back to article Facebook admits it does track non-users, for their own good

Facebook's apology-and-explanation machine grinds on, with The Social Network™ posting detail on one of its most controversial activities – how it tracks people who don't use Facebook. The company explained that the post is a partial response to questions CEO Mark Zuckerberg was unable to answer during his senate and …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big Hoodie

    is watching you.

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Big Hoodie

      That's why all Facebook domains are 0.0.0.0 in my hosts file...

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: Big Hoodie

        Now all you have to do is make sure that any of your friends who do use use facebook don't have your phone number or email address, and that they never share a photo of you. Oh, and that you don't use any other service that integrates with facebook, and just hope that you blacklisted all their domains and didn't miss any like tfbnw.net or m.me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Big Hoodie

          Or just don't associate with cretins that use Facebook?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Big Hoodie

        0.0.0.0? Does that mean Facebook is listening on all interfaces?

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Big Hoodie

          In the Internet Protocol Version 4, the address 0.0.0.0 is a non-routable meta-address used to designate an invalid, unknown or non-applicable target.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Big Hoodie

            It's also used to indicate a connecting listening on any IP, and in a joke about the pervasiveness of Facebook and their surveillance regime. Reach up a bit and you might catch it flying over your head.

      3. IGnatius T Foobar

        Re: Big Hoodie

        Yup. Blocking all of their domains at the network level is really the best way to make sure your computer isn't infected by the Facebook cancer. As long as you don't share a network with f*c*book users, it's best to block them at the router if you can.

        Another alternative is to install a f*c*book blocking extension in your browser.

      4. JWLong

        Re: Big Hoodie

        Re: Big Hoodie

        That's why all Facebook domains are 0.0.0.0 in my hosts file...

        You might want to add this to your hostfile, FarceBook is all over IPv6.............

        ::1 localhost #[IPv6]

        ::1 facebook.com

        ::1 www.facebook.com

        ::1 login.facebook.com

        ::1 www.login.facebook.com

        ::1 fbcdn.net

        ::1 www.fbcdn.net

        ::1 fbcdn.com

        ::1 www.fbcdn.com

        ::1 static.ak.fbcdn.net

        ::1 static.ak.connect.facebook.com

        ::1 connect.facebook.net

        ::1 www.connect.facebook.net

        ::1 apps.facebook.com

        ::1 edge-star6-shv-02-ams2.facebook.com

    2. The Man Who Fell To Earth Silver badge
      FAIL

      Surveillance Capitalism

      There's a reason Facebook & Google's business models are known in economic circles as "Surveillance Capitalism". Ironically, the best way to learn about Surveillance Capitalism is to Google it.

      1. terrythetech
        Big Brother

        Re: Surveillance Capitalism

        Or use a different search engine. But in case you can't be a**ed.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surveillance_capitalism

        Google isn't the best way to do anything IMO

        1. big_D Silver badge

          Re: Surveillance Capitalism

          Interestingly, my wife came to me this evening and asked how she could remove "Google" from her smartphone...

          She now uses DuckDuckGo and Firefox with tracking protection turned on. Unfortunately, you can only do so much to shun Google and Facebook from your life.

          With NoScript, for example, most Google subdomains, like analytics, are blocked.

          1. GIRZiM

            Re: With NoScript, for example, most Google subdomains, like analytics, are blocked.

            They're not actually. they get loaded, they're just not allowed to run. So the fact that they get loaded allows tracking to happen. If you want to prevent them from getting loaded, you need uMatrix - which blocks them at the domain.

            You also want to use something like uBlock Origin for ads or (my personal choice) adNauseum.

            Add in Decentraleyes to deal with resources and CanvasBlocker to limit fingerprinting. LocationGuard can muddy the waters on occasion (just don't expect all sites to refrain from querying your IP).

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: With NoScript, for example, most Google subdomains, like analytics, are blocked.

              Thanks for the pointer to Decentraleyes and CanvasBlocker.

              And yes, I realise that NoScript doesn't completely block analytics, but for me at least, it had more to do with not allowing scripts from third parties at the beginning. But as time goes by, I'm starting to rethink everything else.

              1. GIRZiM

                Re: With NoScript, for example, most Google subdomains, like analytics, are blocked.

                Thanks for the pointer to Decentraleyes and CanvasBlocker.

                If they ever make a return to FF Quantum, I'd also recommend Random Agent Spoofer, Google Disconnect/Twitter Disconnect and Calomel SSL Validation (possibly WorldIP as well).

                And yes, I realise that NoScript doesn't completely block analytics, but for me at least, it had more to do with not allowing scripts from third parties at the beginning. But as time goes by, I'm starting to rethink everything else.

                I only recently discovered the difference between the two thanks to NoScript not being available on FFQ and my having used uMatrix in Comodo's 'Dragon' browser for years in lieu of NoScript. So, I added UMatrix to FFQ rather than go without a blocker. Then I was reading something recently that explained how the two work and thought "Really? That's interesting.".

                I've re-added NoScript in the interim and use both now. Which is really annoying and often makes me want to hurl the computer out of the window if not hunt down the website designer(s) and do some very painful things to them for a very long time, get plastic surgery, a new identity, move to Peru, become a cocoa bean farmer and never use the Web again.

                It has been very informative, however.

                With just uMatrix enabled, if I go to Youtube and want to watch something, I need to authorise the *-aigd.googlevid XHR objects and nothing else.

                For one video, for instance, that was 23 objects out of a total of 146, including one cookie from www.youtube.com specifically (another ten from <somewhere>.youtube.com.), two stylesheets from www.youtube.com … (another two from fonts.gstatic.com.), thirteen objects from unspecified external sources that redirector.google.com will load, twenty unspecified ‘other’ things from www.google.com and all the other things I’m not going to bore us with by listing them here but 58 of which are cross-hosted.

                Meaning a minimum of 84% of the items coming with it serve you no purpose whatsover if all you want to do is watch the video. 84% (123 objects) are there for someone else’s benefit, not yours. I wonder what benefit they get from them … because they don’t display the video or let me control it in any way - that’s what at least some of the other 23 do. Those 23 also appear to enable the autoplay feature … because it still works if you don’t load anything else. At most twenty-three of them are necessary to watch the video, so what are the other thirty-five doing exactly - and why?

                So then, when it became available again, I added NoScript, because 23 unidentified XHR objects that seemingly do an awful lot more than I anticipated is a bit concerning - NoScript might identify them for me once they make it to the browser and I can be even choosier about what I authorise.

                And what I discovered was that there's an awful lot of youtube.com functionality hidden behind those 23 objects. If I go to youtube.com with just uMatrix, I see an awful lot of stuff load into my browser to give me a basic outline of the site. With NoScript running as well, I see virtually nothing at all and until I authorise the youtube.com and ytimg.com scripts in NoScript and scripts from s.ytimg.com in uMatrix that's how it will remain.

                So those 23 XHR objects seem to include scripts as well as video and other (control) elements - which, of course, isn't declared explicitly in uMatrix because it just lists them as XHR objects.

                It's interesting to see how many sites make use of google analytics too. I saw a recommendation for three new privacy orientated social networking solutions that referred to google analytics objects - I'm sure you can imagine how I laughed!

                1. big_D Silver badge

                  Re: With NoScript, for example, most Google subdomains, like analytics, are blocked.

                  Yeah, I always used Calomel and really miss it.

                2. ROC

                  Re: With NoScript, for example, most Google subdomains, like analytics, are blocked.

                  Even more fun is seeing how waiting for any of those extraneous objects to download delays the entire page (sloo connection, or simply lack of server response) - then multiply it by however many of them there are that delay the page in turn (if not in parallel)!

      2. Dacarlo

        Re: Surveillance Capitalism

        Or duckduckgo it?

      3. Tree
        FAIL

        Re: Surveillance Capitalism

        To prevent tracking by FaceBUTT, Gurgle, etc., I use Remove This Permanently add-on to remove their "bugs" (the little f, p or g). If on of these appear on a site you visit, word will be sent to one of those companies saying that you landed on that page. This applies to you even if you never agree to anything. They are so sweet. They even know if you looked at a toilet, without clicking on anything. BTW, my browser is Pale Moon.

    3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
      Boffin

      Cue the lawyers ... Re: Big Hoodie

      Depending on the site's ToS, the fact that FB is monitoring and tracking non FB subscribers may be a violation of the ToS and agreement w Facebook.

      Again this shouldn't be a surprise and why many w NoScript block FB scripts.

      Of course not all browsers work w script blockers and addons.

      This could be a major Class Action lawsuit against FB since none of those who were tracked gave permission for FB to track them.

      Again, lets ask El Reg why they run Google's Analytics given that in today's world, its very easy for a competent admin to write their own tracking javascript. Note: While not FB, its an example of a major corporation spying on you without your knowledge or approval. It is also one way that FB , Google and others can spy on you and track you without the use of cookies.

      1. ROC

        Re: Cue the lawyers ... Big Hoodie

        For that matter why does this article (and probably all other El Reg articles) have a FB icon at the bottom (aside from the actual www.facebook.com link at the farthest bottom) with this property?

        https://www.theregister.co.uk/design_picker/c00f80f04b0eaf0123d821f6c9488fc1cb55fd0a/graphics/icon/facebook.svg

        Kinda looks like it tracks something of interest to FB...

  2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

    When non-Facebook sites add a “Like” button (a social plugin, in Baser's terminology), visitors to those sites are tracked: Facebook gets their IP address, browser and OS fingerprint, and visited site.

    Not if Facebook is in the noscript kill list and that is one damn good reason for it to be.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      It's a great solution, provided you don't mind the rigmarole of whitelisting a bunch of sites every time you visit somewhere new...

      Non-Facebook users shouldn't have to do anything at all to avoid being tracked.

      Who's going to cause a fuss about this if the people who understand the issues just use a plug in and leave everyone else to be spyed on?

      1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

        Re: "the rigmarole of whitelisting a bunch of sites every time you visit somewhere new"

        I don't need to, because the sites that have not been whitelisted by now are not going to be if I go to a new page and they are required.

        My NoScript is set exactly how I like it, with the sites I know and trust whitelisted, and everything else consigned to oblivion.

        That is how I surf in peace. If a website cannot work with my settings, it is not a website I wish to linger on.

        That said, I agree with you that I shouldn't have to do anything to not be tracked, but hey, this is the Internet. Anyone can do what they want, and most do exactly that.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        "if the people who understand the issues just use a plug in and leave everyone else to be spyed on"

        well, activism and politics aside, it helps at least to spread the word about taking up a defensible position online...

        1. Peter2 Silver badge

          Who's going to cause a fuss about this if the people who understand the issues just use a plug in and leave everyone else to be spyed on?

          The people who understand the issues generally don't particually want to be hassle and timedrain of creating a political movement to protest against a company doing something that can be blocked by configuring your own software.

        2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. big_D Silver badge

      Not just NoScript, I use that as well, but if you don't allow scripts, they can still bung cookies and images at you.

      I route all Facebook domains (about 1500 of them) to 0.0.0.0 in hosts.

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        I route all Facebook domains (about 1500 of them) to 0.0.0.0 in hosts.

        Which works well until one goes to Win10. Then... not so much since HOSTS is ignored.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Well, in all fairness, if you're the sort who is concerned about privacy and avoiding being spied on, then you should absolutely not be using Win 10 on any machine that has internet access.

          1. GIRZiM

            Well, in all fairness, if you're the sort who is concerned about privacy and avoiding being spied on, then you should absolutely not be using Win 10 on any machine that has internet access.

            There, FTFY ; D

      2. GIRZiM

        Re: they can still bung cookies and images at you.

        They can do that whatever you do: remember how much the EU legislation made? That's right, there's now just an annoying popup telling you that they've set cookies whether you like it or not and, no, you don't get to opt out, you just get to click the 'x' to make the popup go away.

        The best one I used to use was Cookie Monster but that's gone the way of the dodo. Now the best solution I've found is uMatrix - although I couldn't say it were as effective as CM was.

        I could do with a copy of your hosts file!

        1. JWLong

          Re: they can still bung cookies and images at you.

          "I could do with a copy of your hosts file"

          http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm

  3. ashton

    umatrix

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      For maximum effect, block everything by default because there's so much crap out there, and not just Facebook. I also block 1st-party JS & cookies because it's gotten even more annoying than it was in 1999.

      Instructions for (paranoid) umatrix noobs: Click umatrix icon, click blue box at top left, select "*". On the "all" line, css & images are green; click them off (should be pink). On "1st-party" line, click bottom half of cookies & scripts (should be red). Click lock icon to save settings.

      Caveat: every time you visit a crap website, you have to open umatrix and figure out what to allow to make the site work. If that's too time consuming, ask yourself: why am I wasting my time surfing this Web of Shit?

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        "ask yourself: why am I wasting my time surfing this Web of Shit?"

        This. I use NoScript rather than uMatrix, but the same principle applies. If I visit a site that doesn't work with my settings, and there isn't an extreme need to access that particular site, I just move on.

        It's the safest and easiest way of handling it, and really, I lose nothing in doing so.

        1. GIRZiM

          I use NoScript rather than uMatrix

          Use both - see my reply above.

          Don't forget to use uBlock Origin or adNauseum as well!

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            For my purposes, uBlock does nothing that I need that NoScript doesn't do, so there's no point in running both.

            1. GIRZiM

              >For my purposes, uBlock does nothing that I need that NoScript doesn't do, so there's no point in running both.

              uMatrix stops them loading from the domain, NoScript simply prevents them from running.

              This means that the server can note which scripts are loaded into your browser using an "if this browser and version and this and that or the other" and then record that "I know this about you".

              So, if you're hoping that NoScript will prevent more than the excesses attendant upon running the script(s) think again. It won't, it'll only prevent the final 'payload'. In the background, however, the fact that those scripts were ever even requested is giving away an awful lot about you that you can't prevent with NoScript, only with uMatrix.

              Conversely, when you load the 23 objects hiding behind an 'XHR' or 'other' label, you have no idea what they are and are giving them carte blanche to do stuff without even knowing what class of object they are - NoScript will, however, prevent any loaded scripts from running.

              if your use case only requires that loaded scripts be prevented from running and any extra script-like functionality resulting from clever CSS manipulation is of no concern, then fine, NoScript is all you need.

              If, however, you wish not to be tracked or compromised in any other way, you need to be making use of a lot more than simply both but, at the very least you need to be using uMatrix to block stuff at source, including cookies, CSS, images, media, scripts, XHR and 'other' objects before they even reach your browser - otherwise, you might as well not even bother with NoScript either.

              1. JohnFen Silver badge

                "uMatrix stops them loading from the domain"

                I actually use firewalls to stop that -- all traffic, incoming and outgoing, is blocked by default. I have to whitelist sites I want to communicate with. I rely on NoScript to manage scripts (as well as prevent other common nastiness) coming from sites that I've whitelisted.

                NoScript (and firewalls, for that matter) is just one part of a much more comprehensive defense plan. I rely as little as possible on browser-based defenses because they only help when dealing with the web, but my use of the internet is more expansive than just browsing the web. Also, keeping most of your defenses in one place, such as your browser, is a security weakness itself. It's a single point of failure -- should the browser be subverted, all of those defenses are gone at once.

                1. GIRZiM

                  Good points but they rely upon:

                  1. your being the only one who makes use of your system(s) and being able to rule out Failbook activity.

                  2. your never needing to access the 'net from anywhere else - which is when a liveDVD (at a pinch USBkey) with a linux install come in handy (along with a second one running portable Windows apps, for when rebooting the system isn't an option).

                  I take the point about single point of failure but that's why I don't use the 'net for anything but browser based activity (okay, OS updates too, but what you gonna do?) - the less I do and the more I limit access to a single vector, the smaller the attack surface and the more secure the system is.

                  I too have a firewall and (on Windows at least) it's not only Transport Layer but also Application Layer enabled; on top of which (it being Windows and all) HIPS, sandboxing, etc. - there's no point blocking everything outside the perimeter only to get stabbed in the back by one of my own apps.

                  But for your specific use case, yes, NoScript would seem sufficient; just bear the others in mind in case your circumstances should change (especially should it not be a matter of choice) - I recommend the belt and braces approach (it can't hurt).

                  1. JohnFen Silver badge

                    "your being the only one who makes use of your system(s) and being able to rule out Failbook activity."

                    My firewall blocks all access to FB servers, so there's no risk there. I provide "red zone" internet access that is separated from my network for visitors who don't like my restrictions.

                    "your never needing to access the 'net from anywhere else"

                    When I access the net from somewhere else, I use a VPN that connects to my LAN, so all of my protections stay in place. I haven't needed to use someone else's machine for internet access (my smartphone does just fine, particularly when I connect a keyboard and mouse to it), but if I also carry a bootable USB stick as backup should I ever need to.

                    "that's why I don't use the 'net for anything but browser based activity"

                    Fair enough, but for me, that would eliminate about 75% of the usefulness of the internet. If I had to be browser-only, I may as well just stop using the internet.

                    "I recommend the belt and braces approach (it can't hurt)."

                    I agree. I don't consider security a "once and done" sort of thing. Threats change over time, and so security postures must as well.

  4. seven of five

    to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

    Shut your *beep*ing face, Uncle *beep*a

    You're a *beep* sucking, *beep* licking Uncle *beep*a

    You're an Uncle *beep*a, yes, it's true

    Nobody *beep*s uncles quite like you

    no script all the way, it really _is_ worth the inconvenience.

    1. malle-herbert
      Joke

      Re: to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

      You mean :

      Mark Zuckerberg is a b*tch...

      He's a big fat b*tch...

      He's the biggest b*tch in the whole wide world...

      B*tch b*tch b*tch b*tch b*tch b*tch....

      He's a stupid B*******tch....

      Lalalala....lalalala....

    2. Horridbloke

      Re: to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

      Blame Zuckerberg!

      Blame Zuckerberg!

      He's not even a proper person anyway...

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

        Blame Zuckerberg!

        Blame Zuckerberg!

        He's not even a proper person anyway...

        I think he's the reincarnation of the Emperor Caligula....

        well, the commonly used side portrait shot reminds me of John Hurt from I Claudius.

        Not the recent ones of him looking both uncomfortable in a suit and in the company of old people.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

          Come on.. Caliguala went down in history for like, stuff - Zucker Fucker's gonna be forgotten in 20 years

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

            "Zucker Fucker's gonna be forgotten in 20 years"

            I sure hope so, because if he does something that will make everyone remember him in 20 years, it's very likely that it will be something that has caused lasting damage.

        2. harmjschoonhoven

          Re: to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

          To see Zuck as a reincarnation of Caligula is an insult to the Emperor.May be he is rather a reincarnation of Cesare Borgia.

          A new Caligula will have his slaves dig at sites clearly marked as Nuclear waste burial site. No do dig here!.

    3. phuzz Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re: to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

      You can say 'fuck' and 'bitch' on elReg if you like.

      Just not B*lgium, you filthy fucks.

    4. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

      And for those of us who hate censorship, even self-censorship, let me help you out:

      Shut your fucking face, Uncle fucka

      You're a fucking sucking, ass licking Uncle fucka

      You're an Uncle fucka, yes, it's true

      Nobody fucks uncles quite like you

      1. Santa from Exeter

        Re: to say it with that nice song from the South Park movie

        Okay, so not South Park but I liked this one -

        http://www.geekculture.com/joyoftech/joyarchives/2505c.html

  5. Screwed

    As a never-signed up non-member of the FB empire, how do I find out what they know about me without them finding out even more?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Freedom of information?

      I very much doubt that a freedom of information request to the UK branch would get an honest response. Perhaps more effective to contact as many internal employees as possible via LinkedIn asking if they are prepared to become a whistleblower. Social engineering your way in makes the challenge somehow more rewarding.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Freedom of information?

        Why would someone who feels strongly enough to not use Facebook, not even to have dormant account they studiously ignore have a LinkedIn account.

        LinkedIn are even more annoyingly insidious at this point.

        1. bombastic bob Silver badge

          Re: Freedom of information?

          LinkedIn are even more annoyingly insidious at this point.

          I should delete mine. It's been a few years since I looked at it. After Micro-shaft took over I said "I'm gonna delete it". I've gotten occasional spam from it, too. Haven't logged in at all. Just too lazy I guess...

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: Freedom of information?

            I deleted mine a year ago, and boy am I glad I did. I don't get bottom-feeder recruiter email anymore!

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Freedom of information?

          "LinkedIn are even more annoyingly insidious at this point."

          Facebook is the biggest target right now, but your fundamental point is correct. The real problem here is that too much of the tech sector has hitched its wagon to data mining as a means of social control and profit. All companies that behave this way are bad actors and need to be brought down.

          But, if people begin to reject Facebook's use of these techniques, it will make it that much easier to make the rest of such companies either begin to be socially responsible or go out of business.

    2. mrdalliard
      Devil

      RE: As a never-signed up non member....

      I'm having this battle at the moment, trying to get Facebook to divulge what information they know about me even though I'm not a member. I know that some of my real "friends" have tagged me in pictures, mentioned me in events and discussed me in comments.

      Now because I don't have an account, I can't manage or "untag" this stuff, even though it's information about me that's in the (semi) public domain, even before you start to look at advertising data or whatever.

      I've had two responses from Facebook in relation to the case I've opened with them. So far, and I'm not sure whether it's via just plain obscurity or stupidity (I suspect a bit of both), they don't seem to comprehend that:

      - I can't manage an "account", so can't do anything about the data they hold.

      - That if I had an account and it was deleted, everything was removed. (And I know it wasn't).

      My last reply to their support-people mentioned the "right to be forgotten" in every way, shape or form. Funnily enough, it's been nearly a week since I've had another response.

      I imagine this will involve a lot of banging my head against a wall at least until GDPR kicks off, but I'm going to keep badgering them out of principle.

      Icon = Mr Zuck.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

        >> My last reply to their support-people mentioned the "right to be forgotten" in every way, shape or form. Funnily enough, it's been nearly a week since I've had another response.

        That's because they've forgotten your email!

        Is that my coat? I can't remember --->

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

        "I imagine this will involve a lot of banging my head against a wall at least until GDPR kicks off, but I'm going to keep badgering them out of principle."

        Maybe the best approach is to lay it on the line for them: "Do you want to deal with it now or would you rather wait until GDPR applies?".

        1. earl grey Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

          Somehow that kicked off:

          badger, badger, badger

          in my head... I'm not quite as sick as what's his name.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

        " I know that some of my real "friends" have tagged me in pictures, mentioned me in events and discussed me in comments.

        Now because I don't have an account, I can't manage or "untag" this stuff, even though it's information about me that's in the (semi) public domain, even before you start to look at advertising data or whatever."

        If you don't have a FB account then you cannot be "tagged" as that is (usually) just a live link to an existing FB account (ie the one you don't have and therefore it doesn't exist).

        So, it sounds like you might just have been "named" on some pages...and possibly your image might have been linked to your name on a photo or two...but that's about it.

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

          Not only are people letting themselves down by using the Faecebook, but they are shitting on their friends too. And they don't even care as long as they can scare themselves with some hoax crime story that has been circulating since 2005 and many time debunked.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

      5. andy 103
        WTF?

        Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

        Now because I don't have an account, I can't manage or "untag" this stuff

        Erm, if you don't have an account they cannot "tag" you at all. You can only tag (in Facebook terminology) another users account. If you don't have an account, that isn't possible.

        If you mean someone has written your name - e.g. "this is me and John Smith" on a photo, then it's no wonder Facebook support staff are confused! Unless you have a very unique name I imagine it's nigh on impossible for them to accurately identify you - since as you said - you don't even have an account they can reference.

        I'm sorry but the level of your ignorance is really a bigger problem than any "naughty stuff" Facebook are doing. The fact so many people upvoted the OP is frightening. Please feel free to explain how you think you have been "tagged" in a way anyone can uniquely and accurately identify you, if you feel different.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

          You've managed to point out *exactly* how easy it is to uniquely and accurately track him!

          They have his circle of friends *and* they also have his real name. I don't know about you, but I don't have two friends with the same name. Similarly, I don't have two friends with the same name *and* the same face*.

          Facial recognition is getting better and better, so if you were to supply facebook with a photo and the account names of a small selection of friends, I'm sure Facebook could do a *very* reasonable job of walking their social graph and pulling up every photo and post which references you.

          * What kind of monstrous parents would have identical twins and name them identically?

          1. mrdalliard

            Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

            You've managed to point out *exactly* how easy it is to uniquely and accurately track him!

            They have his circle of friends *and* they also have his real name. I don't know about you, but I don't have two friends with the same name. Similarly, I don't have two friends with the same name *and* the same face*.

            Thank you. Precisely my point.

            Add in that Facebook has probably slurped contact data from the mobile app on your phone, combined with some idiot giving your e-mail address away in that "invite your friend on to Facebook" page and you can then see how very easy indeed it is to triangulate all the data and build a profile of someone who isn't actually a user.

            ...and yes, I might just be in a few photos - but who said I consented to it?

            1. andy 103

              Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

              who said I consented to it?

              Again, your level of ignorance is worrying. Answer: The person who uploaded the photo (presumably one of your "friends" in real life) - and they **didn't** have to ask for your consent - that's very much the point. If I take photos of a load of people (whether they have Facebook accounts or not), I can upload them no problem. No consent is asked for or required to upload pictures. However, if you had a Facebook account - and I tagged you - you can set it such that you have to manually approve things before they appear (wall, news feed etc). You could also request them for deletion.

              However... you don't have an account...you are not identified/tagged as far as FB are concerned, so none of that applies.

              If I upload a photo of Paris Hilton on the wall of my Facebook, I do not ask her permission to do that, it just gets uploaded. As a case in point I just tested this, and yeah I can definitely upload a photo of pretty much anything or anyone. How does Paris know it's there? I haven't tagged her so it's not identified as being her - only someone (human) who views it and knows who she is could say that. There's no ID in Facebook to say "this is a photo of Paris Hilton" - it's just an image, not tagged to anyone. All anyone knows is who uploaded it.

              If you're wanting the photos taken down then you need to speak to your friend (the one who uploaded them). Facebook can't help you here - precisely because you are **not** tagged! If you had an account then ironically you could much more easily get the photos/posts removed.

              1. DavCrav Silver badge

                Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

                "Again, your level of ignorance is worrying."

                1) If he's not on Facebook, how can he know the exact way that tagging works?

                2) The reality is that Facebook has photos of him, and are using them for commercial gain. It doesn't matter who gave them to Facebook, in order to use photos of people for commercial gain you need the explicit permission of everyone involved except in very restricted circumstances (e.g., news reporting). Holding the copyright is not enough.

                More or less, Facebook's entire mode of operation is in violation of the future GDPR, particularly the personal data it holds of non-users. It's going to be interesting to see what happens.

                1. andy 103

                  Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

                  1) He doesn't know how tagging works.

                  2) Go and try what I've said - upload a photo of anything or anyone. It will appear without their express permission or consent. Getting it removed is particularly hard for someone who **doesn't** have a FB account (and easier if you do have one - particularly if the post/photo is tagged against your account). Fact.

                  I have a FB account and know exactly how it works. I'm telling you how it actually works. You're going on about some pipedream of how you think it should work according to your own thoughts on privacy. I doubt GDPR will solve all this overnight, somehow!

                2. veti Silver badge

                  Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

                  2) The reality is that Facebook has photos of him, and are using them for commercial gain. It doesn't matter who gave them to Facebook, in order to use photos of people for commercial gain you need the explicit permission of everyone involved except in very restricted circumstances (e.g., news reporting). Holding the copyright is not enough.

                  Under what law, exactly?

                  I'm asking as a (admittedly, long ago) trained journalist who's never heard of this particular law.

                  Granted, there are risks to using someone's image without their permission, particularly if you insinuate that they endorse some product or message. But I've never heard of a law that says you have to do it every time. If you can cite such a law, you could probably make a strong case for having Facebook firewalled entirely from that jurisdiction.

                  Example: do you think anyone asked for or got a signature from the two ladies standing in the bus shelter in the right in this photo?

                  1. GIRZiM

                    Re: Under what law, exactly?

                    You're absolutely right - there is no such law.

                    The copyright on a photo of you remains with the photographer (or whomever they sell/grant it to), not you - you have no legal rights to your own face because it is, by definition, in the public domain.

                    But people are not only utterly clueless about copyright law but, furthermore, also believe in the fairytales of 'fair use'; to which I say "go and sample one, single beat by James Brown and see what the lawyers do to you - I refer you to The Shawshank Redemption's observation regarding the effects of being cast down with the sodomites."

                    They think that they can circumvent it by re-recording movie dialogue themselves.

                    They think that '5%' (or however much they erroneously believe) is legal.

                    You name it, they believe it - except, ironically, the one true fact of the matter that is that there is a copyright on something the second it is created whether anyone registers that copyright or not and the only reason for registering it (or giving a sealed envelope to your solicitor/bank manager) is to make it easier to prove that you are the owner of said copyright later.

                    People are ignorant and they like being ignorant - it means they can make fairytales up in their heads rather than make the effort to investigate matters and educate themselves.

              2. JohnFen Silver badge

                Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

                "The person who uploaded the photo (presumably one of your "friends" in real life) - and they **didn't** have to ask for your consent "

                You're talking legalities here, when I think people are generally more concerned with what's right and wrong.

                Personally, I'd be absolutely furious at any of my friends who uploaded a photo of me to any online service -- and especially Facebook or a Facebook company -- without my consent. Because doing so is just wrong.

                1. andy 103

                  Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

                  I'm not really prepared to carry on the debate from an OP who doesn't even have a Facebook account but claims to know how it works. So, to round off, here's how it works:

                  If you have an account - and are tagged in something - you can very easily press a button to Report content and ask for it to be removed. If you don't have an account, that function isn't available. These are facts and if you're not sure, make a dummy account to test it. It will take a damn sight longer to remove stuff from Facebook if you don't have an account, than if you do. This is even illustrated by the fact the OP is complaining he isn't getting a response from FB, when if he had an account, the Report feature would have already taken care of this extremely quickly. Feel free to dispute it, but if you test out both strategies I think you'll soon find out which gets the fastest result.

                  1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

                    Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

                    It will take a damn sight longer to remove stuff from Facebook if you don't have an account, than if you do.

                    Well you very well illustrate a big part of the problem - many of the tools to "manage" your privacy require you to open an account with $provider, which requires you to accept their T&Cs. So in order to have $provider stop invading your privacy, you have to (taking typical T&C terms) give them permission to invade your privacy.

                    It will be interesting to see how this pans out when GDPR comes in. Given the story in ElReg about Ireland watering down privacy protections, I expect the first cases will be just tossed out, then there'll be an appeal to whichever EU body is responsible for complaince and the Irish government will be told in no uncertain terms that their law is illegal. There may be several rounds of this before Irish law correctly implements GDPR - and once that's in place then Farcebork are going to get well and truly reamed.

                    But like the OP, I know for a fact that Farcebork have personal information about me - thanks to "friends" and relatives who can't see what the fuss is about. At the moment I'm waiting for Max Schrems case to reach the point where (inevitably) Privacy SheildFigleaf gets struck down and then we can all start laying into them.

                  2. JohnFen Silver badge

                    Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

                    You and he aren't really having a debate -- the points you're making aren't addressing the points he's making.

                    His complaint is that as a non-FB user, Facebook is storing data about him without his consent and he has no way to rectify that situation. Nothing you've said indicates that his point is invalid. All you're saying is "that's the way it is," which nobody is disputing -- indeed, his primary complaint is that that's the way it is.

          2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

            "What kind of monstrous parents would have identical twins and name them identically?"

            I don't know if they were identical but I do know of one pair of twins who were given the same name. It was in the C18th.

          3. GIRZiM

            Re: What kind of monstrous parents would have identical twins and name them identically?

            Can't remember exactly but I think it was The Book Of Heroic Failures from which I learned about an English Lord Somebodyorother in the 1800s who named his sons 'Balls' and 'Balls Junior'.

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

          "I'm sorry but the level of your ignorance is really a bigger problem than any "naughty stuff" Facebook are doing."

          Bullshit. That non-Facebook users aren't experts in how Facebook works isn't a problem. The problem is that Facebook is a plague, and it's not unreasonable to suspect them of doing what they have consistently shown over years that they are so eager to do: spy on everybody.

        3. Mark 85 Silver badge

          Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

          You can "tag".. it just becomes a non-linked tag showing your name or whatever the "owner" of the account used. I found that out from my brother (I don't have an account) but he sent a link to a photo where I was "tagged". No link, just the name. There' must be a zillion people with the same name as me so... obscurity wins.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Re: RE: As a never-signed up non member....

            But there are not a zillion people who both have your name and are your brother's brother.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As a never-signed up non-member of the FB empire, how do I find out what they know about me without them finding out even more?

      Answer: you can't. Neither can FB users. I just tried "download your data" with a friend who uses FB. FB's record of your browsing history, and their advertising profile for you, are NOT included. The closest thing I found is the list of advertisers who've targeted you by (basically) uploading a contact list with your name/email/whatever in it, which they probably obtained from sources other than FB.

      What you want is a US GDPR that effectively outlaws the consumer surveillance, direct marketing, public records, people search, and 'instant background check' industries.

    4. GIRZiM

      As a never-signed up non-member of the FB empire, how do I find out what they know about me without them finding out even more?

      It's funny you should ask that.

      You know those services that you can pay to have all your internet traces erased. You know the ones. They don't know you exist and then you contact them and they start searching for you using highly sophisticated techniques that analyse your writing style and even track down the aliases you wrote under and have long since forgotten and pin it to the walls, like in a Police Incident Room, and look at it and say "That's a lot of very revealing information that nobody had bothered to link and draw the lines between before; it'd be a shame if anything happened to it got into the public domain. Oh, by the way, we also have your bank details now as well - thanks for that."

      No, I've never used one either ; D

  6. John Arthur
    WTF?

    And El Reg?

    The only tab I have open in my browser is thsi El Reg article and Ghostery has blocked a tracker from Facebook Connect. WTF?

    1. VerySadGeek

      Re: And El Reg?

      Taken from the page source for this page...

      <div id=masthead>

      <a href="https://www.theregister.co.uk/" id=logo>

      <img src="/design_picker/c00f80f04b0eaf0123d821f6c9488fc1cb55fd0a/graphics/icons/reg_logo.svg" width=330 height=63 alt="The Register® — Biting the hand that feeds IT">

      </a>

      <div id=follow_btns_top>

      <a class=tweet_link href="https://twitter.com/intent/user?screen_name=theregister" title="Follow us on twitter" target=_blank>

      <img width="18" height="18" alt="Twitter" src="/design_picker/c00f80f04b0eaf0123d821f6c9488fc1cb55fd0a/graphics/icon/twitter.svg">

      </a>

      <a href="https://www.facebook.com/VultureCentral" title="Like us on Facebook" target=_blank class=fbook>

      <img width="18" height="18" alt="Facebook" src="/design_picker/c00f80f04b0eaf0123d821f6c9488fc1cb55fd0a/graphics/icon/facebook.svg">

      </a>

      <a href="https://google.com/+theregister" title="Follow us on Google+" target=_blank class=gplus>

      <img width="18" height="18" alt="G+" src="/design_picker/c00f80f04b0eaf0123d821f6c9488fc1cb55fd0a/graphics/icon/google_plus.svg">

      </a>

      <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/company/the-register" title="Follow us on LinkedIn" target=_blank class=linkin>

      <img width="18" height="18" alt="LinkedIn" src="/design_picker/c00f80f04b0eaf0123d821f6c9488fc1cb55fd0a/graphics/icon/linkedin.svg">

      </a>

      </div>

      </div>

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: And El Reg?

        Really El Reg should do something like Bruce Schneier's website does - flick a switch to enable Facebook like slurp if you really want.

  7. jake Silver badge

    Am I the only one who reads "social network" ...

    ... as "social disease"?

    1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: social disease

      new moral cancer

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: social disease

        new immoral cancer

      2. csimon

        Re: social disease

        I've just registered for an account for the first time just to upvote you for being a Fish-era Marillion fan.

    2. GIRZiM

      Re: Am I the only one who reads "social network" ...

      I've never felt comfortable about the idea of 'social intercourse' to be honest - it leaves kind of a mentally sticky, salty taste in my mouth, as it were.

  8. Peter Prof Fox

    I wonder if...

    Facebook tell their customers I block ads? (Obviously,I use NoScript as well.)

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They track you while you're sleeping,

    They track while you're awake,

    They know if you've been good or bad,

    So only wholesome porn for goodness sake,

    You better watch out,

    Cos they love to spy,

    best to script block,

    I'm telling you why,

    F*ckerburg is coming to town.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why?

    Why does every fucking article these days, be it the reg, or the BBC have to have some twitter post from someone most of us have no bloody idea who they are.

    I'm not 14, I don't I don't give flying fuck what @sadtosser123 says about bog rolls or @123botnet says about Kim Whatsherface.

    Stop it, please!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      "Why does every fucking article these days, be it the reg, or the BBC have to have some twitter post from someone most of us have no bloody idea who they are."

      Amen!

      And some of us have Twitter blocked at the router and hosts files and have to resort to uploading a "news" article to ulscan[.]io just to see what is going on.

      Stop it already!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      Yes but twitter is the perfect platform to obtain the opinion of the average idiot.

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        Talking of which, what has Donald been saying about Comey today?

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          "Talking of which, what has Donald been saying about Comey today?"

          Ah but Donald isn't your average idiot.

      2. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Why?

        It's the modern day equivalent of asking people in the street.

        A comedian (might have been Billy Connolly, can't be certain though) once said that opinion polls were the least relevant thing in the world as they were the thoughts of people who lack the intelligence to avoid someone walking towards them with a clipboard. Thanks to twitter they don't even bother going in to the street now as the opinions are on broadcast.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          "opinion polls were the least relevant thing in the world as they were the thoughts of people who lack the intelligence to avoid someone walking towards them with a clipboard."

          Or who have the imagination to lie to them.

          1. GIRZiM

            Re: Or who have the imagination to lie to them

            There was a story some years ago about how women were less security conscious because more women were prepared to give a stranger in the street their password to something in return for some chocolate than were men.

            Somewhere (I forget where but it may even have been on El Reg), I read a rejoinder to that, observing that it might just be that women are more intelligent than men and more likely to give a fake password to some idiot in the street offering them chocolate in return for unverifiable password details.

        2. GIRZiM

          Re: Thanks to twitter they don't even bother going in to the street now

          "I seem to recall there were times where a small admission fee would gain you access to gawp at the lunatics in Bedlam. Now thanks to YouTube they have escaped the asylum and want to visit each and every one of us at home" -- Jonathan Mercer, 2013

    3. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Why?

      Speak for yourself. I actually enjoyed that Twitter post.

      Sincerely

      World Toilet Seat Collection record holder 1998

      1. GIRZiM

        Re: I actually enjoyed that Twitter post

        Ooh, you might be interested in The 2009-2014 Outlook for Wood Toilet Seats in Greater China then!

    4. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      #Stop it, please!

      Start a hashtag campaign, or an online petition or jumpstarter or whatever fund...

      Whatsit Goebbels said about culture, I'm starting to feel about the Social Netjerk

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Terminator

        Re: Why?

        "Start a hashtag campaign"

        How about hashtag-BiteMyShinyMetalAss ?

        /me needs a 'bender' icon

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Why?

          Not only do they include an image of the tweet, but they also put the content in the article as text, presumably so it gets indexed on search engines (first and foremost) and also so it can be accessed by text-to-speech software for sight-impaired.

          So there is no escape.

    5. veti Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      In the old days, you may remember, they used to send someone out into the streets, complete with microphone and camera crew, to interview random passers-by about $NEWS_STORY_THEY_KNOW_NOTHING_ABOUT. It was called "vox pop" interviewing.

      Trawling Twitter is the 2018 equivalent, it's a helluva lot cheaper.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd sign up for MORE tracking if it meant they would actually send me adverts for stuff I give a damn about. All this secret squirrelling and supposedly amazing data mining and I still just get ads for sodding Korean cars and bad deals from crap telcos.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      I still just get ads for sodding Korean cars and bad deals from crap telcos.

      All I get are annoying Nutanix ads on my widescreen that I keep accidentally clicking while scrolling and getting my focus stolen - very annoying.

      That and the corporate whoring of russian women......Jeez, the sophisticated information gathering network must have picked up I'm my marital status and managed to miss that barn door by a mile.

      1. GIRZiM

        Re: getting my focus stolen

        Have you considered purchasing different model of car?

        Or is it that joyriders realise how impoverished you must be once they've tried your Ford Focus, take pity on you and return it?

        Anyway, in the eight years of failbooking I engaged in until I had my account reported for not using my real name, I never once clicked on an advert for a dating site for women with unfeasibly large breasts and ridiculously low expectations; no, not even for the sake of making the day of some pretty young thing 'only two miles from' me who 'visited you page and send a request' with an intimate photo attached (sorry, Imogen) nor for the sake of brightening the life of any mature women who couldn't wait either - if they're anything like the others, I doubt they've actually matured that much anyway, however old they are.

        For a while, due to some unfortunate events, I accessed Failbook from a browser with no security/privacy addons/plugins/extensions/widgets/doodads/whatnot and it still didn't figure out that those ads just weren't working - If I were paying Failbook whatever extortionate rate it charges to advertise, I'd want to know why its algorithms were so crap and when I could expect my refund.

    2. iron Silver badge

      What's an advert?

    3. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      I'd sign up for MORE tracking if it meant they would actually send me adverts for stuff I give a damn about. All this secret squirrelling and supposedly amazing data mining and I still just get ads for sodding Korean cars and bad deals from crap telcos.

      Darned right, more Hokago Tea Time figurines. I may not be buying any of them, but I don't mind seeing what OtakuMode has out this week. And one can never tire of looking at Artoria Pendragon.

    4. JohnFen Silver badge

      I dunno. I don't see many ads, but when I do see them I am comforted when they are clearly things that aren't applicable to me.

  12. chivo243 Silver badge
    Flame

    Dear Mark

    Please shut down your thing. Not only is it ruining my marriage, the missus is on FB before her first cuppa, but now you're tracking me, who has never ever looked at your thing, or cares to see it. To quote Charlie Daniels "I'll relocate your nose to the other side of your head if you dont..." You're a rich fuck who never had a care in the world. Now you're even richer and stupider. Please do us all a favor turn it off, and go find a nice island where you can become a hermit.

    signed,

    a dissatisfied non-customer

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Dear Mark

      Please do us all a favor turn it off, and go find a nice island where you can become a hermit.

      Definitely an island, and not the Catskills, where he's already done enough damage.

      Krakatoa might be a good place, I'm sure it's due for an eruption soon.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dear Mark

      Not only is it ruining my marriage, the missus is on FB before her first cuppa

      Yeah, know what you mean. What's SWMBO doing right now (late evening) ? Playing FarceBork games. What would I prefer she was doing right now ? "Cuddling up together" in bed would be nice from time to time - but that's hard to do when she's too busy playing the games. And she has the cheek to complain that we don't do it often enough !

      Anon because - well isn't it obvious ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dear Mark

        You need the upgrade to Girlfriend MK2.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dear Mark

        What would I prefer she was doing right now ? "Cuddling up together" in bed would be nice from time to time - but that's hard to do when she's too busy playing the games. And she has the cheek to complain that we don't do it often enough !

        If I weren't sitting right here, I'd think you were me...

        Sits in bed playing on the laptop until 3AM (if it isn't Farcebook, it's something on Youtune or WoW). So handy when she isn't working.

        Anon? Yeah, obviously.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebridge Analytica

    Interesting that CA were only suspended and not banned for life... Why is that - Is it because there is no real difference between Zuk & Nix? They both see the world the same way, there to be played. It doesn't matter whose playing, as long as they're paying! Money has no morals, its useful for 200k chandeliers though...

    As long as no one is planning to blow up Facebook HQ, why not make the global spying apparatus available to anyone with serious $$$. That's why Zuk & Nix can't really talk about how their firms work. Its also why politicians don't want to mess with Facebook or CA. They're useful tools - for hire. The world's greatest behavioral experiment on humans ever... What's not to like about that propaganda machine!

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: Facebridge Analytica

      Orwell coined the term prolefeed to describe superficial distractions distributed by the ruling elite to keep the people under control, but I don't think he would ever have imagined that a significant proportion of humanity would freely generate and willingly consume their own prolefeed knowing that it was being used to categorise and unduly influence them.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Facebridge Analytica

        "I don't think he would ever have imagined that a significant proportion of humanity would freely generate and willingly consume their own prolefeed"

        It turns out that Orwell was an optimist.

      2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Facebridge Analytica

        @Rich 11, cannot upvote you enough.

  14. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Like most El Reg commentards

    I never see adverts unless I deliberately allow some through to reward a favoured site. So I don't want bloody Facebook following me through the activities of my friends.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Like most El Reg commentards

      "unless I deliberately allow some through to reward a favoured site"

      Under no circumstances am I going to stop blocking tracking for any site, no matter how much I appreciate it. I'll kick them a few bucks every now and again if they have a means to do so, but not lift the blocks. I figure that it's fair, as any site that exposes me to tracking is a site that is showing me a large measure of disrespect.

      1. GIRZiM

        Re: Under no circumstances am I going to stop blocking tracking for any site

        AdNauseam - Clicking Ads So You Don't Have To

        Based on uBlock Origin, obfuscates you by clicking absolutely everything, makes sure the site owner makes their revenue,you see no ads and don't get tracked by them.

        You're welcome : D

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Under no circumstances am I going to stop blocking tracking for any site

          I'm aware of ad nauseum, but prefer to block scripts for a number of reasons -- one of which is that I don't want to reward sites for using ads that include tracking.

          1. GIRZiM

            Re: Under no circumstances am I going to stop blocking tracking for any site

            > I'm aware of ad nauseum, but prefer to block scripts for a number of reasons -- one of which is that I don't want to reward sites for using ads that include tracking.

            You can do both, you know.

            I block absolutely everything: cookies, images, media, fonts, scripts, analytics, beacons, XHR/XSS, iframes and 'other' from the domain with uMatrix, block scripts and XSS in my browser with NoScript and also use adNauseum for the reasons given.

            adNauseum also prevents the ads from executing their scripts because it is based on uBlock Origin - your clicking them doesn't actually allow them to track you, it just ensures the site owner doesn't go bust.

            But you can also tell it not to click them at all and, that way, the site owner doesn't get rewarded for including ads that track.

            Either way around though, even if adNauseum isn't your thing, you should be using some sort of adblocker (like uBlock Origin) to block them at source. Just preventing the scripts from running won't stop you from getting tracked, because the call to load them in the first place lets the originating domain track you thanks to the site serving the page you load requesting "the script that loads the advert for this version of that browser with the following specific defaults (including fonts, display resolution, local language, location, time and date...)"

            You should also be using Decentraleyes to keep precisely that kind of thing at bay.

            Don't rely upon blocking scripts locally with NoScript alone to defeat trackers - it won't.

            1. JohnFen Silver badge

              Re: Under no circumstances am I going to stop blocking tracking for any site

              "Don't rely upon blocking scripts locally with NoScript alone to defeat trackers - it won't."

              I don't.

              1. GIRZiM

                Re: Under no circumstances am I going to stop blocking tracking for any site

                > I don't.

                Fair enough then - I do recommend Decentralyes though, if you aren't using something like it.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Adblocker Over-Confidence - Zuk gets the last laugh!

    1. How do NON-USERS of Facebook permanently stop tracking, when its so pervasive that even Airlines such as Lufthansa & Emirates sell users out to Facebook during the online booking process... Adblockers can't help because this is insidious Server-Side data-sharing which is occurring in the background.

    2. How do we stop Facebook trading / sharing / slurping / merging data about NON-USERS from 3rd-Party Data Brokers... Offline & Online... How do we shut this 'industrial spying apparatus' down permanently?

    3. How do we force Facebook to permanently <<<DELETE>>> old user accounts and Shadow Profiles of USERS+NON-USERS? From Schrems, we know Facebook never deletes anything. Users have also verified seeing deleted zombie posts rise-from-the-dead after 5-10 years in their Activity Logs, wtf?

    4. Only now after the Facebook/Android message slurp revelations, are users waking up to the fact that its often their low-hanging-fruit friends / colleagues / family, that are ratting them out to giants like Facebook (by either being naive and sharing too much or not understanding how the process works). Again Adblockers can do nothing to help here.

    5. Shadow Profiles created from tracking non-users from websites with deals with Facebook or hosting Facebook like buttons / Google-Analytics or other 3rd party partnership that do the same kind of tracking... Here Ad-blockers should help. But only if they're updated all the time and the list of shadowy data websites is current, which is something which can't be guaranteed all of the time. It also assumes that your partners, kids, family don't visit and borrow a device and accidentally disable some of your defenses, even just for an evening etc.. It happens believe me!

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Adblocker Over-Confidence - Zuk gets the last laugh!

      "It also assumes that your partners, kids, family don't visit and borrow a device"

      Well, in my case, that isn't something that would ever happen. I have an "red zone" machine that sits outside the protected portion of my network that visitors can use if they really need to. Nobody has ever needed to.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Adblocker Over-Confidence - Zuk gets the last laugh!

      We need something like the GDPR. But that won't happen in the US anytime soon, because corporations wouldn't agree to it.

  16. Cwrw

    Blocking FB cookies

    The article ends with the statement "Neither of which, of course, will be as effective as just blocking Facebook's cookies".

    Just how do I do that in my browsers (Firefox and Chrome)? It sounds like a useful security / privacy control.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Blocking FB cookies

      Privacy Badger in Firefox is pretty good. I don't use Chrome so can't suggest anything for that browser.

      1. fedoraman

        Re: Blocking FB cookies

        Privacy badger works well in chrome (and chromium).

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Blocking FB cookies

      in Firefox, this might help:

      https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/cookie-whitelist-with-buttons/

      there are others, too, but this particular one lets you go into "session cookie only" mode, where it acts as if it's storing a cookie, but when you turn it off, or exit the browser, they all go into the bit bucket. Whitelisted cookies are saved as usual.

    3. Scroticus Canis
      Happy

      Re: Blocking FB cookies - Firefox Preferences

      Privacy & Security

      1 - accept third party cookies = never

      2 - keep cookies = until I close FF (so they all get deleted when you close the browser*)

      *for the few sites where you do want the cookies go to the site and click the circled 'i' at the left of the address in the tool bar and set accept cookies to allowed, these will then be kept until manually deleted

      3 - check clear history when FF closes and check - cache, close active logins, forms & search history and off-line site data (no need to check the cookies box due to step 2)

      4 - Use NoScript.

      5 - there are new options which also allow you to deny location, notifications, camera, and microphone usage.

      Some data like site preferences (preferred zoom, etc) does stay but can be clear at step 3.

      Hope that helps.

    4. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Blocking FB cookies

      Disconnect is install and forget and blocks FB, Twitter, and analytics.

    5. GIRZiM

      Re: Blocking FB cookies

      Privacy Badger is not as good as people think.

      Deleting cookies after you leave a site is pointless - it tracks you whilst you're browsing and, these days, people are wise to their being deleted on browser close, so they track them each time you switch tab or load a new site.

      So 'self destructing cookies' and similar are a waste of time.

      Block them before they even reach the browser!

      Use uMatrix, NoScript + uBlock Origin or (my preferred option) adNauseum.

  17. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Have you ever wondered why advertisers think you're a perpetual customer for a product you just bought? Wonder no more (we're aware that the Tweet below relates to Amazon, but you get the picture).

    So was the Why? explained?, I lost track at that point.

    I'm going to stick with 'cause they are all greedy a-holes who use possible sales as merely permission to be data fetishists.

    Seeminlgy whatever I buy, I'm then inundated for the next few weeks with invitations to buy the item again or an almost identical item from the same manufacturer.

    It's a broken idea, implemented in a broken manner, to all advertisers, knock it off!

    Even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day, at this point random ads shooting in the dark with no gathered info whatsoever would be more accurate.

    1. Lotaresco

      "I'm going to stick with 'cause they are all greedy a-holes who use possible sales as merely permission to be data fetishists."

      Good call.

      It's so broken that, for example, staying at a hotel in Central France because the road was blocked with snow ahead sees me deluged with adverts to return to the same hotel. It's not going to happen guys, it was a distress purchase. I buy, say a DIY item like a drill, I get besieged with advertising for drills. I'm not a site manager, one drill should last me the rest of my life.

      It doesn't even work for things I buy often. I'm working on a project where I need several mini PCs. I buy a handful from suppliers to test, I find one I like. I'm now receiving adverts from every single manufacturer tested for their mini PCs. But, the type I want is no longer in stock. So I'm getting ads for stuff I would never buy. So what happens? Yes, I add the names of the advertisers to my list of "Organisations that I will never do business with." Way to go, guys.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        "one drill should last me the rest of my life."

        Except for planned obsolescence. The adverts for more drills are for you to plan ahead for the day that the little plastic internal bit, that should have been made out of metal, wears out, shortly after the warranty expires.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "the day that the little plastic internal bit, that should have been made out of metal, wears out,"

          Or the little plastic bit that shouldn't be made out of metal because it's for insulation wears out. Then the drill really is going to last him the rest of his life.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hey Amazon

      Yes you.

      Why am I getting emails offering me the exact same items (maps) that I bought three months ago?

      Shut the F**k up.

      There is a reason why I've cut down on my use of Amazon. I rediscovered the joy of Stanfords Map Shop last weekend so guess where I'll be buying my maps from in future.

      Then there is the little matter of Concete Mixers. I looked at one on your site and even bought one yet you think that I need more of the things????? I don't. Stop it.

      As for FaecaeBook, I've had it blocked on my Firewall for at least 5 years now. The same goes for 90% of Google and all of Twitter's domains. I recently had to setup a filter in email to junk stuff from LinkedIn. I deleted my effing account years ago. Why are you still sending me contact requests from people I've never known or herd of. Did you actually delete my stuff or not? I think not.

      All of the above is a sign of the times. It is time to say no and get these corporations to take us seriously.

      OR we will start taking you to court. I'd love to be able to send in the Bailiffs to remove stuff from Google/MS/FB/etc etc with the press present. If enough of us do it they might start to get the message that this bad publicity is bad for their bottom line.

      LEt us all hope that this CA/FB thing is the start of the 'turning of the worm'.

      Enough is Enough!

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Hey Amazon

        "I recently had to setup a filter in email to junk stuff from LinkedIn. I deleted my effing account years ago. Why are you still sending me contact requests from people I've never known or herd of. Did you actually delete my stuff or not? I think not."

        I recall I was getting contact requests from LinkdIn before I joined, mostly for people I've never heard of.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sly Zuckerfucker- What's been done about this???

    - Nothing!!! -

    "You said everyone controls their data," said Democratic congressman Ben Ray Lujan. "But you are collecting data on people that are not even Facebook users, that have never signed a consent or privacy agreement.

    "When you go to Facebook's 'I don't have a Facebook account page and would like to request all my personal data stored by Facebook', it takes you to a form that says go to your Facebook page and then on your account settings you can download your data.

    Zuck: 'We've got to fix that'"

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge

      Re: Sly Zuckerfucker- What's been done about this???

      Billionaires can say whatever they like in a USian court or in front of congress, changes nothing ...

      1. Rich 11 Silver badge

        Re: Sly Zuckerfucker- What's been done about this???

        Let's see Donald put that one to the test.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    easy way to identify someone who bought something

    if you're an idiot to click on "like" (or dislike), whether signed into fb or not, you deserve to be tracked and quartered and those quarters re-packaged and sold an re-sold. If you don't value your privacy, there's nothing to fear!

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: easy way to identify someone who bought something

      if you're an idiot to click on "like" (or dislike), whether signed into fb or not, you deserve to be tracked and quartered and those quarters re-packaged and sold an re-sold. If you don't value your privacy, there's nothing to fear!

      I think you've missed the point.

      You don't have to click on those icons to be tracked by FB, by the mere fact that you are even seeing them means that you are being tracked by them.

      And you don't even have to be seeing the icons either, as the article mentions:

      Then there's the tracking that advertisers perform on behalf of the news-groomer: “An advertiser can choose to add the Facebook Pixel, some computer code, to their site. This allows us to give advertisers stats about how many people are responding to their ads — even if they saw the ad on a different device — without us sharing anyone’s personal information.”

      Facebook Pixel is a single pixel image/icon, usually transparent, so you are unlikely to see it at all. A webpage that includes this single pixel image can track you without you even knowing (unless you use one of the numerous browser privacy plugins), as you aren't even seeing a Facebook icon.

    2. GIRZiM

      Re: easy way to identify someone who bought something

      >if you're an idiot to click on "like" (or dislike)

      If you're an idiot and don't realise that the tracking happens just because there's a like 'beacon' on the page you visited and there doesn't even need to be a like button anywhere on the page because you clicked it just by loading the page in your browser then you deserve to be tracked and quartered and those quarters re-packaged and sold an [sic] re-sold

  20. Franco Silver badge

    It's a scary day in Britain when Wetherspoons are the ones setting the example by quitting social media.

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Publicity stunt

      A media person form wetherspoons a business running a chain of social gathering points with licensed social lubricant alcohol licenses announces to the media that they are quitting some social media channel

      Pull the other one, it's got social and media on it...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "Publicity stunt"

        Very likely. But scary that things are such that someone there thinks it makes enough sense for it to be a publicity stunt.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Not scary. Hopeful.

  21. adnim Silver badge

    knowing and forgetting

    "knowing your IP address allows us to send the Like button to your browser..."

    Yes for the fraction of a second it takes to deliver the button, then it can be forgotten right? It doesn't have to be recorded, stuffed into a database and be collated/compared with clicks on other sites with a like button in order to track the IP address.

    For a like button to function a url will suffice, the button image can be local to the site being viewed, Javascript and the recording of IP address is not needed at all.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: knowing and forgetting

      Yes, and being a company that is just basically a big web-site, they *defininitely* know this and so for them to assert otherwise is "barefaced lying because they think their target audience is stupid".

      Their target audience, of course, is not the El Reg readership. It might, however, be a bunch of Congress-critters. Perhaps someone should have a word with them. Point out that FB have basically just called them a bunch of stupid fuckwits who can be lied to with impunity.

      You never know, something might happen.

    2. GIRZiM

      Re: knowing and forgetting

      "knowing your IP address allows us to send the Like button to your browser..."

      That's bollocks.

      Facebook don't need to know anyone's IP address to deliver anything at all.

      They don't even need to know the IP address of the server delivering the button as an include in a page.

      They just have to make the button available as a resource upon request by a server including it in a page.

      The only reason Fuckerborg said that was because he was banking on nobody on the committee knowing how the Web actually works.

  22. JWLong

    Put this in your host file.

    ::1 localhost #[IPv6]

    ::1 facebook.com

    ::1 www.facebook.com

    ::1 login.facebook.com

    ::1 www.login.facebook.com

    ::1 fbcdn.net

    ::1 www.fbcdn.net

    ::1 fbcdn.com

    ::1 www.fbcdn.com

    ::1 static.ak.fbcdn.net

    ::1 static.ak.connect.facebook.com

    ::1 connect.facebook.net

    ::1 www.connect.facebook.net

    ::1 apps.facebook.com

    ::1 edge-star6-shv-02-ams2.facebook.com

    #

    0.0.0.0 a.ns.facebook.com

    0.0.0.0 b.ns.facebook.com

    0.0.0.0 .facebook.com

    0.0.0.0 .fb.com

    #Fuck'em

    1. Spacedinvader
      Thumb Up

      Re: Put this in your host file.

      Is that all of them?

  23. Bob Wheeler
    Big Brother

    It just occured to me that ...

    ... all this data being collected sounded familiar.

    Foundation series of books by Isaac Asimov

    "The premise of the series is that the mathematician Hari Seldon spent his life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory, a concept of mathematical sociology. Using the laws of mass action, it can predict the future, but only on a large scale"

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: It just occured to me that ...

      Our good friend Hari the Helicon twister... I'd like to see zuck try to duck a Helicon twist!

  24. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Anybopdy got a good cussing out for Facebook in Welsh or Gaelic? Or Scottish?

    1. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: a good cussing out for Facebook in Welsh or Gaelic?

      Cwnts.

    2. Danny 2 Silver badge

      Anybopdy got a good cussing out for Facebook in Welsh or Gaelic? Or Scottish?

      Falbha ghabhail do aghaidh leabhar airson cac

      Away and take your face book for a shite

  25. Kaltern

    Unfortunately, for the vast majority of people here and around the world, it's too late to block all things Facebook.

    Unless, since the beginning of Facebook's existence, you've dilligently blocked every IP, every domain, and never even seen the Like button, or Facebook login, ever, on any of your own personal devices, OR ever used another device that you gave any form of remotely personal information on a page that had a possibility of containing an FB-related element... you're never going to be able to clean the slate, or be hominem ignotum

    You're forever a statistic, worth a few pence to Facebook, and a few quid to everyone else who buys data.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "You're forever a statistic, worth a few pence to Facebook, and a few quid to everyone else who buys data."

      Umm, no. Your data is worth whatever value can actually be extracted from it. That's not the cost.

      FB make money from your data by packaging it up and selling it on to someone who thinks that FB have under-valued it. They then either package it up or use it to guide the placement of ads. In the latter case, they are selling ad-placement to a third party who reckon that the second party has under-valued it. And so on, until it reaches someone who doesn't sell it on.

      Like a pyramid scheme, the last person in the chain is basically financing everyone else. The question is, does the last person actually get more value out of the product than they paid for it? Maybe. Can they prove that? In the case of advertising, there are so many uncontrolled variables that the answer is certainly "no".

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        That's kind of what happens in an auction. The seller gets less than the buyer thinks the thing is worth. And the buyer pays more than the other buyers think it's worth. But the auction house rakes cash off both of them. This is called market economics.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          "The seller gets less than the buyer thinks the thing is worth. And the buyer pays more than the other buyers think it's worth."

          This sounds like what you're saying is that either the buyer or seller is mistaken about what the worth of a thing is. I don't think that's what you're saying, though.

          Perhaps a better way to phrase it is that nothing has an objective "value". The worth of a thing legitimately varies from person to person. So the seller (ideally) is getting more than the thing is worth to the seller, and the buyer (ideally) is paying less than the thing is worth to the buyer. Everyone comes out ahead that way.

    2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      "You're forever a statistic, worth a few pence to Facebook, and a few quid to everyone else who buys data."

      Who is "you" in this context? If FB don't actually have a registered user as an anchor, they must be inferring the existence of non-FB people. It is an open question whether that inference is correct. It is entirely possible that some of "you" is distributed amongst your social near neighbours and "you" don't exist within FB's world model as an entity in your own right. Equally it is possible that "you" are distributed amongst several shadows and FB don't realise they are the same person.

      Lastly, and with reference to the earlier comment that FB offer to delete all that they know about you if you use a page on their site to "sign in and hit delete", this would only delete what FB know about the person they think you are when you do that. Since we don't all come with UUIDs stamped on our foreheads, that may not be all they know about you and it may be stuff they know about someone else who they've confused with you.

      In this public debate, I think there is a real danger that every just believes the claims FB make about their omniscience. These claims are made by FB to sell their services to advertisers. We can't disprove the and FB can't prove them and FB have no incentive to under-estimate their own cleverness. Therefore, it would be wise to assume that they are probably exaggerated.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      "for the vast majority of people here and around the world, it's too late to block all things Facebook."

      It's never too late. Sure, data you've already given away can't be clawed back -- but that doesn't mean you have to keep giving more data away.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this is why...

    I'm using some Opera plugins. You know, for my own protection and all and I have to admit that they're doing a heck of a job.

    I can seriously recommend these: StopSocial which does exactly that: it blocks all incoming crap coming from whatever social media site there is. Because let's be honest here: this doesn't stop with Facebook. Worse yet: one can even argue that the social media networks are more or less being transparent here because sites usually have those silly like buttons, which should be a good indicator as to what is going on. Stuff like Google Analytics is always hidden from plain sight. So with this plugin no more Facebook widgets, Google +1, Tweet buttons, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki (yeah, there's even Russian stuff) and all the rest: Addthis, LinkedIn, Sharethis, Yandex.share, and a whole lot more.

    Second, because I like being paranoid: Ghostery. Blocks every advertisement source it knows about and will even warn you when certain plugins are actually slowing a site down. It can be set up to apply some basic logic: the moment a site gets slowed down then it will block the offending javascript code. A very good and easy plugin to see what is tracking you.

    And last but not least, because I enjoy being paranoid: NoRef. This basically blocks HTTP referer headers which basically means that it will block a website from bringing in tons of external (3rd party) crap. Such as... you guessed it: social media, google analytics, and sorts of nasty stuff.

    One of the reasons I enjoy these plugins is because you have more control than if you'd use NoScript while the combination still manages to block everything you need to. As intrusive or lenient as you want, which is just what I like.

    Bye bye Facebook and others!

    1. GIRZiM

      Re: And this is why...

      Do not use Ghostery - they sell you to advertisers!

  27. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    BAAAAAAAAAAH

    Maybe it's time to wake the sheeple?

    xkcd

  28. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Alternative?

    Gopher

  29. JohnFen Silver badge

    Dear Facebook

    Dear Facebook,

    You are a terrible company whose "services" are harming society, the internet, and me personally. I hope that you follow the path of MySpace. Fuck off.

    Sincerely,

    Me

  30. Aynon Yuser

    Oh f*ck that's right.

    The Faecebook and messenger app does slurp up all your phone contact information (name, phone number, email address, and all other information such as contact picture, birthdays, etc) each time you install it. Then Faecebook knows who everyone is whether or not they are on Faecebook, and stores it, all this without your contacts permission. The apps also takes all of your SMS messages, without your contacts permission.

    VERY interesting. So they know my name, phone number, email address and SMS messages that my friends have stored even though I am not on Faecebook, and Faecebook took my information without my consent. As adamant as I am about refusing to give any of my information to Faecebook and believing that I am safe from Mark Zuckerberg, they have my information anyways. I never entered into any agreement with Faecebook to take and store my information.

    Sounds like a violation of privacy laws. Also sounds like there could be potential for a massive class action lawsuits that can wipe out billions of their corporate worth.

    Whose in for a class action lawsuit?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd be in favour of a lawsuit

      We need actual meaningful punishments for these assaults on our privacy, not fines that dont even scratch their daily profits, or reprimands that the companies shrug and ignore.

      I say - bring back crucifixion.. (probably often enough to be a usable signature).. I want to see board members heads on sticks, real deterrents to show that unacceptable behaviour has consequences - because if it doesnt - why stop?

      ...but I am not putting my name down for anything.

      1. GIRZiM

        Re: I say - bring back crucifixion

        Me too, but first they should spend some time in the stocks; multi-storey ones - the worse your crime, the lower down you go ; )

        A few weeks of bored teens seeking to impress their mates by hurling tins of tomatoes at you or seeing how high they can piss, missing and getting you in the face instead, should give you something to think about whilst you rot on your cross afterwards.

  31. DougS Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Subscribe and save

    Amazon always wants me to "subscribe and save" when I buy stuff. Wonder if they do it for toilet seats, in case you want a fresh one every month!

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Subscribe and save

      "in case you want a fresh one every month!"

      Who doesn't? They get pretty filthy after a month.

      1. Fred Dibnah Silver badge

        Re: Subscribe and save

        You sound like the kind of person who sells their car when the ashtray is full.

  32. ade328

    Anybody here know how how GDPR will impact these records? Not the Facebook users that have implicitly given consent by accepting the 'terms of use', but the records Facebook is storing on 'data subjects' which have given have no such consent!

  33. The Dogs Meevonks

    Firefox + the following plugins

    Noscript

    Ublock origin

    Privacy Badger

    Disconnect

    Might not block everything, but it's great place to start. I also block googleanalytics as well as other things from google.

    I also use duckduckgo exclusively for search results... the only time I search for anything with google is when I actually need something immediately whilst out and about and have no choice but to use my phone... But these searches are usually trivial such as a location or number of a business or the most common one... settling an argument by asking if a certain actor/actress was in a certain movie and so forth.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I will look at Disconnect - it is new to me.

      My current standard set is

      Noscript

      Privacy Badger

      Ghostery (set to block everything)

      I am trying to figure out if uBlock origin adds anything that I need.

    2. Compression Artifact

      My current set of privacy/security extensions (for Firefox) is:

      NoScript

      uBlock Origin

      Cookie Autodelete

      And 3rd party cookies are disabled in the privacy options.

      I tried adding Privacy Badger to the set. After a week, it had not found a single thing to block. The set listed above apparently left it with nothing to do.

  34. earl grey Silver badge
    Trollface

    how many kicks to the nutsack

    would it take to get that scum to fix farcebook?

  35. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    So foil the "news groomers" and sidebar sallies by spending time viewing eclectic content. I love trying to provoke Amazon's sidebars into fits of visual gibberish (by viewing a range of things I have no intention of buying and which contradict my previous buying habits). Sidebar adverts are like the strip cartoons one doesn't care for in a newspaper. Annoyingly there, but ultimately ignorable.

    As for the news thing, I simply briefly visit sites I wouldn't touch with a barge pole and download a single article (which is consigned to a background tab for a few minutes and closed usually unread).

    Not perfect, but works (FGVO"W"). I'll bet it could be scriptable too, if I cared enough.

  36. kenny500c

    Snitches get stitches where I come from.

    1. jake Silver badge

      People who use sayings like that get laughed at where I come from.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IP as a geo locator?

    That's hilarious anyone knows that geo location by IP addresses the most ineffective most inaccurate way to know where someone is from.

    Trust me I'm not in Milwaukee Wisconsin.

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