back to article Facebook confesses: Buckle up, there's plenty more privacy lapses where that came from

Facebook has confirmed what many of us have known for years: Cambridge Analytica was far from the only organization engaging in the wholesale hoarding of netizens' personal data via the social network. The Silicon Valley giant told America's financial watchdog, the SEC, on Thursday that it will probably reveal additional data- …

  1. fidodogbreath Silver badge

    Emotional appeal

    Facebook is currently running a ridiculous commercial in the US (and maybe elsewhere, IDK).

    It tries to make the case that no, FB is the product, not its users. This is apparently because FB is the only possible way to have contact with anyone; and you don't want to die isolated and alone, do you?

    After much sensitive music and pathos, it concludes thusly: "We’re committed to doing more to keep you safe and protect your privacy. So that we can all get back to what made Facebook good in the first place: friends. Because when this place does what it was built for, we all get a little closer."

    So, with that cleared up, please resume giving FB all of your personal information.

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: Emotional appeal

      After watching that - and for anyone else that does, please have a sick bag at the ready - my first thought was where they sourced all the images and videos used, and whether or not the people who uploaded them were contacted for their explicit permission.

      After all, "For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, such as photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide licence to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP Licence)."

      Hmm. Although it was the above I was thinking of, the next sentence has a lovely bit in it: "This IP Licence ends when you delete your IP content or your account, unless your content has been shared with others and they have not deleted it." (my emphasis).

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Emotional appeal

        "unless your content has been shared with others and they have not deleted it"

        When they say "others" they mean Facebook.

        All your content are belong to us.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Emotional appeal

      "you don't want to die isolated and alone, do you?"

      .... why not, sounds fine to me ... then again, I'm not on FaceBook so I've not got any friends

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Emotional appeal

      "So that we can all get back to what made Facebook good in the first place: friends."

      Right, because nobody had friends before Facebook existed.

      "Because when this place does what it was built for, we all get a little closer"

      I actually think Facebook does the opposite of this -- it puts distance between people.

  2. PhilipN Silver badge

    We got the joke already

    Kindly stop the puerile rendering of Analytica as Anal. or I shall have to cancel my subscription.

    P.S. You missed one.

    1. IceC0ld Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: We got the joke already

      Kindly stop the puerile rendering of Analytica as Anal. or I shall have to cancel my subscription.

      ===

      obviously someone who doesn't like it up 'em ..........

      tica ye not you lot at the back

      1. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: We got the joke already

        Commentard doesn't know how to spell "titter". Full story continued on p94

        M.

    2. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: anal retentive

      "P.S. You missed one."

      Yeah, we didn't want to go full anal.

      C.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We got the joke already

      It is a backdoor in Facebook if you think about it, so anal seems appropriate.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: We got the joke already

      > "Kindly stop the puerile rendering of Analytica as Anal..."

      Well, this author also wrote:

      "Rather than admit it helped put Donald Trump in the White House by endlessly broadcasting and writing up his rallies and speeches, American media..."

      Notice the almost unconscious assumption that Trump must be blamed on someone? That's not how his supporters see it, but the American media these days (and sadly, El Reg it seems) generally ignore popular attitudes that don't fit their world view.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We got the joke already

        The media are out to get him, it's true, nobody should be able to a hold a person accountable for what they do and say especially when they have the popular vote or are president because they should be untouchable by the FBI or any other person or agency, back in the real world people are held to account for their opinion, actions and what they say by the media. Maybe by being the way he is clowns like you can say they are out to get him which makes it possible for him to do whatever he likes. Did you ever consider that position or are you blinded by hero worship? Tell you what, come back when he fixes the water problem in Flint or the issues in Puerto Rico and we'll talk about him being a man of the people. How's that wall coming along btw?

      2. ps2os2

        Re: We got the joke already

        Notice the almost unconscious assumption that Trump must be blamed on someone? That's not how his supporters see it, but the American media these days (and sadly, El Reg it seems) generally ignore popular attitudes that don't fit their world view.

        Try waiting until Mueller has submitted his report and after you read it, you decide.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We got the joke already

          > "Try waiting until Mueller has submitted his report and after you read it, you decide."

          Mueller won't be submitting a report any time soon. We all know this investigation's value (to the Dems) exists only so long as it continues. The minute Mueller has to admit he's got squat, that value ends.

          Besides, when a witch hunt is in progress there's no obligation to patiently wait for its findings.

    5. Weiss_von_Nichts

      Re: We got the joke already

      Oh, come on! No need do get all analytacal about it.

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook Q&A Theater

    Placing Facebook executives under direct questioning is a total farce. Politicians should instead hit them up with: 'Pretend we're a Major Advertiser - Tell us everything you can give us.". We'll extrapolate back from that and figure out all the sleazy shit you're actually doing here".

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'all the sleazy shit you're actually doing'

      https://www.facebook.com/business/a/performance-marketing-strategies

      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-03-27/ad-scammers-need-suckers-and-facebook-helps-find-them

    2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Facebook Q&A Theater

      'Pretend we're a Major Advertiser - Tell us everything you can give us."

      That's exactly how politicians work.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook took notes from Equifax...

    Announce only small numbers of affected users over time and wait until the initial shock is warn off or until the people are numb to announce the REAL numbers.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Facebook took notes from Equifax...

      Is the real answer: just about everyone on the planet who's uses a computer or smartphone? There's a few curmudgeons who don't have an FB account but they still have info on us because of the FB button on damn near every website.

      1. JWLong

        Re: Facebook took notes from Equifax...

        This is what I see when I click on any FecesBook button!

        This site can’t be reached

        www.facebook.com refused to connect.

        Try:

        Checking the connection

        Checking the proxy and the firewall

        ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED

        Same with twitter, gooleadservices, doubleclick, microsofts slurpy shit, on and on and on.............

        The real problem lies with the mindless drone users that have no idea what they are doing/giving up by clicking through the ToS agreements. Our schools teach them to read (some what), but they don't teach them to comprehend what is in front of their faces.

        Not my fault, Not my problem. Too bad, Too sad, tough Shit!

        And Yes, Equifax is on my shit list too!

        1. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

          Re: Facebook took notes from Equifax...

          The problem is'nt the users just clicking on the ToS agreements.

          The problem is the ToS (and EULAs) are written in 37 pages of legalese, with the most important bits hidden at about page 26

          You want a FB account........ scroll and read for 60 minutes............ or just scroll to the bottom and click ok, even the GFX driver I downloaded last weekend has an EULA about 50 pages long... turns out it installs 'software to moniter for crashes' after an investigation into why I had 3 more nvidia processes running on my PC...

          Perhaps a better ToS thing for FB et al to use would be this

          "Warning: we take full control and copyright of anything you post on this site, any personal information you post to this site will be sold to interested 3rd parties, and used to stream adverts to your page"

          Should cut down the number of FB users from 1 billion down to about 999 million , 999 thousand and 980 users

          1. handleoclast

            Re: Facebook took notes from Equifax...

            Should cut down the number of FB users from 1 billion down to about 999 million , 999 thousand and 980 users

            And one guy who claims he doesn't have a facebook account but secretly does.

          2. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

            Re: Facebook took notes from Equifax...

            You can always get the drivers themselves w/o the extra programs by installing the INF files from the driver download package after using common sense (read as: trial and error) to eliminate fishy EXEs and DLLs.

        2. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

          Re: Facebook took notes from Equifax...

          The real problem lies with the mindless drone users that have no idea what they are doing/giving up by clicking through the ToS agreements. Our schools teach them to read (some what), but they don't teach them to comprehend what is in front of their faces.

          You understand EULAs?

          Your I.Q. must be over 9000.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Facebook still has info on us

        if we have blocked all 5,000 FB domains and IP addresses in both the hosts file [1] and firewall and has been like that for years then they will have very little of any relevance. The same goes for Twitter and the rest. 95% of Google is also blocked.

        If you take the trouble to protect yourself then it does reap dividends.

        If you search for me on Google then nothing comes up and I want to keep it that way.

        [1] There are hosts file definitions that block google etc on the internet if you care to look for them.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Facebook still has info on us

          "If you search for me on Google then nothing comes up and I want to keep it that way."

          I just typed "Anonymous Coward" into Google and got 1,260,000 hits. That's way more than for my alias, and way more for my real name. I'd hardly call that "nothing".

          Oddly, the top hit on my real name, and the number four hit, where obituaries for two people that share my uncommon name. The images that turned up included photos of a dozen strangers in suits, and my cartoon that I often use for an avatar. I don't own a suit.

        2. handleoclast

          Re: Facebook still has info on us

          @Anonymous Coward

          If you search for me on Google then nothing comes up and I want to keep it that way.

          I just searched for you on Google and shitloads of stuff came up. You're all over the place, although a lot of it is on El Reg. Very contradictory at times, almost as if you had Dissociative Identity Disorder.

        3. DiViDeD Silver badge

          If you search for me on Google then nothing comes up

          .... or you can just pick a screen name that makes Google searching pointless. After >30 years online, I can still go through the first 20 pages of results without finding any reference to me (cue some smartarse commentard who returns page after page of only my posts). Although, until fairly recently, my old 80s handle (something far more distinctive) would still come up in the first page of any search.

          I'd like to say I picked my moniker precisely because it would be hidden from search engines, but I'd be lying.

        4. David Nash Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Facebook still has info on us

          "If you search for me on Google then nothing comes up and I want to keep it that way."

          Not true, I searched Google for "Anonymous Coward" and it found 490000 results.

  6. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Attribution is a Bear

    "We may also be notified of such incidents or activity via the media or other third parties"

    So they expect un-American and possibly even Russian activity?

  7. Aynon Yuser

    Flies are attracted to the words coming out of Suckerburgs mouth.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Social media is for impressionable youngsters only!

    I wouldn't touch so-called social media with the proverbial 20 foot barge pole. I fail to see how people can be so gullible as to expose their private details and air their dirty linen in public, apparently getting some sort of a buzz from it all. As for the mindless morons who haunt restaurants, photographing their food (not an urban myth - I have actually been inflicted with a noisy crowd doing just that!) and promptly post the pictures, if I was a restaurant owner, I would throw them out. Their fate, if the rule is transgressed, would have to be made a condition of entry, I guess!

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Facebook was called out this week for being

    'great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity' same as Goldman Sachs. Makes sense they're very much a 'Data' Bank. Its either that definition or this that should apply: " a boot stamping on a human face - forever'... Thiel-Palantir - Zuk - Page/Brin and Schmidt are looking down from their ivory towers and celebrating the death of the 'privacy orgasm', their boot stamping on a human face - forever'.

  10. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    I never realised I could have had a scoop

    In a former life, I did some facebook app coding, mainly just for 'fun', about 7 or 8 years ago.

    What data you could grab (including "friend of friend"...) was never hidden in any way. It was the norm. No special handshake, no secret societies.

    I wrote one 'fun' app that gathered stats for a user on all their friends, and collated it - nothing they couldn't do manually, and I never kept copies of the data (though obviously I could have)

    Very few users (less than 1%) had 'friend of friend' disabled... I think the setting may have been called 'allow friends third party apps access to the same data as your friend has'... well, something more catchy, less descriptive, and more hidden.

    Basically, if a user was savvy enough to disable this access, when a friend of theirs used my app, the only info I could received was the friends name and id - not the full information the user could retrieve directly.

    So, you sorta needed 'friend of friend' capability to be able to write apps with a similar access ability to native facebook functions. But even so, it was bound to be abused in the way that has now been revealed. It was staggeringly obvious immediately, and should have never existed.

    So now they are saying "we expected the data to be used for the users experience and not mined" - really? Bollox.

    Basically, if they cut off that access, they'd severly restrict what profile-related things legitimate apps could do, and they knew it, so whilst they didn't want the things that cambridge analytica did (after all, why would they want to give away millions of user data for free?) I guess they thought it was a risk worth taking, or a price worth paying.

    But to claim that they didn't think people would do it because it's against their AUP... What next? Facebook exec. fall for 419 scams, phising emails, or forward junk emails to 1000's of people because for every one, Bill Gates will donate a kidney? Get real.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: I never realised I could have had a scoop

      "What next? Facebook exec. fall for 419 scams, phising emails, or forward junk emails to 1000's of people because for every one, Bill Gates will donate a kidney?"

      That's a lot of kidneys, Bill must be using other peoples kidneys.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I never realised I could have had a scoop

        He's canny that way.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I always thought people were silly to sign up in the first place

    Now most will simply stay signed up, despite the (obvious to some) revelations.

    1. Waseem Alkurdi Silver badge

      Re: I always thought people were silly to sign up in the first place

      I'm signed up to Facebook, even though I have used a fake (non-passport) name, never but once posted my real mugshot (inside a screenshot of something, a big mistake). Even I do know all about the slurping (used Facebook's Ad platform for a business page, I'm not leaving. Why?

      Thanks to the 700 or so people in our study group.

      Edit: TL;DR: Many people are obliged to provide slurp-material about themselves for business/"educational" reasons.

  12. onefang Silver badge

    Facebook has to own up to their bad stuff now, coz it'll cost the shareholders some money this quarter, but It'll be back to business as usual once the profit hit is over.

    1. Grandpa Tom

      They just announced a 50% increase in revenue for Q1.

      The millennials addicted to their FB account will never learn.

  13. theunregistered

    They are making money from our lives.....they should at least compensate us for doing so....oh, of course not, that would be socialism

  14. TomG

    "Rather than admit it helped put Donald Trump in the White House by endlessly broadcasting and writing up his rallies and speeches, " From my viewpoint, it seems that Hillary's inept campaigning put Donald Trump into the Whitehouse. Hillary's face was on the TV much more than Donald's in my part of the USA. She came across as shrill and unlikeable. ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC and CNN all seemed to have a Hillary preference.

  15. cs9

    Cambridge who now?

    The fact that Cambridge Anal. is still in the discussion is a major victory for FB. In most industries, blaming your scandals on your customers just wouldn't fly.

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