOOOO egregious that his only "get-out-of-jail-free" card was a promise to Hoover up all the worlds's personas as best as and as fffffast as he could, and, hence, hwallah! Facebook.

      Anyone coming up with a fb program and getting startup funding could probably commit murder (real or figuratively) in multiple countries and be, as in BAD (Big Audio Dynamite), be "wanted in 14 counties...." and STAY out of jail by supplicating to the NSA, GCHQ, Mossad, Qudz, KNIS, etc, and make billions of dollars in income (real or imputed), and get to go to work in a hoodie instead of at-that-level-of-income business-suitable (wait, anyone "worth" a few billions can go to work in a diaper, tutu, or immersion suit, right?)

      FYE (For Your Entertainment):

      "Wanted in fourteen counties of this State, the condemned is found guilty of crimes of murder, armed robbery of citizens, state banks and post offices, the theft of sacred objects, arson in a state prison, perjury, bigamy, deserting his wife and children, inciting prostitution, kidnapping, extortion, receiving stolen goods, selling stolen goods, passing counterfeit money, and contrary to the laws of this State, the condemned is guilty of using marked cards...Therefore, according to the powers vested in us, we sentence the accused before us, Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez ('Known as The Rat') and any other aliases he might have, to hang by the neck until dead. May God have mercy on his soul. Proceed." (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; "Known as The Rat" was uttered by Eastwood.)

      Definitely one of the most entertainingly structured, proper-USA-English, spaghetti-western-to-moder-times-survivable sentences I've read, and I still quite enjoy it immensely having first heard it in 1984, thanks to some surfer shipmates. GODS, BAD is so GOOD and FUN!

      To fully enjoy it, listen to it in the context of Big Audio Dynamite's interspersal of it in the song, and, if you have time, listen to the whole casse... Ummm, CD/audio file of the release. A really enjoyable, fun piece of music. (Having said that, while you're at it, take a time trip and listen to Oingo Boingo from the 80's, too, especiallyt "Nasty Habits" ("TAKE the PHONE off, SHUT the DOOR,

      "Nasty habits, nasty habits Do you like to romp and play by yourself when they're away Nasty affair what do I care Do you peek at magazines filled with doggies and leather queens Nasty habits, nasty habits Tell me your secrets that no one should hear Whisper them softly into my ear I won't tell, I won't tell

      People act so proper when they're going 'bout their business Cup of coffee, lfriendly conversation 'Til they get home, 'Til they get home

      TAKE the phone off, lock the door and shut the curtains Make sure that the neighbors are without suspicion No one will know No one will know Nasty habits I must condone No one knows what I do when I'm all alone "

  12. Adam 1

    Sometimes I think to myself that a facebook accountwould be useful. Then they pull stunts like this and I remember why I never signed up.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Different name

    Ever since I got some threatening messages to me and my wife from a bunch of scouse footie fans I have been using a pseudonym on FB. Recommend you do the same before the pitchfork waving mongs take offence at something someone with a similar name as you says on some site somewhere.

    1. Elmer Phud

      Re: Different name

      Carry on calling people 'MONGS' and I'm going to be out there selling pitchforks or even giving them away.

      Harassed by Scousers?

      You didn't admit to being a 'Scum' 'reader' did you?

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Different name

        Why would total strangers be allowed to post on your profile/wall in the first place?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Different name

      I thought it was a Twitter posting that had them all stirred up Simon? BTW I believe we may briefly have been colleagues.

  14. Lee D Silver badge

    Well, since day one on Facebook, I just used their "What does your profile look like to others" link and make sure there's nothing visible. All of the various additions / changes over the years have changed NOTHING to someone who actually CARES about what they put online.

    If you aren't on my friends list, all you see is a couple of photos and a pseudo-humorous/serious post I did once about who I add to my friends list.

    If you are on my friends list, you get to see "everything", which is anything I deem worthy of generally public consumption. If you are a friend-of-a-friend you get to see certain photo albums that I've shared of friend's weddings, etc. and not much else.

    Quite why you'd want to have it any other way, I'm not sure, but every "change", including all the timeline junk has made virtually zero difference to what I actually do and what you can actually see. Bear in mind that I share with my friends some of the classic technical support dumb questions that I come across during my working day, and there's a reason I don't have my employer or any colleagues on my "friends" list (It's not sackable stuff by a long shot but might embarrass a couple of people, that's all - if I don't socialise with you and wouldn't say these things / show these things to you in a pub, why would I do it online where you could read it?)

    Hell, I've still got my ex-wife on there. Because we get on and I'd be quite happy to say / show anything that's on Facebook to her. If I wouldn't be happy with her seeing something, I wouldn't post it where she could see it. How hard is that to understand?

    It surprises me more that people can write something on the Internet and not realise what can / cannot be traced back to them. Hell, my Reg profile is a billion times more revealing than anything that goes on Facebook, and still there's nothing in there that would get me in trouble - it's personal opinion, and appropriately edited.

    Oh, and news: and a billion other website will happily sell your personal data and home address to anyone that signs up. That's infinitely more worrying if you think you're being stalked. In terms of tracking down family and old friends, I've managed to find places that offer a lot more creepiness than Facebook could ever legally provide, and none of that information was sourced from things you've consciously posted online.

    The other day, a friend was posting junk on her Facebook page about how you can be "tracked" by photos and she took down every photo of her new baby because it had "your GPS location embedded in it", and she was horrified. 1) What the hell do you think is going to happen? 2) Anyone with your photos of your baby should know who you are anyway - that's the point of privacy controls. 3) Anyone friends with you on Facebook probably knows your address already. If not, again, a 2-second lookup for your full name will reveal it. Oh, and you "tag in" everywhere you go anyway, you pillock. 4) Facebook et al tend to strip EXIF info anyway. 5) Your iPhone is a bunch of crap, like I keep telling you, and does this automatically and you have to hunt down the option to turn it off whereas most phones DO NOT or at least make the option easy to find. 6) We've all known about this for YEARS.

    Unfortunately, this friend is a post-doc, so you can't really blame it on lack of education, or Facebook's controls being too difficult (I googled for 2 seconds and found the option to turn off the iPhone GPS EXIF embedding, and Facebook had already stripped the EXIF from all her photos anyway as I demonstrated to her, and it's literally a single drop-down box to change a photo to "friends-only", and two clicks to see your profile as an anonymous stranger would see it).

    Don't be horrified by things like this. Just don't allow it to have any consequence for you at all. Don't put ANYTHING online that you wouldn't happily share with the world, without really, really, making sure you're controlling who can ever possibly see it.

    1. AbelSoul

      > Don't put ANYTHING online that you wouldn't happily share with the world

      Indeed but I'd also add, don't put as much trust in FB privacy settings as you appear to.

    2. mitch 2

      Facebook may strip off the EXIF settings but that doesnt mean they necessarily throw them away. I would not be at all surprised if they were kept in their database. The NSA would certainly appreciate that.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        And again - what would that gain them? NSA paranoia really is rife at the moment.

        They'd know where a photo was taken. When my name is at the top of the page, when I've probably said "this is X and Y at Z on such-and-such a date", when anything they could possibly determine from that photo they could do with a legitimate court order just as easily. And when I've voluntarily uploaded that photo to Facebook with that information inside it.

        Believe it or not, a photo on Facebook is going to be shared with Facebook. The same way that when I send off a passport application not only do the Post Office have to know everything about me, but I have to write it on a form and give it to a stranger in a big room full of strangers, and I'm assuming that it eventually gets to the guy at the Passport Office who will also know everything about me. I consider that INFINITELY more risky than anything else I might ever do in terms of disclosure of crucial information.

        If you don't trust it, you absolutely, 100% cannot have used Facebook at all anyway, ever, from day one of the service existing. And though you can live like that, it's like living without a passport / driver's licence - totally optional but you will miss out on ordinary, everyday life through paranoia.

        If you're thinking of asserting in court that you were never at a place you were, and Facebook were subpoena'd for information, and it turns out that a photo of you was taken in exactly that place at exactly the time you say, who is at fault? The court? Facebook? The camera manufacturer? Or you for being such a pillock?

        Use or don't use Facebook. But please stop saying it's some kind of mass conspiracy when you're VOLUNTEERING all that information to them. And don't STOP others using them, just make sure others are informed IF they want to be informed. If you're not already informed that Facebook has access to everything you've ever given Facebook, then you're probably an idiot.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "when anything they could possibly determine from that photo they could do with a legitimate court order just as easily."

          No, not just as easily. That's the whole POINT of the laws requiring police et. al. to obtain court orders for things that would otherwise invade our privacy: To make it more difficult to make sweeping searches and have some consideration as to whether the ends justify the means.

        2. mitch 2

          NSA paranoia

          Are you suggesting that NSA/GCHQ trawling is not real or that Facebook don't cooperate or both?

          If these things are actually happening then its not paranoia at all - its rational fear for the future.

          See "Privacy and security" section.

        3. Dan Paul


          Paranoia is having the belief that everyone is out to get you...

          What do you call someone who has absolute PROOF that everyone is out to get them?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Paranoia

            A realist. :D

          2. dssf

            Re: Paranoia.. A Saying

            "Just because I'm PARAnoid doesn't mean they're NOT out to get me."...

            Just sayin'...

        4. teebie

          "what would that gain them"

          What does knowing the last time I called my mum gain them? For some reason they still trawl that sort of info

  15. The FunkeyGibbon

    Would I miss it?

    I wonder how much I'd miss Facebook if I closed my account. I get the feeling it wouldn't be much. What frustrates me is that there are pictures of me with the ex-wife out there that other people have taken and I'd quite like to see gone but I can't ask them to get rid of them because it'd look bitter and petty. So even if I leave it's too little too late for at least some of my data. :-(

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Would I miss it?

      "I wonder how much I'd miss Facebook if I closed my account. I get the feeling it wouldn't be much. What frustrates me is that there are pictures of me with the ex-wife out there that other people have taken and I'd quite like to see gone but I can't ask them to get rid of them because it'd look bitter and petty. So even if I leave it's too little too late for at least some of my data. :-("

      What I read is "I took little care and jumped into Fake Book feet first. Now I've been stung and I have now given some consideration to my actions I realise that I was stupid in the first place"

      boo hoo

      1. Atonnis

        Re: Would I miss it?

        Wow, that AC is a real @sshead.

        1. Captain Underpants

          Re: Would I miss it?

          Sadly, like many other bits of the internet, allowing anonymous commentary brings out the inner bellend in a lot of folks. Anything involving the issues arising from social networking brings out a particular type of Complete Cock who seems to think that all humans are born with an innate and highly-refined understanding of the long-term repercussions of actions undertaken on a networked computer platform. It's not a helpful reaction, but then again humans generally have a remarkable capacity for bellendery.

        2. GotThumbs

          Re: Would I miss it?

          IMO, Not really.

          It's just that some people take responsibility for their own choices/actions and a lot more do not.

          The ONLY person who IS responsible, is the one person who signed up for the free service in the first place.

          Be an adult and take responsibility for your own choices/actions.

          No guns were held to anyones sign up for FB.

          Now if you have a FB account, you have the choice to cancel it. Any photos you put on the web...are out there for good.

          Live, learn and grow from that lesson.

          ~Best wishes,

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @ AC 11:12

        What I read is:

        "I'm really clever, I spend all my time finding people who've done things I think are stupid and then I tell them about it to make them aware of how much better than them I am!

        woo hoo! go Me! I am ace! you are crap!"

      3. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Would I miss it?

        " What I read is "I took little care and jumped into Fake Book feet first. Now I've been stung and I have now given some consideration to my actions Irealise that I was stupid in the first place"

        boo hoo"

        You clearly can't read then. The original author quite clearly said thry were photos that *friends* had posted.

        What *I * read in your reply, is that this concept is alien to you - presumably. because you don't have any friends.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fake bookers deserve no privacy!

  17. Atonnis

    I'm a little confused...

    If I've already set everything I've ever posted to 'Friends Only' and I've set the system to only allow stuff to be posted about me after approval....why would I need to worry any more than I previously did?

    This is a genuine question. Hate-spewing, random, tinfoil-hatted diatribes aren't welcome.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: I'm a little confused...

      For this particular news story... I don't think you do. Someone can find your profile but they won't be able to see anything about you. Other than presumably your profile picture. If you're on the run from the mob, this could be a problem.

      1. Atonnis

        Re: I'm a little confused...

        Well, tbh, if you're on the run from the mob and you're dumb enough to be keeping up a Facebook profile - you're kind-of asking for it.

        You're still able to delete your profile when you want, so if you make some kind of grand mistake in life and want to disappear, you easily can. A Facebook profile is not tethered to you physically. Just disconnect from/delete the damn thing if it's a problem.

        I have people I don't want to particularly find me, so I pre-empted them. I searched for them and put them on my block list. Job done.

    2. GotThumbs

      Re: I'm a little confused...

      Because you do NOT have control over FB's policies.

      You get the service for free and agreed to the terms that they have the power to change their privacy terms as they choose. Just read the Terms of Agreement.

      You only have the choice to use or not use the free service.

      1. Atonnis

        Re: I'm a little confused...

        Ummmm....yeh? Now I'm doubly confused. I'm not sure why you made that obvious point.

        ....but if you're going down that tangent I'll just say the weakness is not in Facebook's terms, but more in UK (and other) laws that don't protect it's citizens well enough.

    3. dssf

      Re: I'm a little confused...

      Maybe the rest of us are confused because we probably did not hear El Zucko put it as succinctly as you did. Maybe he did, and maybe I should read his blog. But, if he did NOT say it in so many ways, then maybe he IS being disingenuous, and just really out to destroy privacy/closed-group comments/sharings one way or another.

      Am I missing something?

  18. deadmonkey

    By heck you're a miserable bunch of b*st*rds.

    I wouldn't want you in my friend list anyway.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "By heck you're a miserable bunch of b*st*rds.

      I wouldn't want you in my friend list anyway."

      OED=A person with whom one has developed a close and informal relationship of mutual trust and intimacy; (more generally) a close acquaintance. Often with adjective indicating the closeness of the relationship, as best, good, close, etc.

      No you'd never be my friend!

      Since Fakebook, friend will be another word to be bastardised and twisted.

  19. phands

    That does it. I've had a facebook account for years, but hardly used it. I just deleted it. Goodbye FB.

  20. RJFlorida

    I knew it

    I always knew they would do something like this which is why the profile with my real name has all false information. The profile I use for communication has a fake name no identifiable information on it.

  21. earl grey

    No FailBook for me, thank you

    seriously, no. as the ad campaign said, "just say no".

  22. rcorrect

    Now, undesirables can find you and try to friend you, though the information they see on your profile will depend on how much you have shared.

    Soon that 'privilege' will be taken away and someday the ability to delete your account.

    1. Captain Underpants

      So pre-emptively fill your account with bollocks then. Make a point every now and again of going on a spree of liking complete nonsense to throw off their algorithms, and if you really want to confuse them set up fake accounts now and again that you befriend.

      No, it's not automated. But it *is* an approach to mitigating the effect that Facebook Bastardry can have on your life...

  23. Crisp


    Deleting fucking everything...

  24. sgrier23

    Factbook down forever - never to be returned

    Well that it. I shall be cancelling my Facebook membership - Zuckerbery can go and jump himself!!!

  25. GrumpyOldMan

    What's Farcebook?

    Nobody can find me on Facebook.

    Don't use it. Never used it. Never will use it. Don't have a profile to be worried about.

    However my daughter uses it 24x7! So I restrict it's use at home between 8am and 11pm via the firewall cos I'm a hideous, evil dictator (apparently) and want her to get some sleep! But she has a phone with a data plan...

    I do worry about the sheer volume of data that people put about themselves on these soshul medya sites. But something like this happens and everyone seems just SO surprised and shocked! Some of us were saying this sort of thing would happen years ago. Maybe at 50+ I've been in the industry too long and am just a cynical git.

  26. itzman

    What is this facebook?

    Of which thee speakest?

  27. deadmonkey

    I believe some folks here have an inflated sense of the value of their lucky charms, hence the dramatic pronouncements about your withdrawal. It's just a place to share nonsense with friends.

    I don't know what's in your photos or links, other than the obvious kittens, but there's nothing in mine of any commercial value, nor anything which would enable someone to compromise me.

    BTW. If you post anonymously here, then by my mark unless your contribution warrants the anonymity (ie. it's about your firm or whatever) then I'm not interested in your opinion, get your tfh on and go away :P

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ...If you post anonymously here...

      Is "deadmonkey" your real first name or your real surname, and have you thought about suing your parents for the childhood abuse they inflicted on you with such a name?

  28. FuzzyTheBear
    Big Brother

    Just close it

    I mean .. the users get ripped off , spied on , checked , their data relayed to the agencies etc etc .. privacy bla bla .. i mean .. how much more abuse do you need before you just shut down your accounts ? Hurt them back and just cut the umbilical. It's time to cut off the morphine drip that feeds their bank accounts. They make profits out of your data , the service is their data collecting tool , have they ever gave you a cent for your participation in this money making scheme ? FB is the rip off of the century.

  29. Amorous Cowherder

    Nothing wrong with Facebook....

    .,...just like the rest of the internet, don't share anything you wouldn't share without your worst enemy!

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: don't share anything you wouldn't share without your worst enemy!

      Sharing is more fun with your worst enemy!

  30. GotThumbs

    When you get something for Free....

    ....It will always turn out to be Not what you were expecting/wanting.

    I think FB should offer of an option for people to PAY a monthly fee for the service and in return, they keep the privacy option and are also excluded from Ads. Make a Pay for service option.

    Personally, I never joined and this is EXACTLY the reason.

    IMO, It's pure ignorance to think posting your personal information on the web using a FREE service and expecting your information/content will remain secure/private. If its on the web, it's public. Period.

  31. Social Thinker


    Some may be surprised at this development as many have forgotten the circumstances under which Facebook was created- Mark wanted to get back at his girlfriend and humiliate some girls in his dorm. This evolved into a billion dollar idea and the rest is history. Facebook was not a child of some Nobel prize winning social engineering theory. So I think people should not be alarmed at the removal of privacy settings. In fact we should be making an effort to be less emotionally attached to this social network. Bring down the Facebook hormones by a few notch?

  32. Infernoz Bronze badge
    Big Brother

    Whatever suckers

    I'm too smart to throw away my privacy or time on that glass walled, voyeur, ad-viper pit, for worthless, virtual, fake socialisation.

  33. raving angry loony

    End of the line.

    My account was disabled - and I've been so much more productive since doing so three months ago! All this news has done is prompted me to request the account be deleted. Of course, I have to *reactivate* my deactivated account so that I could ask for it to be deactivated and removed, but that's Facebook for you.

    So just from a productivity standpoint, I'd say deleting my Facebook account was a huge win there. If they hadn't been such scum about balancing profit vs privacy I might not have done so. So all I can say is that these policies may just be a good idea really. Those who don't value any form of privacy probably deserve everything they're about to receive.

  34. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    If you value privacy, DON'T USE FACEBOOK

    if you value any privacy, DON'T USE FACEBOOK. You can put your most personal details on Facebook, marked with every possibly privacy option for just a few friends to see, and Zuckerburg *will* screw you over sooner or later and give that info out to everybody.

    I have a FB account, only used for single sign on (so if I want to comment on some blog or something I do not need to make a new account). My age, and the college I graduated from (which I now think I should not have given them either.) No photo, no personal information, no posts, no answer to the friend's requests. FB is getting nothing from me.

  35. Vociferous


    You need three accounts: one squeaky clean under your own name for family and work, one under your nickname for your mates, and one completely fake for use everywhere else. And never, ever, cross the beams!

    1. Adrian 4 Silver badge


      Why do you 'need' more than zero accounts ?

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Me? I just pick up the phone or pop around to my friends. I have real ones you see.

    1. Sarah Balfour

      Lucky you! SOME of us don't have that luxury - I don't have ANY friends at all! I don't have the first fucking CLUE what people ARE, and much less how to interact with them. No idea at all. Apparently I'm autistic, but even other autistic people are an enigma to me - and I to them.

      I honestly, truthfully believe that I am different from every single other person on Earth; there isn't a single other person on this planet who'd understand me, and who I would understand. I VERY much doubt there EVER has been - or EVER will be.

      Okay, you can ring the nearest nuthouse now...

  37. chrisp1141

    Freedom to choose

    You have the freedom to choose what sites you use. It turns out that there are some really goods sites that have been addressing the issue of privacy: Ravetree, DuckDuckGo, HushMail, and many others. I don't use facebook, and I'm definitely not going to use google+, because they are such bad violators of our privacy.

  38. Dick Pountain

    It ain't that difficult - just think of Facebook as not like telephoning someone but more like standing on the highstreet. Don't do anything you wouldn't do there. You can show your pictures to passers-by, but perhaps don't show them your todger?And you *will* see ads in shop windows and on passing busses.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Dick Pountain

      I agree with your post with one exception: Facebook is like standing on the high street of every town in the developed world and many of the towns in the rest of the world, simultaneously.

      This is what many people don't get, because deep down inside we are still apes who can't get our heads around the idea of more than about 130 other apes existing in the entire world.

      Hence the people who post highly embarrassing stuff, and then tell interviewers that they didn't realise that people they didn't know could see it.

  39. RW

    Yet another reason not to use FB.

  40. dervheid


    ...bye-eee, Good bye-eee,

    Stick your site, from whence you shite, how the fuck do you sleep at night.

    We need a ' get it up ye' icon.

  41. Jamie Jones Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Here come the downvotes.....

    I haven't used Facebook in a few years, but the information on my account is accurate.

    Most of it is generally set to public - if there is anything I would consider private, I'd never post it to a public internet site anyway.

    As for the "personal" information , it's nothing that 100's of people in my village don't know already.

    Facebook articles appear to bring out commentators with an overflated sense of importance, and obviously no experience of living in a community.

  42. bag o' spanners

    Send for CAPSLOCK!. For 'tis surely the end of days!


  43. Sarah Balfour

    Wish I could!

    Whilst I'd LOVE to be able to tell Fuckerberg to 'Zuck my dick' (metaphorically, obviously!) as a severely autistic person suffering from a chronic illness, it's simply not possible. FB and Twatter really ARE my only connections with the rest of the human race at the mo (as much as I LOATHE social networking of ANY kind, as I don't possess the social and interpersonal skills necessary, I'm forever accidentally offending and/or annoying people to the point where they block me - not their fault, and not mine, I was kept in solitary confinement (yes, really!) by the nuns at the minor public convent school to which my parents insisted on sending me, because public school is just what we do in this family. I was 'the devil's daughter' according to Attila The Nun (head) and she pulled me out of the dinner queue when I was around 5/6 and announced to the entire (pre)prep that they'd "burn in hell" if they had any contact with me as I was "evil" and I'd "corrupt" them! Maybe there were decent nuns around in the '70s/'80s, but I never met any of 'em!). I wasn't allowed contact with anyone until I entered the upper school at 11, by which time the damage had been done. That school DESTROYED me! I begged and begged to leave, but I wasn't allowed (I blame Dad's mother for that - she thought she was the queen (to this day, I'm the only one in this family who is staunchly republican - my sister ripped me to shreds last summer when I refused to attend any jubilee bollox!)).

    So I'm a sitting duck for the NSA (and whatever the Nazis are doing over here). I go through periods of not using it (enforced isolation because I'm trying to prevent myself putting pressure on people. I can't help it when I DESPERATELY NEED someone on my side - I end up putting so much pressure on them I drive them away. I can't help it, I KNOW it's not normal, but that doesn't mean I can stop it from happening. Right now, I need someone who can help me get my health back, because the NHS is refusing me treatment because *I* refuse to take bad advice (and it's not only BAD advice, it's advice that will exacerbate my health issues and give me others to cope with on top!). It's been over 2 years and I'm stuck in bed becoming weaker and weaker as the days go by - worse still, I'm living with my parents who seem to be content to let me suffer). Support here for people like me is non-existent, it ALL ceases once you hit 18.

    Sorry, I'm ranting, it happens (a lot!). That's why I read here and rarely - if ever - comment. Apologies if I've offended anyone. :*o( <3

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And my friends foster child was in tears on the phone with me last night as they've got to close their facebook acount down as they didn't want their family to find them.

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