back to article Facebook's inflection point: Now everyone knows this greedy mass surveillance operation for what it is

I've a special reason to remember Enron and the summers of 2000 and 2001. The mighty Enron was being lauded as a pioneer and an innovator. It was a Wall Street darling. IBM and AOL jumped into bed with Enron to create a new retail energy provider. The sun shone, and Californians had plenty of energy capacity. But behind the …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

    Current controversy aside, I do have to wonder just how effective their ads actually are. My gut instinct is: not very and that ad dollars are directed to them because a) advertisers don't know where else to spend those dollars with the decline in print, and b) advertisers believe they NEED to be buying there.

    It may be that they eventually decide to spend those dollars elsewhere, or forego the buy and keep that money as additional profit.

    1. djstardust Silver badge

      Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

      No-one ever clicks on the ads and most people ignore them.

      On Windows, and ad-blocker gets rid of them,. and 3rd party Android wrapper apps hide them too.

      I really don't know why companies use FB as an advertising platform as it seems a complete waste of money to me. I would never advertise my businesses with them.

      P.S. I was visiting Houston the week Enron collapsed. We went downtown to see their empty office block. The fallout was huge at the time. Being big doesn't make you immune to go out of business.

      Facebook has hurt legitimate selling platforms with their marketplace, damaged web forum communities with groups and created an entire platform for attention seeking idiots. Above that they have manipulated society which is not good for anyone. The quicker they are gone the better.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

      That is the trap we fall into. It's a bit like smoking, if you smoke you know it tastes horrible and does nothing for you yet you continue to do it convincing yourself that it does do something and that you aren't stupid enough to fall for it. That's the same with Ads, I could try to convince myself that ads don't effect me but then I would be lying to myself, for example on the very rare occasions I drink carbonated cola I buy diet coke, why is that? is it because it tastes better or is it because for most of my life I've been exposed to literally millions of coke ads? I could try to kid myself that it's the taste but in reality it's ads and the caffeine which I can get from any other brand of diet cola. It's a form of brainwashing, the ad could be rubbish or it could be brilliant, all it needs to get you to do is think of the brand then when you are out shopping and you want something you'll pick that brand. If you really are immune to advertising then in your weekly shop you would purchase absolutely no brand name products, you could argue some work better or taste better but have you tried all the non-brand named products first or have you just stuck with a brand after trying one other?

      There are probably (very likely) studies that back this up, the sales numbers for brand name products definitely back this up so advertising is never going to go away and people are always going to fall for it.

      Personally these days I usually only buy brand products when on special offer and never see ads because I don't watch television (no adverts internet films and tv for me) and use adblock and a pi-hole.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

        Actually, I drink Sunkist. It's not an advertised soda, and I settled on it after trying many other orange sodas and finding them lacking in orange flavor. I've also drunk RC which is also not advertised. Otherwise, it's usually whatever's convenient for me (I would really believe you if people made their restaurant/take-out choices based on the sodas they served).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reg7JuumgC8

          Sure, keep telling yourself that. Thanks for highlighting everything I said. We try to convince ourselves we are clever but by doing so we fall for the things we shouldn't. To err is human.

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

            'Cuke, it's Heaven in a Can!'...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

        @AC: I' m not arguing that advertising can't be effective. My question is to just how effective ads on FB or Google actually are. Speaking only for myself, I'd say not very - but, as you point out our perception may not be the best guide. OTH, I find the ads in the print edition of the WSJ to be effective to the point of generating several purchases. That may well be a generational thing.

        1. veti Silver badge

          Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

          If I had a share in Google for every time I've seen apparently intelligent people claiming that ads don't work, I could have retired a decade ago.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

            "If I had a share in Google for every time I've seen apparently intelligent people claiming that ads don't work, I could have retired a decade ago."

            No doubt you could. But what bearing does that have on the validity of the claim?

            I keep saying this: the one thing the advertising industry sells is advertising. Not soap. Not over-acidified flavoured fizzy sugar solutions. Not cars. Advertising.

            The real scandal of this is that the vendors of those products not sold by the advertising industry take good money from the rest of us as part of the price and give it to the advertising industry because they've been suckered into buying advertising. That's why your shares in Google would have prospered.

            1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

              Re: Worry, our data aren't as effective as we told you

              Current controversy aside, I do have to wonder just how effective their ads actually are.

              I think the real danger for Facepalm and Google is it's not the effectiveness of their ads, it's the effectiveness of their analytics and data. Advertisers are already questioning this, ie how effective their online spend really is in converting ads into purchases.

              The current crisis was brought about by CA's sales pitch to a prospective client, and making claims about how effective their data and analytics are in influencing customers. Facepalm's been roped into that via their data sharing, and litigation and regulatory investigations are going to offer a peek behind the curtain. So unless there's heavy redaction, there's the prospect of discovering what data are held, and how we're profiled.

              And I suspect advertisers will be looking very closely at that, because I know as a simple user, I'm often bombarded with adverts for stuff I'm very unlikely to buy because either the data or the profile of me is wrong. Ok, so that's partly my fault because I deliberately pollute my profile when I can. If the data is garbage, then so is the profile and any analytics applied to that.. Which is the Ratner problem. Don't worry, social network analysis is ineffective because of data quality.

              But that's also where a crisis presents opportunities. Facepalm and Google offer a profile page. If that actually showed their profile of us, then we'd have an opportunity to correct it. If we want. Or even have an interests option where we can show the kinds of things we may actually be interested in. Then adverts may actually be relevant and waste less of our time, or advertiser's money. I've always found it bizarre that none of the online ad behemoths ever bother asking content providers what ads they want to see.

              1. ravenviz Silver badge
                Big Brother

                Re: Worry, our data aren't as effective as we told you

                You don't even need to click on an ad, or buy anything. Advertising is clever, subliminal. The point of all this Facebook scandal is how the data (allegedly) could be used, and how clever designer advertising could be used to change opinion, or even voting habits. It's what's on the screen that you 'ignore', or may not even actually consciously register that is the worry. Just saying "I don't follow ads", or "they don't affect me" is what they want, because it gives the illusion that you are in control.

                And how many of us that "ignore ads" actually do see one in a hundred that are "now, that's interesting". Out of the billions of users, your click through along with a tiny proportion of the whole audience is just what the sellers are looking for. Seemingly though, that activity is now secondary.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Advertising is clever, subliminal.

                  Not really. Most is banal and amateurish. My wife spent her career in advertising, including being on the team for the Anheuser-Busch account (Spuds Mackenzie, the Budweiser frogs, Nights are made for Michelob), Cadillac, the then Southwestern Bell and others.

                  About that time one of the periodic books with their puffed up claims of subliminal advertising and other nonsense came out and the agency was besieged by people who had discovered all sorts of subliminal cues in their ads. None existed except in the minds of their discovers. Example: One ad featured three women in Budweiser swimsuits on a Budweiser Beach towel. The claim was that the women's hairdos were arranged to have an S, an E and an X spelling sex. If you wanted to find it and were willing to squint your eyes to blur the picture, you could conceivably stretch a point and say you saw it - or any other three letter word you can think of. But the people who put the ad together knew that it was all hogwash, like pretty much all the rest of those claims.

                  There are very few evil geniuses in the world, but there is an overabundance of the credulous and gullible.

                  1. Esme

                    Re: Advertising is clever, subliminal.

                    @BlockChainToo +1 from me for that. What advertising agencies really dont; want people to realise, IMHO, is that if all advertising stopped with immediate effect, people would still be buying stuff.. They'd still be buying roughly the same monetary amount of stuff, because of the way the economic system works. In short, advertising as a whole is mainly a job employment scheme for people in the advertising industry, at consumer expense.

                    What advertising does best for those with products to sell is to (a) initially inform folk of the presence of new products available to buy and (b) occasionally shift customer spend from one product to another. Whilst, yes, there is data that shows that advertising can be 'effective', what one needs to know is what is actually meant by 'effective' in that context. An advertisers notion of 'effective' may not be the same as that of a retailer or a consumer, who may be using different metrics. and even if 'effective' is there a causal link? Hmmmnn

                    Sometimes the local shops stock odd brands one generally doesn't hear of, and some of them are pretty good, and thus get not only an initial sale out of curiosity from me, but repeat sales with no advertising involved simply because they are available to try and of adequate or good quality. Advertising isn't essential - and its utility is overblown, IMHO.

                2. Jellied Eel Silver badge

                  Re: Worry, our data aren't as effective as we told you

                  You don't even need to click on an ad, or buy anything. Advertising is clever, subliminal. The point of all this Facebook scandal is how the data (allegedly) could be used, and how clever designer advertising could be used to change opinion, or even voting habits.

                  That's a theory. And it's a theory that's heavily sold by online marketeers who'll offer to influence in exchange for an agreeable portion of your online budget. But quantifying the effectiveness is never easy, and investigations into this affair may shed more light on that. Did any of CA's campaign work really surgically target voter's eyeballs, and persuade them to vote (or not vote) as advertised? If it didn't, then it raises more questions about the value of online campaigning.. Or help clarify the legalities around online political campaigning, along with privacy issues for data aggregators & potential abusers.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    "Did any of CA's campaign work really surgically target voter's eyeballs"

                    Just remember reinforcing bias is easier than selling a product - which requires people part with some of their money. In fact, it may be easier to make people buy more of the same product, than switching to a different one - coupons are a way to achieve it.

                    That makes Facebook, Google & C. data slurping even more scaring: they may discover that the data they collect are less useful to sell ads, than being used to reinforce people biases. And it may not end well...

                3. onefang Silver badge

                  Re: Worry, our data aren't as effective as we told you

                  "You don't even need to click on an ad, or buy anything. Advertising is clever, subliminal."

                  It's not going to be particularly subliminal if I never see the ad coz my ad blocker is working. Maybe the clever advert can convince my ad blocker to buy stuff, but my ad blocker doesn't have a credit card, bank account, or wallet, so I doubt it's gonna be buying anything any time soon.

            2. a pressbutton

              Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

              I have no idea how effective advertising is.

              I do know that Unilever has groups of people measuring exactly that, and suspect other similar companies do the same.

              Unilever spends billions.

              I view it as a sort of 'peacock' style evolution.

              If you spend nothing, you lose, if you spend, you needs to spend about the same as your competiors (certerus paribus) otherwise you lose.

              So the displays slowly grow until they restrict the ability to do something more useful, like product development.

      3. tom dial Silver badge

        Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

        I have known since I was about 10 that Coca-Cola tastes better than Pepsi-Cola. A few years later I learned a critical exception: Pizza must be taken with Pepsi rather than Coke, but the basic rule held otherwise. And a few years later came the realization that beer in its many forms is the only viable alternative to either.

        All of this wisdom came largely from experience and the guidance of contemporaries. I do not recall ads that told me Coke beat Pepsi, but certainly there were some, and a comparable number of Pepsi-Cola ads that said the opposite. And the beer ads were probably more numerous than either, and as inconsequential. I suspect the same is true of Google and Facebook ads (as well as The Register's push, which I largely avoid with either AdBlock or uBlock.

        1. MachDiamond Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

          Tom you fool (or youngster). Pizza should be taken with beer!

    3. Jove Bronze badge

      Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

      That is already happening - there are also several businesses looking at cutting there online ad spend by up to 50%.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

        Ah but FaceBook's adverts for their own advertising system is obviously very effective.

    4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
      Coat

      "It's compliemtary. It's not free." Words to *always* keep in mind.

      Orlowskis right.

      It's the fact they use all that content (Like the stuff I'm generating now as it happens) for free.

      Yet without it what is FaceBook?

      Remember the inscription of the statue that reads "For I am Ozymandias, King of Kings. See my works and tremble" and all that's left is the feet?

      Would it really take that much to turn FaceBook into the new MySpace? If a provider came along and paid for content?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: "It's compliemtary. It's not free." Words to *always* keep in mind.

        I believe it would take a lot more than that. After all, does Netflix hold a candle to YouTube? In the end those four little letters have such an allure that people would probably give their soul away as long as they see those magic words "Facebook is Free." As the comedian said, "You Can't Fix Stupid," and Stupid's gonna take the rest of us with them.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "Free"

          Until there's a universal standard anonymous online payment system that's as convenient as offline cash, "free" datamining- and advertising-supported clickbait garbage is the way.

          Alternatively, that form of pollution will subside as people shift from the Web to the new wave of decentralized privacy- and free-speech-oriented internet protocols.

      2. Jonathan Richards 1

        Re: "It's compliemtary. It's not free." Words to *always* keep in mind.

        The inscription on the statue was fictional, of course. Shelley said that he was reporting a traveller's tale: Ozymandias. How I wish I could write like that! And it was published just on two hundred years ago, I notice. In another two hundred years, Shelley's poetry will still be justly admired, and all today's Facebook posts will have long since disappeared.

      3. DavCrav Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: "It's compliemtary. It's not free." Words to *always* keep in mind.

        "For I am Ozymandias, King of Kings. See my works and tremble"

        It should be

        "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair".

        FTFY, for once entirely appropriately.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: "It's compliemtary. It's not free." Words to *always* keep in mind.

          "Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair".

          Maybe it was a mistranslation, and should have been "Look on my feet, ye mighty, and despair."

    5. LDS Silver badge

      Not all ads are crated - and placed - equal

      Ads may be effective, or may be just a nuisance people utterly ignore. Online ads are mostly in the latter category, albeit FB & Google marketing are very able to convince people they are fully in the former.

      Probably very targeted ads to the most gullible people have a higher return - but overall, they don't. Even people who don't use an ad blocker learn to ignore ads and find contents on the page - which in turn led to even more invasive ads which obtain the wrong result - people hate them.

      Just look at how site news struggle to make revenues from ads, and have to add more and more of them, and a lot of click baits in attempt to make some money. In a magazine, you may give a look to a well laid out ad for a product you could be interested in, especially if it also has some useful data in (features, prices, etc.). But puts lots of bad ones on every right page, and you'll lose the reader interest quickly. Same for the web - clutter a page with many different flashy ads, and you've lost the reader. But they are interested in just selling lots of ads, not at making the effective, which would be much more difficult and expensive.

      Especially since it's very difficult for advertising to measure the effects of their ads, since the ads platforms controls both delivery and their metrics - quite impossible for third parties have independent measures. So, basically, advertiser have to trust them - and nobody is ready to call "the emperor has no clothes!" for fear of looking stupid.

    6. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Wait a minute...

      Isn't El Reg "free" in exactly the same way as Google and Facebook?

      Really, I don't recall ever being solicited for payment by Situation Publishing.

      Just sayin'.

      Also, I think conflating advertising with snooping is disingenuous. The two are not synonymous, they're not even inextricable. Certainly neither Google nor Facebook seem to get that, but it's true nonetheless. There's no particular reason why a company can't just advertise, without slurping your private bits.

      On the other hand, everyone hates spam. Everyone. Except spammers, obviously. So a business model that relies exclusively on spamming is doomed to failure.

      On the third hand, the idea that the future of society is culture locked behind a paywall, and only avariciously rationed out in micro-transactions, is truly a dystopian nightmare.

      In reality the outcome would amount to global censorship, governed by the selfish laws of capitalism. The world would fall silent, save for the privileged few with more money than they know what to do with. The poor, which is at least 80% of the global population, remember, and which is already socially isolated by inadequate access to education and communications, would be locked out of an elitist information society altogether. And the majority of the remaining 20%, leading a meagre subsistence lifestyle with little to no disposable income, would be disinclined to waste precious resources on this universal lockdown of paywall culture.

      It'd be like a reversion to pre-industrial society, for all but the one-percenters. In fact it'd devolve humanity further than that, back to the middle ages, before the advent of Gutenberg.

      Clearly there's a problem with the current paradigm, but it's not because of open society, it's because the gatekeepers of this open society are inadequately regulated, or in fact not really regulated at all. More fundamentally, it's because there are gatekeepers, when there really shouldn't be. Those decentralised solutions that currently lie on the fringes of society need to be adopted as global standards, pushed through by governments if necessary (and clearly it is), to ensure that Big Money can't possibly slurp your data, because Big Money no longer exists.

      There's your solution. Wipe out corporatocracy, not open society.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Wait a minute...

        There will ALWAYS be control. It is simply human nature. If you don't take control, someone else will. The 1% are probably trying to close off the walled garden so they can just hash it out among themselves.

    7. John Crisp

      Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

      Most ads are about brand awareness and long term impression than immediate sales. Sure you hook a few with your latest deal (cos we all like a bargain) but it's still about the long term.

      The companies advertising don't do it for fun, and have a fairly decent set of analytics to measure the effectiveness.

      The problem then becomes in making sure your brand is better remembered than the opposition. The rest is just an arms race. For which Feckbook, Gobble et al are eternally grateful.

      The most effective advertising is when people don't even realise they've been had. Which is a large chunk of the population.

      Note also how careful shops are in directing you round, and how much companies pay to get a certain product on exactly the right spot on the shelf. A difference of up or down one shelf, or being beside the right or wrong product, can have a large impact on sales. All carefully choreographed.

      Always makes me smile when people say none of this has never affected them. So naive. We never like to think we've been manipulated. But the reality is most have been in some way.

      (Day job has been in Promotional Merchandise for donkeys years so have a vague idea about the subject)

      1. rmason Silver badge

        Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

        @John Crisp

        Yup.

        As bright and wonderful as we all like to think we are it (the arrangement of shops) does work.

        This is why I (and many others I suspect) can't step foot in a tesco (or similar) without a 30-50 quid minimum spend. Regardless of what you go in for you double up with "ooh BOGOF" and the various things on the end of the rows on offer.

        It's not coincidence that the bottles of whisky and gin that have enough money off them to tempt you, are the one's you'll see even if you don't travel to the booze aisles.

    8. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

      "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don't know which half."

      - John Wanamaker

    9. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: don't worry, our ads aren't as effective as we told you

      @BlockchainToo

      Thanks - that's the most relevant comment of all in this debate. I've written a piece about this (predates this one), but we haven't run it yet.

      Consider that most people block out ads (and many run ad-blockers), and that behavioural targeting is soooo good, I get targeted with Club18-30 holidays, while students get targeted with retirement ads from Saga. The whole business is borked - something Zuckerberg can't admit - or at least nowhere near as effective as he wants us to believe.

      The 2016 Election was a freak result, but I think this might have had more to do with it:

      https://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/05/politics/trump-clinton-debate-prep/index.html - in fact, have a look at Clinton's campaign schedule for the final month.

  2. Danny 2 Silver badge

    ICO is go!

    7:10pm on a Friday night and the court finally grants a warrant to the ICO. I hope they break down the doors with an axe tonight but I suspect the two CA QCs kicked it into next week as they'd aimed to.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: ICO is go!

      Mission accomplished. All documents have been removed by now. The delivery vans were running crates overtime for the last 48h. The pictures are all over the media. Very cute crates. Big ones. In fact, I want to know who is their crate supplier - I would like to get some of these.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: ICO is go!

        These crates? Higher resolution: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DYuxj8XWkAA0KdJ.jpg

        More importantly, who are those guys moving the crates? Nix and Oakes? Do they even have employees? :)

        Interesting, but I have a feeling this CYA exercise is a mere sideshow in the grand scheme.

        1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
          Black Helicopters

          Follow the crates!

          @troland

          These Crates? The side of one of those crates appears to to be marked "Teacrate plc"

          https://www.teacrate.com/

          Let's hope the "ico." investigators are not too late - shirley, there is more than a whiff of suspicion that the documents that were removed from the site could be connected with the investigation, in which case they could apply to the courts to get a warrant to serve on the crate supplier to reveal who hired those crates and the destination

      2. onefang Silver badge

        Re: ICO is go!

        "The pictures are all over the media. Very cute crates. Big ones. In fact, I want to know who is their crate supplier - I would like to get some of these."

        Well that bit of subliminal advertising worked out well then.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ICO is go!

      The reason it took so long is that Cambridge analytica argued that since Facebook told them to delete the data there is nothing for them to see and they also offered to supply them what data they had by Monday so I've got a nice empty bag of popcorn for the outcome of that. One could argue that it has all panned out perfectly as planned for the government and team leave.

      This is rather interesting though,

      https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/cambridge-analytica-bragged-we-have-vast-data-for-brexit-vote-a3797441.html

  3. macjules Silver badge

    Thanks

    At least people are now addressing the Zuckerphant in the room. To be honest I would have expected the Antisocial Network CEO to have lawyered up and taken advice.

    1. J. R. Hartley Silver badge

      Re: Thanks

      Why stop with the Zucc? Let's get Tim nice but Berners-Lee in for a chat.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thanks

      I assume he did lawyer up, hence the long silence.

  4. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Coat

    Criminality...

    The new normal.

    Picking this bloke's pocket.

    Because I can...

    1. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

      Re: Criminality...

      More like, "Because he never said I couldn't...."

      They take it as read that if you sign up, you and everything you pass them is there's to do as they wish. As a photographer, I and many I know we utterly hate social media but we have no choice but to use it to a greater or lesser extent. The second we upload an image, the social media networks claim they can do whatever they like short of claiming copyright. FB has 2 billion users, FB can use any picture they're given and make an advert using it on their network and you won't get a penny. However if we don't engage with social media, someone else will and we won't get the potential reach and possible new customers and we can't make a decent living. They have creatives, photographers, artists, designers and musicians over a barrel and they know it.

      1. rmason Silver badge

        Re: Criminality...

        We all know it's worse than that.

        They've not done it because people didn't say no. People *explicitly* said yes. They (me included, naturally) just have a tendency to not read what we are agreeing to.

        We all know they've acted within terms agreed to, the legality of those terms is the bit yet to be decided.

        When you install either FB or FB messenger on your phone, you're plagued with helpful suggestions to "let us help find your friends online" type messages (and with messenger it's automatically granted, you can say "no" to letting it act as your text messaging app, but not to the "scrape your phone" bit). Click yes and get your phone scraped for the lot. They have ALL of your contacts, texts and anything else stored on your phone (US journo recently did a data request from FB to find they had literally every text message she's ever sent). It might not be legal, but they do ask permission, in the t's and c's that are rarely ever read, and people happily oblige.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "but we have no choice but to use it to a greater or lesser extent"

        Maybe - the key is "lesser extent". If you need a FB presence for your job, use it just for that. Limit what you post, knowing you lose most control of it. Strip images of any metadata (but copyright) before uploading. Resize them at just the right resolution for their intended on-site use, sharpen for screen, and deliver in sRGB, good to display on any screen, but less useful elsewhere.

        Add a watermark, FB is not liable if *other* users remove it and upload, but it can't remove it itself (although it tried: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/05/29/facebook_photo_engineer_photograph_watermarks/), it's not a strong protection, but it's a Copyright Act and DMCA violation removing it (and outside US may be a violation also, FB lost already a similar case in Germany), easier to pursue illegal uses, if you like.

        Of course, use the ones you can afford to lose, still giving a decent showcase of your work.

        Engage with customers, if needed, but nothing else, especially, don't mix it with anything personal. It's, of course, far better if you have separate addresses and telephone numbers for your job and personal life.

        Use it to drive customers to your own website, hopefully hosted on systems you have a great degree of control on how your data is used.

        Anyway, it's that " someone else will and we won't get the potential reach and possible new customers" that will chain you - it's not so true. I trust more a photographer with a good portfolio on his or her professional laid out site, than someone with a FB page...

        At that point, it may be more important to rank well in search engines for your area, and ensure visitor are "captured" by your site and services/products (and prices).

        Use socials - if you need to - don't let them use you. Know your rights.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Regulators to the Rescue (of Zuck)!

    Don't worry - Zuck is open to regulation, even looking forward to it! And why wouldn't he? His lobbyists will write the regulations, the cheaply whored-out congresscritters will pass them, and then all of the stuff people are squirming about today will suddenly be just fine because it's Officially The Law now. We live in a world that has substituted philosophy and ethics with rules compliance, and the rules are enacted by the lowest form of ignorant scum (politicians).

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Regulators to the Rescue (of Zuck)!

      "His lobbyists will write the regulations, the cheaply whored-out congresscritters will pass them, and then all of the stuff people are squirming about today will suddenly be just fine because it's Officially The Law now."

      Ah. The view from the US. The laws Congress pass apply to the whole world.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Regulators to the Rescue (of Zuck)!

        Well the EU including the UK are rushing to pass laws equivalent to COPPA since that's what US tech multinationals have implemented worldwide and who's going to tell them now to make an exception for little old them?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We live in a world that has substituted philosophy and ethics with rules compliance

      I could grudgingly accept even this were the rules applied to everyone equally. Sadly, Orwell was right. Some people ARE more equal than others.

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    Digital advertising was already in trouble – failing to offer brands a great advantage over traditional, "wasteful" advertising

    That's because they don't appreciate digital advertising's greatest benefit: adblockers. Remember "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted and I don't know which half"? Adblockers should give advertisers a big hint.

  7. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "What's Facebook?" - Musk

    Elon Musk has deleted the Facebook pages of SpaceX and Tesla, apparently because he was dared to.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/facebook-elon-musk-spacex-tesla-delete-whatsapp-pages-disappeared-removed-a8270886.html

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

      Re: "What's Facebook?" - Musk

      In a world, with no Facebook...

      The Reaction;

      You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you

      - Charlton Heston

      The Reality:

      Life finds a way

      -Jeff Goldblum

    3. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: "What's Facebook?" - Musk

      Okay, these days I'm a bit unsure whether my definition of "irony" aligns with the accepted one; is this it? Following immediately the "SpaceX's Facebook is gone" article:

      "The Independent's bitcoin group on Facebook is the best place to follow the latest discussions and developments in cryptocurrency. Join here for the latest on how people are making money – and how they're losing it."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    People will forget...

    ...it will all blow over and people will flock back to Facef*ck because of habit and it's where their "friends" are.

    If Facef*ck were smart they'd engineer a war to disrupt the news cycle.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Re: People will forget...

      > If Facef*ck were smart they'd engineer a war to disrupt the news cycle.

      Well, John "never saw a war he didn't like" Bolton's just been hired as National Security Advisor...

      1. JLV Silver badge

        Re: People will forget...

        Oh, Bolton didn't much like the Nam, that's why he stayed the heck away, safe @ National Guard.

        Chickenhawk, following in the footsteps of Dick Cheney who did the same.

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: People will forget...

      If Facef*ck were smart they'd engineer a war to disrupt the news cycle.

      Life imitating art? - "TomorrowFacebook Never Dies"

      "James Bond heads to stop a media mogul's plan to induce war between China and the UK in order to obtain exclusive global media coverage. "

      https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120347

      Media Mogul - Mark Zuckerberg

      Bond - Alistair Dabbs

      M - Madame Dabbs

      1. erikborgo

        Re: People will forget...

        It's too much power for one platform.

        Facef*ck really could do it.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: People will forget...

      Most Facebook user will never forget. They have nothing to forget as cocooned within their own reality they are blissfully unaware.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: People will forget...

        I did an experiment 5 years ago, creating, using and then deleting accounts, and them coming after 3 months to try and find my online presence.

        Facebook didn't delete what they knew about me, only my public facing account. Apple didn't either. Yahoo, Google and Microsoft (surprisingly) all did as asked.

        Even now, 5 years later, that deleted Facebook account and it's friends data is still around, associated to my IP address. I don't have a Facebook account, they are data scumbags, but creating a fake account from my IP address, with no real info, still suggests my mum and my work colleagues as friend suggestions. Stored data about friends and IP addresses is the only way this could happen.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: People will forget...

          "Stored data about friends and IP addresses is the only way this could happen."

          Or a cookie set to never expire miraculously surviving in a particularly uneventful environment. Or your unchanged browser/system fingerprint.

      2. rmason Silver badge

        Re: People will forget...

        Dead right AC.

        Even if they know, they don't care.

        There are FAR more of them than those who *do* care.

    4. rmason Silver badge

      Re: People will forget...

      I can't see there being much "flocking back"

      Most users don't give a shit. They haven't left in the first place, and it won't even have entered their heads to consider it.

      The people who care about such things (currently), are a tiny majority.

      That'll change the first time this data is used to take someone's benefits, or as evidence that they were buying drugs etc (they have in most of our cases, our text messages, all of them).

      1. alexmcm

        Re: People will forget...

        "The people who care about such things (currently), are a tiny majority."

        Hey even I tiny majority will do. So given they have 2.2 billion accounts, a tiny majority of 1.1 billion +1 people all quiting their accounts will do nicely, for a start.

      2. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

        Re: People will forget...

        "a tiny majority"

        I guess you meant "minority"?

        I think it's a minority too, but probably not a tiny one.

        However, the most active users will probably let their addiction rule over their sense. Besides, they already "did the deed", so why quit now?

  9. Milton Silver badge

    Self-certiifcation for idiots

    There is very little that's good about Facebook—or Twitter, or most of the rest of social media sewer—but as a never-user I have finally realised that it has at least one advantage.

    For the whole of history, it has been relatively difficult to assess the number of idiots in the population. Yes, you do kind of know, almost by osmosis, that there are an awful lot—just through ordinary quotidian experience, shopping, driving on the roads and such. But, short of scientifically adding up the number of Daily Mail readers and other consumers of drivel-for-children, it's never been easy to come up with a reliable number.

    Now, however, Facebook has provided a useful public service and made this one thing so much simpler.

    Doing an idiot count in your nation? Just tally up the number of people with Facebook accounts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Self-certiifcation for idiots

      Yawn. Fine, if you don't have the self control to use these tools in a sensible way, by all means don't. But please, spare us your boring sanctimoniousness.

    2. Oh Homer Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Facebook idiot count

      Not entirely fair.

      I was forced to create a Facebook account, under extreme protest, by a training company that claimed it was an absolute requirement of the course. In turn the course was an absolute requirement of my job. Resistance was futile.

      Sorry, but there was no way I was going to quit a highly lucrative job because; "I don't like Facebook".

      As soon as the course was completed, I deleted my Facebook page.

      Unfortunately I predict that may not be the last time this happens. Companies are becoming increasingly insistent on using Facebook for various purposes, and I suspect this latest scandal will not deter them in the slightest.

      Instead of persecuting the victims, let's have a blacklist of companies that base any of their infrastructure on Facebook, or even use it for non-critical purposes.

      Yes I know. Pointless. The total number of people who would even be aware of the existence of this blacklist, would be limited to the 96 commentards in this thread.

      This CA scandal, and the ensuing mainstream coverage, will only briefly enlighten the masses ... before they resume sheep-ness as usual.

      Baaaa!

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Facebook idiot count

        "Sorry, but there was no way I was going to quit a highly lucrative job because; "I don't like Facebook"."

        Ever heard of constructive dismissal?

        Principles are easy when they don't cost you anything, you only really know if you will stick to them when there is a price to pay for keeping them.

        Hint: If you are afraid to lose something - it controls you.

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: Facebook idiot count

          I'm not the OP, but nonetheless - ever heard of "priorities"? How about "Maslow"? I care deeply about my privacy and am willing to go to surprising lengths to protect it. But I would care about having food to eat a whole fucking lot more...

          1. Oh Homer Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: "care about having food to eat"

            Yes, like my granny used to say; "You can't eat principles".

            Not that I don't have principles, but if I'm going to become a martyr for a cause, it'll have to be for something a bit more significant than Facebook. For everything else, the "live to fight another day" approach seems far more sensible.

            As for constructive dismissal, I'm fairly certain that if I told ACAS I quit because "I don't like Facebook", they'd laugh me out off their offices, and I'd still end up destitute (and probably unemployable). They'd be wrong, of course, but then explaining the significance of this to technophobic dinosaurs is about as futile as explaining why email replies should be underneath the message they're replying to, not on top.

            You just get the "dead stare". It's pointless. Not only would I martyring myself for something ridiculous, and not only would nobody give a damn about my sacrifice, but none of them would even have the slightest clue why I did it.

  10. Andy 73

    People may be outraged...

    ...but still can't get over the hump of actually having to pay for stuff.

    It only seems to happen where companies do it by stealth.. Netflix is YouTube with a subscription fee. If they wanted to they could start poaching the top Play channels and actually pay people proper money for content - even offering an order of magnitude more than Google currently pay still only means handing over a fraction of a cent per view.

    But hey, free is even better.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    "being lauded as a pioneer and an innovator"

    That sounds like distractive/distructive innovation and the mob of young wannabe's selling it

    some have got rich quick by redefining some part of our lives so that we need them.

    We don't,

    It (most of it) is not needed, what they killed off was more valuable and well tested, to improve it would have given us even more value for less.

    A Pioneering is forging new ground not trashing the old ground once again & Innovation is providing real solutions for real problems, not killing off what did work, often very well.

    Zuck was on a trend, it was great for Uni students and probably still is, but there are so many other systems out there that people prefer like speaking face to face or talking on the phone.

    Why everybody wanted the kiddie tour to never end was a premature mid-life crisis - well we're over it now.

    Can we get back to normal.......oh where did all that stuff that really worked go, we want it back !!!

  12. Herbert Fruchtl
    Facepalm

    Limited resources

    The data feeding frenzy will not stop because people suddenly protect their privacy and eschew free messaging. It will stop because everybody already has all the informmation, so it loses its monetary value.

    Facebook: I'll sell you Andrew Orlowski's complete profile for 5 quid.

    Google: £4.50!

    Facebook: £4. Special deal!

    His mobile phone provider, teamed up with Amazon: 20p. It's not our primay business, but we have it.

    At some point there is nothing left to steal...

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Limited resources

      That's why they add value with the super secret special proprietary algorithm that they're not going to say how it works because it's so good and the competition might copy it.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Limited resources

        "That's why they add value"

        The only value FB has is in suckering the advertising industry to advertise on it. The only value the advertising industry has is in suckering advertisers to take money from their customers and give it to them. It's all a big con.

        1. ravenviz Silver badge

          Re: Limited resources

          These platforms were once seen as a useful way of advertising your wares; targeted: even better! But now there is a gamut of such platforms, the list of links to click on any website that companies must have a presence on to 'remain competitive' seems ever growing. So actually this is forcing companies into competition to 'keep up', in case their competitors register on 'the next big thing' platform and get that extra 0.01% visibility.

    2. Ropewash

      Re: Limited resources

      >>At some point there is nothing left to steal...<<

      That's a nice sentiment, but there's 400,000 new things to steal born on this planet every day.

      1. rmason Silver badge

        Re: Limited resources

        @Ropewash

        Absolutely.

        They also want your data to be constantly updated and current.

        They don't need to know what *you 12 months ago* wanted. They need to know which of those thing you've already purchased and what new things you're looking for this week.

        It's not grab once and forget. It's a constant siphon they need.

    3. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge

      Re: Limited resources

      It's not just pure info, it's media content.

      All that media, photos, videos and music being uploaded says just as much as some wittering post about some guy's dog. With tech like AWS Rekognition all that media is being scanned too, looking for trends, clues and information about how to force feed us more shit we don't need and never wanted.

      Imagine all the teenagers uploading pictures of themselves, every thing in this pics is scanned, clothes, hair, make-up, faces, body shapes and sizes, cars, phones, colours, everything scanned for how the next piece of unwanted cack can be sold to the next generation of kids.

      You could take away the text boxes and it'll still survive, it'll just turn into another Instagram. Or add text boxes and turn Instagram into Twitter/Facebook. Add video to Twitter and you have Vine/Snapchat. They're all the same and no matter what you do they will simply morph into each other.

      1. rmason Silver badge

        Re: Limited resources

        @FuzzyWuzzys

        Spot on.

        People just don't get how much stuff they get, nor just how many people are at it.

        The people who make the roomba hoover-bot things were even caught at it. What on earth do thye have on us that they can sell you ask?

        The size and number of rooms in your property. They use this to guesstimate your worth and amount of disposable income you might have.

        with this data *and* data from somewhere like FB, they can figure out how much of a target you are.

        Are you a person with little spare money who just wanted/saved up for a roomba? Or is you house (and therefore you bank account) of a certain size?

        It's not much, but they still sold/sell that data. In the right/wrong hands it's another bit filled in, and another box ticked regarding people's habits and purchasing power.

  13. Phukov Andigh Bronze badge

    if its all about the social validation and dopamine kick

    then it won't matter. tell people heroin or tobacco is bad for them but they do it anyway

    the FB faithful will not be swayed. Just as Snowden revelations didn't do d*ck to get people to understand that putting a D instead of an R on the presidential ticket means you're getting the same crap but in a better advertised bag.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: if its all about the social validation and dopamine kick

      Or like I've put it, smokers are the people most likely to call cigarettes Cancer Sticks. They know it'll kill them but they don't care since everyone dies; they're just picking their poison.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: if its all about the social validation and dopamine kick

        @Charles 9 - If they didn't stink so much, I'd probably still be smoking.

        Having said that, the pictures on the side of the boxes that showed someone with half their face missing did actually have an effect on me that led to giving up. Dying is one thing, having half your face eaten away by cancer is something else - people can face death because there are, literally, no personal consequences (allegedly). Being alive but in constant pain and disfigured etc. is a lot harder to rationalise away.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other beneficiaries

    There are other beneficiaries who could have done something about this data leak, but it did not suit them.

    Consider the parts of government tasked with the theft of their citizens, HM Revenue and Customs in the UK, the IRS is the USA, &c. They love facebook because it enables to look at people's lifestyles without having to go the the usual tedious steps of actually gathering evidence for warrants &c. It also allow them to build social networks to build cases of guilt by association. How do you think the IRS knew to ask the NSA to steal the Panama Papers from Mossack Fonseca and then leak them to Bastian Obermayer.

    For similar reasons, organisations like MI5, FBI and internal security services love social media for similar reasons when they are pursuing the bad guys. Other organisations similarly like it for these reasons. Mind, bad guys also use it in this way.

    Because of the utility of social media, this has inhibited discussion on it limits, how and if it should be regulated &c. Basically, all parties were a little fearful of (a) losing their benefits, and (b) looking rather foolish if they questioned very popular technologies.

    Now this inevitable crisis has happened, perhaps we should start these discussions. The starting point is that there are great benefits to social media, but there can also be great harms, and how do we balance them.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Other beneficiaries

      I knew someone who worked for a small government agency and they said they frequently used social media to track suspects and build a case against them,

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What it will take for people to change

    Most users aren't aware of the long term vision held by Facebook and Google etc. Like Banksters studying bonds or the yield curve, they're looking out 20-50-100 years and asking: "Why don't we disrupt - everything"?

    "Lets be the data broker between every firm and every human (universal custom pricing). Better yet, lets be the world's storefront for every firm you ever use. Hell, we can just BE every other firm, cut the rest out - period. Its hard for humans to appreciate that in its entirety, or drip feeding small bits of personal info over such a long time frame. That's why on a personal level, climate change is hard to see. Why should 'Data-oil' be different?

    So don't hold out hope for sea change here... But what could create a change in the near term is political corruption... People in general, of any age / culture get that easily... They don't have to understand the nuances of how people's data is monetized, to feel the stench and sting of political interference. Most of the world suffers from this type of political injustice and manipulation. So maybe that will be enough to get users to unplug...

    Example:

    https://colombiareports.com/cambridge-analytica-claims-it-supported-political-campaigns-in-colombia/

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: What it will take for people to change

      "Why should 'Data-oil' be different?"

      Data and oil are very different.

      Oil is a source of energy. Energy is useful. You can do actual work with it.

      "Data" in the sense it's being used here is of very dubious intrinsic value. The most intrinsically valuable piece of data about me as far as advertisers are concerned is that I react very negatively to being advertised at and that's the one piece of data that the advertising industry would want to keep away from their suckers advertiser clients.

      1. Ledswinger Silver badge

        Re: What it will take for people to change

        Data and oil are very different. Oil is a source of energy. Energy is useful.

        The physical usefulness to the end user is not relevant to the producer. Even for oil producers, they produce and sell oil because other people will give them money for it. Management consultancies produce Powerpoint slides because people will give them money for it. Newspapers used to produce newspapers because people gave them money for them, and so it goes on.

        The lack of tangibility is irrelevant, all that matters is whether something you have can be exchanged for money. I'd agree with your other comments about advertising being a self-referential scam, but so long as some people believe a commodity has value, then it most certainly does. I suspect that what you can say about data is that its value is over-believed by about three orders of magnitude, and that big data is enjoying its South Sea Bubble moment. Every company in the land is kidding itself that it can either "monetise" its customer data, either by selling it on, or by somehow being able to sell a load more tat to its own customers. When companies realise that (for example) the energy consumption data for a household over a whole year is worth a couple of quid or less, and that having that data exposes them to existential business risk, it will all start to cool down. The ad-slingers will still be operating a scam on ad-buyers, but that's always been the case.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Banksters 2.0

    Reg readers and parts of the MSM have picked up on how big tech has morphed into Banksters 2.0 (Data-Oil etc). However the problem with looking to Enron or WorldCom or any of the blow ups from that time period is, it didn't change behavior. Investors just shifted from Banksters to Big-Tech, as the colorful comedy movie: 'Fun With Dick & Jane' hints at.

    So any change here must come from investors. They are the real customers of Facebook, even above advertisers. If confidence falls, if investors fear a Bitcoin like retrenchment, it might cause enough customers to withdraw their money from the bank - then the bank could fail. But overall screw the investors, they created these data monsters, and they continue to create even more everyday from IoT everything to data slurping Car firms - (CES 2018)!

    Another factor that isn't mentioned much, is how the recent resurgent Anti-American sentiment could affect Facebook like firms, if it all... US tourism is definitely getting hit, it started long before Trump too. But with Trump, people in Latin America are trying to boycott American made products. What if people also shun US firms who shit all over privacy....???

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

      Re: Banksters 2.0

      "What if people also shun US firms who shit all over privacy....???"

      We can but dream my AC friend :)

  17. ah umaway
    Go

    This reminds me of a Simpsons episode featuring a roller-coaster named "The Enron Ride of Broken Dreams".

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do Hitler, Nix and Zuckerberg have in common?

    Amphetamines? Called Adderall these days? Confers certain psychological traits? Note I am asking a question?

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: What do Hitler, Nix and Zuckerberg have in common?

      @AC

      One ball?

      Note: I too am asking a question.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: What do Hitler, Nix and Zuckerberg have in common?

        "One ball?"

        Which of them has it?

  19. tom dial Silver badge

    I will believe in Facebook's decline when I see the number of users drop by a significant amount. I am not about to hold my breath.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I will believe in Facebook's decline

      Well, the numbers Facebook supplies really aren't credible. But the fact that their numbers show a 20% decline in traffic in the last quarter of last year would seem to be significant.

  20. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone....location data..."

    "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone where location data was truly yours to control."

    Settings, Apps & notifications, App permissions, Location, select option Show system.

    Then you find On/Off switches per app, including System thingies.

    Asus Zenfone 3 (from late-2016 I think) running Oreo.

    Welcome to the future.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone....location data..."

      Yes. You, I and everyone else here have known this since forever, but he meant "by default" and that is still in the future.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone....location data..."

        Plus the application that menace you about not working if you don't give 'em all the rights they ask... even when you wonder why they need them...

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone....location data..."

          "Plus the application that menace you about not working if you don't give 'em all the rights they ask... even when you wonder why they need them..."

          Like Google Daydream for instance. Why a VR app, that is designed for sitting in a chair type VR, needs to know exactly where on Earth that specific chair is while you are sitting in it with a brick strapped to your face is beyond me. I have a brick strapped to my face, that chairs not going anywhere, it's only spinning in place.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone....location data..."

            Oh? What if the chair has wheels and it's rolling without your knowledge because, you know, you're basically BLIND?

            1. onefang Silver badge

              Re: "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone....location data..."

              "Oh? What if the chair has wheels and it's rolling without your knowledge because, you know, you're basically BLIND?"

              If at that point a little popup appears telling you "Watch out for the cat, and the wall behind it!", then it might be worth it. Doesn't do that though.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone....location data..."

      I'll give you a tenner if you can find the location permission toggle for Play Services on Android 8.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

        Re: "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone....location data..."

        Dan55 correctly noted, "...if you can find the location permission toggle for Play Services on Android 8."

        Yes, it's called the Power Switch. :-)

        I wonder if there are other approaches, such as Airplane Mode.

        Push comes to shove, disable your GPS. Delete a critical driver file, or cut a trace. Or use a burner phone. Or leave your phone at home.

      2. onefang Silver badge

        Re: "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone....location data..."

        "I'll give you a tenner if you can find the location permission toggle for Play Services on Android 8."

        Even methods used to provide fake location details don't work on Google apps. Well, not without root.

  21. Stork Bronze badge

    Our experience is varied

    We rent out holiday accommodation.

    Last year Google Adwords worked, not wonderfully but about on level with the cut Booking.com takes. This year it was a loss.

    FB has not given a single booking so far, but worked when advertising for cleaners.

    To me it is scary that some small companies rely on FB for their web presence. No website, just a FB page.

    On a personal level, I just don't get FB. The interface is a royal mess, I can never find anything. Which is also why my contribution is very limited (but organising things with other parents just don't happen without it).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Our experience is varied

      “(but organising things with other parents just don't happen without it)”

      Facebook’s entire business model is built on that “but”.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Our experience is varied

      "but organising things with other parents just don't happen without it"

      Right now is your opportunity. Dropping FB is suddenly becoming trendy. They may just need the push to join the trend.

      Organising stuff for our grandchildren, as far as we're concerned, has to happen and does happen without it.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Our experience is varied

        "but organising things with other parents just don't happen without it"

        There is always a better way. Faecebook is the lazy way but things are always better if you do it properly.

        Get two or more parents to feel more ethical and relete their Faecebook account, then you'll have to do it properly.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Our experience is varied

          "There is always a better way."

          Oh? Then prove Alan Turing wrong and solve the Halting Problem.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: "Dropping FB is suddenly becoming trendy. They may just need the push to join the trend."

        The only thing trending is celebrities talking about doing it, or even doing it in some cases. Doesn't matter.

        Joe User is not going to frop FB because there is nothing to replace it. MySpace is gone, Yahoo! is dead, there is nothing even in sight of challenging FB on functionality, forget replacing it. Even Google dropped its foray into the arena, despite hipster support that didn't really last all that long.

        So no, leaving FB is not going to trend because the mindless idiots have nowhere else to post all the pics of their kids/family/spouse/latest purchase and pretend to be intellectual while posting duckface pics.

  22. Carlie J. Coats, Jr.

    Copyright

    Absent explicit "work for hire" agreement in advance, copyright for performance art belongs to the performer (not the idiot behind the camera). And for performing my life, I am the performer.

    Why should not all this aggregation of my life be massive copyright violation for commercial gain, a criminal offense?

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Copyright

      "Why should not all this aggregation of my life be massive copyright violation for commercial gain, a criminal offense?"

      1. It'll be buried in the T&Cs that you're granting them a licence if not the actual copyright. It will be explicit.

      2. Even it wasn't it's usually a matter of civil rather than criminal law.

      3. If it's people you know entering data about you without your permission it could be if you were living in the right jurisdiction.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only an idiot gives their details to FB

    Yes, I'm looking at you.

    Idiot!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only an idiot gives their details to FB

      Quit looking at me. I'm not on FB. As to the idiot part: you're just guessing.

    2. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Only an idiot gives their details to FB

      When governments and companies start demanding to know why you have no social media presence, what kind of a freak are you for not posting your mindless, hum-drum existence online every 30 secs, then we'll be in trouble....oh wait.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only an idiot gives their details to FB

        "When governments and companies start demanding to know why you have no social media presence,"

        Happened to me in an interview with a bank, and this was over 10 years ago. They thought it very suspicious that they couldn't find any kind of online presence for me. I explained that since I worked on highly confidential networks and systems it was probably a bad idea to give out loads of details that could be used to pry that information out of me - and as an example I mentioned I would have the entire layout for their network and firewalls etc. at my disposal.

        Once he understood, I left - no way I was going to work for someone that short-sighted and ignorant.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Only an idiot gives their details to FB

          And if EVERYONE was that short-sighted and ignorant?

  24. The Dogs Meevonks

    I do my utmost...

    to make any data collected about me next to worthless. A combination of plugins which include ad blockers, script blockers, social media widget blockers and of course cookie blockers.

    I also use more than one browser, having specific browsers for specific tasks, so that they cannot collate any data about any other site I visit. I use a VPN so that my ISP cannot collect data on what I'm doing... Just the quantity of bandwidth I'm consuming.

    I have no facebook account, I don't use twitter although I do have an account and I don't allow 99% of social apps anywhere near my phone. I use fake names for most sites and I use a variety of usernames/handles across forums and so forth to further make it hard to link me to anything I do online.

    I take my privacy very seriously... and if you search for my real name online, even if you search for me via the town/city I live in... You find nothing directly linked to me... Trust me, I've tried.. or rather... I've tested the effectiveness of my attempts to thwart data collection. So far... it's worked rather well.

    So remember... it's not paranoia if they really are trying to insidiously find out everything they can about you.

    It's my privacy and my data... NO ONE is entitled to it at all.

    But there's one thing that bugs the shit out of me... I do not consent to my private info being shared by anyone else. So when anyone gives their consent for an app to access their contacts... They are directly infringing on my privacy without consent. This is an area that has been ignored for far too ling and needs to be legislated against. It needs to be made illegal to harvest anyone elses data without their explicit consent... not via some other useless, ignorant, lazy, feckless, wanker who happily divulges my privacy at the drop of a hat.

    1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

      Re: if you search for my real name online

      That will arguably put you on the radar in exactly the same way googling the very secure passwords you use will.

      Anyone who does search for your name (under the given circumstances) is either (i) you, (ii) someone you know or (iii) pure guesswork. Search engines can probably establish (iii) by seeing what other searches are being carried out on a device, random mush should cause any inferences to be discarded, unless there is some pattern to be deduced. (i) and (ii) could be determined from cookies and profiling of hardware/software on the device making the query. If email is sent from a pc then Reverse DNS could give some insights. Don't forget also that Google's DNS is used by a lot of people, often without knowing. Such metadata is not information in itself, but can be used as a starting point.

      Yes getting to 4 from adding 2 and 2 will take one hell of a lot of doing, but if there is motivation there to crack open, it might happen.

      1. The Dogs Meevonks

        Re: if you search for my real name online

        That may have some validity to it, however I also try to fudge that data by some of the following methods.

        1: Use a browser that I rarely ever use

        2: Never run the browser full screen

        3: Use privacy mode

        4: Use as many plugins as possible to block scripts/ads/trackers/cookies

        So I'll use Chrome if I ever want to log into a google service, but not for anything else. I use firefox with a vpn, privacy mode and all of the plugins mentioned for general browsing. I'll use tor from time to time just for the hell of it... and I am 'forced' to use IE when I want to watch the F1 via sky go... because it's the only browser those fuckwits now support because of their insistence on using outdated and obsolete silverlight... But that browser is 'never' used for anything else.

        I refuse to use Windows 10, and since they tried to force it upon people without consent... have turned of auto updates and triple check every update before allowing it to be installed. So for example.. I have to keep hiding the KB2952664 for example (amongst others) which they keep trying to slip in first as 'recommended', and now as 'important'... I NEVER install anything 'recommended' and only allow 'important' after checking out what it does exactly.

        I have never 'googled' myself or anyone else via a mobile device... and I currently own a wileyfox which has extra privacy measures built in... and one of the first things I do with any phone is disable chrome (and a load of other baked in apps) and install firefox. I keep location data turned off unless I actually need to use it.

        I can't stop it all... But I can make it as useless as possible... and I'm always looking for other ways to thwart this data harvesting.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: if you search for my real name online

          But there's one thing that bugs the shit out of me... I do not consent to my private info being shared by anyone else.

          I have taken the additional step of not keeping in touch with family, don't have close friends (other than my wife, who also follows data privacy rules and has no social media accounts etc. she doesn't even have a mobile phone).

          One day all that might actually pay off, and it looks like it's starting to do so already. Only time will tell. The only things I avoid doing to stay off the radar are the kind of things that would make me pop up on certain 'lists' etc. I'm very close to dumping the internet entirely - I certainly don't engage with anything that's essential and that relies on the internet, so if the days comes to switch off, I won't be totally screwed over.

          1. onefang Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: if you search for my real name online

            "I'm very close to dumping the internet entirely"

            It will be sad to never see posts from Anonymous Coward ever again. Oh wait...

        2. King Jack
          Mushroom

          Re: if you search for my real name online

          @ The Dogs Meevonks

          I know who you are, you are John Connor. But Skynet will find you in the end.

      2. onefang Silver badge

        Re: if you search for my real name online

        "Anyone who does search for your name (under the given circumstances) is either (i) you, (ii) someone you know or (iii) pure guesswork."

        You left out (iv) someone searching for the name of someone else that shares your name. I was quite surprised several years ago to stumble across the fact that there are half a dozen people in a public USA phone book site with the same name as me, despite it being a rather rare last name. No doubt there are others in other countries. I do know that one of those turns up in Google searches almost as often as I do.

        Now if your name is John Smith or Jane Doe...

    2. Jimboom
      Trollface

      Re: I do my utmost...

      You all have stuff to hide therefore you must be guilty of something. Nevermind those men in suits outside the house... and no that is not a black helicopter circling overhead.

      As you were citizen.

  25. Ilgaz

    So, Zuckerberg runs a root terminal and issues halt command

    What would change if Facebook closed down today?

    Even a ordinary user who runs some "privacy" tools knows that there are tens of trackers in every page they visit and some advertisers do amazing trickery to profile users. Hell they even used battery level profiling lately.

    This is more like people switching to Instagram from Facebook.

  26. Compression Artifact

    Staying off Facebook isn't enough

    Go to a typical website (e.g., http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ushome). Look under the hood and count the number of times the string "facebook" occurs in the HTML source code (86 for the example just mentioned). NoScript and uBlock Origin clean things up nicely.

  27. MachDiamond Silver badge

    FB didn't do anything wrong

    If you can stay awake while reading the FB TOS and Privacy Policy, the've written down that they will "share" (=sell) your data with their "partners" (=The Real Customers). By using the service you have also agreed to grant them a perpetual, worldwide, transferable, paid license to use anything you post without consultation or authorship credit. They never promise to keep all a user's information to themselves and not sell it. It's all in black and white and they can get away with being right upfront since people don't read anything and fervently believe that even if it does say they "can" , they never "will". I thought that the FB crowd didn't have anything to hide and didn't care about what was public in the first place.

    FB's big money maker is selling personal data, advertising is second place. Send an email to a "friend" that you are thinking about getting a new car and see what happens. Mention that you are thinking about going on a cruise in a private email. There is so much information about everybody that with only a few key pieces of information, a whole flood comes back. Sign up to be their bitch and they peel you like an onion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FB didn't do anything wrong

      It's wrong. It's just not illegal... yet.

    2. onefang Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: FB didn't do anything wrong

      "Send an email to a "friend" that you are thinking about getting a new car and see what happens. Mention that you are thinking about going on a cruise in a private email."

      Ah, so I should be sending emails and making FB posts about how I'm planning on buying lots of posters of <list favourite sex symbols here>, wearing as little as possible, to cover my bedroom walls and ceiling. It would almost be worthwhile disabling my ad blockers.

      Paris, coz she's on that list.

  28. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
    Big Brother

    You and I can say whatever we want

    and the celebrities can say whatever their handlers tell them, but behind all the outrage and the posturing, the politicians and regulators will be hearing that FB or Google or the russians used this data to intervene in politics AND IT WORKED.

    They are incapable of ignoring that, and the possibility that their opponents ( who are functionally indistinguishable from outside their own grubby little corner ) would use it and gain an advantage.

  29. clayusmcret

    Facebook is sorry....it was caught

    Facebook, Google, Twitter, you name it. They all track for financial gain and easily take advantage of 2018 mindsets to do it.

    There is no privacy any more. People freely give away their own information for a moment in the spotlight and/or personal pleasure and, as these incidents prove, they'll freely give away their best friends' privacy for a moment in the spotlight and/or their own personal pleasure.

    Facebook is claiming to be sorry, but it is only sorry for two things. First, that republicans were able to take advantage of the same type data they had previously freely given democrats and second, that they were caught doing one while not stopping the other.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An alternative?

    Perhaps when we can sell our attention using something like Basic Attention Token and use easy micropayments for content as suggested by this demo https://medium.com/interledger-blog/replace-ads-with-web-monetization-239ce1930f3d the current "free" paradigm will be displaced

  31. Chris J. C.

    ChatBots. A.I. They'll EAT your FaceBook.

    DELETE you Face Book, because of A.I. They'll Eat your FaceBook.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_Jq38JKN3A

    ChatBots are automated mini A.I. programs that can leave comments and pretend to be humans.

    To train a ChatBot Neural Network program to act human, you need to feed it a lot of real human data.

    FaceBook holds TONS of human generated data, and makes a great feeding pool to train A.I. programs to act human... maybe TOO Human...

    You can learn how to write ChatBot, A.I., and Neural Network programs from free YouTube videos.

    Then, just plug them into FaceBook and they will slurp up gigabytes of data to learn and act human.

    The only question Facebook Users should really have is : how much data have they lost already,

    voluntary giving up their privacy and social links of family, friends, and emails, physical addresses, events, photos, phone numbers, etc.

    Once combining harvested FaceBook data with say, harvested credit reporting data - the harm that can be done to individuals, corporations, or families is almost unlimited.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: ChatBots. A.I. They'll EAT your FaceBook.

      We should get an army of these AI chatbots to feed random data to FB and friends, the chatbots pretending to be a few million real people. That could be fun.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Imagine?

    "Imagine, if you will, a new Android phone where location data was truly yours to control. By law it was firewalled off from the world on first boot."

    What should I imagine, exactly, about AFWall+?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Imagine?

      How about that you still need to root your phone (which breaks warranty and various programs, among other things) to use it most effectively?

  33. Mitoo Bobsworth

    Disingenuous

    Zuckerberks apology is about as authentic as the facial hair he will never grow.

  34. 101

    Olden days...

    I recall an auto manufacturer, Ford I think, before FB and Google were everywhere, spent millions of dollars on internet ads. It was assumed that was the future, and so they did.

    But, there was a skeptic in the organization. That lead to the company to follow up on the effectiveness of internet ads. They found people hate online ads, virtually never click on them and indeed were a complete waste of money. They dropped the ads and are, miraculously, still in business today.

    I wonder if people still hate online ads and never click on them?

    Footnote: If we paid for content, even a lot, we would still get ads and granular surveillance. Who or what would stop them?

  35. FuzzyWuzzys Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Information is the true power

    The second you have an IP from your ISP and you open any sort of app, it's game over. You don't need social media accounts to be found out there.

    There are plenty of companies now offering media recognition software and services, heck AWS Rekognition will sift and catalogue media for pennies. Companies are trialing this software to make your shopping experience better. You walk into a shop it scans your face and immediate either knows who you are or it will work out how your feeling, make resonable guesses as to your age, weight, social status, demographic. If your details are on file at that bank, shop or service then they will immediately wire those details to the nearest shop assistant who will know instantly who you are. Think i'm joking, nope, banks are already trialing this technology in their places of business. You walk into your bank and they're already working out how best to "help" make better use of you, I mean help you. Now link your details of your account to your social media account and now the bank has more info about you, what you like, what you don't, what you spend your money on, the list goes on.

    Quit social media all you like, they're's enough information out there now from other sources that if you abstain, it makes no difference anymore, they'll find ways to fill in the blanks from everyone else. It's like a jigsaw with a missing piece. You might not know what the face looks like on that missing piece but just below it is a body, a man's body, a dog, a car next to it, there are friends to either side, there's a house behind. You can run but you you can't hide.

    We let them build the holy temples of information, enough people confessed their sins and paid tribute, now they have us all by the balls, either directly or indirectly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Information is the true power

      "You walk into your bank "

      Really? I can't actually remember the last time I walked into a bank.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Information is the true power

        Not even to open a bank account for your kid or whatever? Plenty of bank activity, for security reasons, REQUIRES a face-to-face interaction.

  36. unwarranted triumphalism

    Tell me again how I'm 'out of line' for blockng Facebook in my hosts file. Go on, I'm listening to all your *brilliant* reasons why it's perfectly fine to use it.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hope this starts something

    I really hope this starts people thinking about their data, and vendors to realise that a shouldn't be free

    I recently bought a blood pressure monitor, from the market leader - advertised to allow me to plot my results. Turns out that I have to upload it to their servers, not even an option to export a .csv ... it went back

    1. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: I hope this starts something

      It won't.

  38. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    This is an 'aha' moment for a lot of people, most importantly, for a lot of regulators and legislators.

    For a lot more people than that, this is not an 'aha' moment. They are simply way to thick for that.

  39. Ilsa Loving

    History

    Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it.

    Those who do not history are doomed to watch everyone else repeat it.

  40. Gobhicks

    See ...

    ... Who Owns the Future by Jaron Lanier (2013)

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019