back to article You'll like this: Facebook probed by US watchdog amid privacy storm

The US Federal Trade Commission has confirmed it is probing Facebook over privacy concerns, sending the social network's share price into a downward spiral. The FTC said in a statement on Monday it has launched a non-public investigation into reports of Facebook's policies amid continued revelations about Cambridge Analytica's …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Nothing will come of it.

    After all, it is the year of the 'mid-term' elections and few campaign contributions in the right places and it will all quietly go away.

    Business as usual inside the Beltway then?

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Nothing will come of it.

      Not usually. The FTC has real teeth and uses them. That's why the stock dropped.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Nothing will come of it.

      and few campaign contributions

      Not the issue. Nobody would like to kill their "voter outreach channel" even if they are unsure if they have a better or worse use of it than the opponent. The risk is too great.

  2. Oh Homer
    Coffee/keyboard

    "You are always in control"

    Yes, but only in the sense that you can opt to never have a Fsckbook account in the first place.

    All those privacy nuts ain't looking so nutty now, are they?

    1. 2Nick3
      Big Brother

      Re: "You are always in control"

      Except that the data slurp appears to include communications (or at least just the metadata about the communications) of Facebook users.

      So maybe the 'privacy nuts' weren't quite nutty enough!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "You are always in control"

        Don't forget WhatsApp slurpage, another Facebook data gathering exercise...

        Weird, while everyone hated Google, Facebook were the evil ones, getting a free pass to do whatever they wanted with your personally identifiable data.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: "You are always in control"

      Reports lately suggest that even if you have never had an FB account, they have some of your data (maybe more than just "some"). By having contact with a FB user/product, they got your info but claim it's only the metadata. Much like Google, they just keep slurping and storing and using what they slurp.

      I do believe that one can not have too much paranoia with the likes of FB on the loose.

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: "You are always in control"

        "Reports lately suggest that even if you have never had an FB account,"

        This is not just lately. A little net search and you'll find this issue was being discussed as far back as 2012. I guess the original discovery of this was ahead of its time.

        1. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit

          Re: "You are always in control"

          It didn't need to be discovered, it was logical. Faecbook logs every call a FB user makes and receives. Since there exist persons sensible enough not to be a Faecbook user it always had to be the case that data about non FB users is logged.

          The laws need changing so that in these cases Faecbook can only record their victim^Huser made or received a call. Nothing at all about the 3rd party should be logged. Not the name, number, IMEI, IP address, not even whether the 3rd party is in the FB users contact list.

          I would go even further. FB should be banned from logging details of calls to/from any number that could be in use by more than one person - all landlines for example. Only if a user proves they are the bill payer for a number and gives FB permission can FB user calls to from the number be logged.

    3. Franco Silver badge

      Re: "You are always in control"

      Yeah, I'd love to post with a huge degree of smugness about the fact that I have never had a Facebook account. However it seems that the Android app in particular is a huge data sink so any communication I've ever had with someone who is on FB exists on their servers at least as metadata.

      The only good thing about the data sharing and retention going on is that Amazon already know I want to order a tinfoil hat....

  3. Doctor Evil

    Enjoy!

    "You'll like this: Facebook probed by US watchdog amid privacy storm"

    Good! They're overdue for a good probing!

    (The real question is: will they like it?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Joke

      Re: Enjoy!

      Probes always bring the X-Files to mind. Mr Z deserves a visit by Aliens.

  4. Chris G Silver badge

    You are always in control of the information you share with Facebook." ®

    Does that mean that FB will guarantee the return or deletion of your information if you should request that? Also how do they prove to you that they no longer hold any information anywhere?

    FaceBook and others always falling back on their (largely) unread T&Cs is a weasel get out, it's not ethical or moral. I have no idea what they have on me but it's not much since I quit an unused account more than ten years ago and have studiously blocked them with whatever I could find. Even so I am willing to bet they have more data than I would like via sites with FB like buttons etc.

    If they do go to the wall I wonder what will fill the vacuum?

    1. ratfox Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: You are always in control of the information you share with Facebook." ®

      > guarantee the return or deletion of your information

      Can I have my drawing of a spider back then please?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can I have my drawing of a spider back

        Only if it has the correct number of legs.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: You are always in control of the information you share with Facebook." ®

      have more data than I would like via sites with FB like buttons etc.

      Ever heard of noscript?

  5. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Tools

    As opposed to the FCC, which is firmly and fully committed to using the privacy of consumers to protect tools.

  6. grumpy0ldm@n

    About time!

    Couldn't happen to a nicer buncha fellas ;)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the Pahl you hoped to meet on Facebook, eh, Zuck?

    And also, it's not Pai!

  8. Jon Smit

    So why does the Daily Mail run a Facebook script?

    Anyone going to the Daily Mail website will automatically run a Facebook script, even if they are not a Facebook user. What is that script doing, has anyone checked.

    The Daily Heil isn't the only website that runs a Facebook script. I believe Facebook are slurping up data from all over the place, whether they have permission is another matter.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: So why does the Daily Mail run a Facebook script?

      This is what noscript is for.

      The entire integration of sites like facebook, linkedin, etc and their leaching methodology relies on javascript + cookies fetched and set by these scriptlets. DISABLING their scripts while NOT on their websites is the most effective form of anti-tracking you can get out of the box. It is a bit more difficult with google, but possible as well (if you cannot disable it completely, you can at least shoot it in one of the kneecaps).

      This alone justifies the use of NoScript across the board in my book. You want to track me? Sure. Have a go. Oh, your tracking scripts do not work. Pure thing, I will commiserate with you and shed a few crocodile tears...

      1. teknopaul Silver badge

        Re: So why does the Daily Mail run a Facebook script?

        Impossible to avoid tracking nowadays, they do it in the browsers, both Firefox and chrome. You can use Yandex, your data is probably less likely to be given to the nsa and its easier to ignore adverts in Russian.

    2. paulf Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: So why does the Daily Mail run a Facebook script?

      @Jon Smit "Anyone going to the Daily Mail website..."

      So don't go to the Daily Heil website. You will be a happier person with lower blood pressure as a result.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'we do not sell this information to third parties'

    Who are they kidding! Facebook is filled with sociopathic liars:

    https://marketingland.com/9-new-semi-secret-facebook-targeting-options-184810

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'You are always in control of the information you share with Facebook'

    Hardly! For a decade Facebook kept 'Undeleting' Posts on my Timeline. None of this ever showed up the Download-Data option either! Its proof Facebook never delete anything! And the Irish DPC??? Zero interest in investigating. Gave FB the boot a year ago, haven't look backed! Fuck-zuk!

  11. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "This is not the case"

    So, The Zuck is trying to pull a Trump ? Fake news then ? Bollocks.

    That's the problem with "dumb fucks", my boy. One day, they wake up.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To all my relatives who said I was paranoid about Facebook privacy problems

    YEP!

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: To all my relatives who said I was paranoid about Facebook privacy problems

      I'd like to say the same, except... most of them still don't seem to get it, even now.

      I think it's because it hasn't directly impacted them, personally - or at least they don't see it as having done so.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook/Places

    I'm interested to know if Facebook included the mac_address, ssid, signal_strength,frequency,current_connection and access_points from the Graphs WIFI scan

    As well as the latitude, longitude, altitude, heading and coordinates and list of Bluetooth connected devices nearby from it's Bluetooth scanning software in the data that users downloaded from Facebook?

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Facebook/Places

      If it's possible for them to do it, assume they do it.

    2. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Facebook/Places

      I'd be astonished if they didn't, Google did it when they started taking pictures for street view although they did get slapped for it IIRC.

  14. Spasticus Autisticus
    Flame

    Mobile tracking

    Facebook has never been on my Android phone, I've never visited Facebook on my phone, I've never given Facebook my mobile number, but .... I visited a shop one day and later that day when checking a group facebook page a message popped up from the shop saying something along the lines of 'thank you for visiting us, if you have any questions just contact us.' I nearly fell off my chair - how the hell did Facebook link this together? My WiFi would have been on - I now try to remember to switch it off when out.

    The death of Facebook cannot come quickly enough, although it is too late for our data. It would be hard to believe anyone that said 'yes, we have deleted all the data we hold on you'.

    Where do we stand as regards the Data Protection Act, or whatever it's called these days, with the likes of FB, MS, Google, etc., etc.?

  15. FozzyBear Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Interesting. Closed Door proceedings. The FCC hosts the "interrogation" where NSA, CIA, FBI and other 3 letter federal departments complain that facebook promised to provide all information available, but failed to tell them about the call and message metadata.

    I think I'll join the other commentators and start wearing a tin foil hat

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