back to article Awkward... Revealed Facebook emails show plans for data slurping, selling access to addicts' info, crafty PR spinning

Emails released today reveal Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discussing how to squeeze more cash from companies hoping to tap into the platform's goldmine of personal data on a billion-plus people. And the memos show staff deliberately hid the amount of data the Facebook Android app was slurping, and Zuck personally giving the OK …

  1. Magani
    Facepalm

    I give you...

    Sleazebag of the Year's leading contender.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: I give you...

      Well...Maybe...but SatNad is a contender...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        but SatNad is a contender...

        Sure, but he's just a late follower who still needs to learn from the masters, named Zuckerberg, Page, Brin and Schmidt... he could ask for advice to Pichai, anyway... as soon as he's not busy with Congress hearings...

    2. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

      Re: I give you...

      Well, I am the slime from your video...

      1. PhilipN Silver badge

        Re: I give you...

        UV to FB* for the FZ reference

        *The poster not the site

    3. Andy Mac

      Re: I give you...

      Can I modify that to “non-orange sleazebag of the year?”

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I give you...

        @Andy Mac - is that spray tan Orange or DUP Orange?

    4. ElReg!comments!Pierre Silver badge

      Re: I give you...

      Yes, the sentence "to stop a person from sharing their friends' data with developers." in the PR response alone is a winner.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Popcorn anyone?

    So far in the last few days, reports of:-

    Youtube shutting down 'because copyright'

    Googlers in open revolt against their employer

    Facebook doing things they said they didn't / wouldn't

    What a time to be alive!

    1. elDog

      Re: Popcorn anyone?

      They want you to stay alive ---- otherwise how can they charge for your personal data?

      1. Boo Radley

        Re: Popcorn anyone?

        I'm sure I will still be monetized long after I am dead. At least I hope I will be, to cost advertisers more money.

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: Popcorn anyone?

          I'm sure I will still be monetized long after I am dead. At least I hope I will be, to cost advertisers more money.

          Just think, maybe some Facebook will have collected enough information about you to render a ghost personality* that is almost but not quite unlike you in order to prop up some shit new service and convince advertisers they have more users than they actually do once the young have left and the orginal tide of users from around 2011 have passed on.

          * Think Caprica only not at all accurate personalities that just drivel on the topics you optimistically hit 'Like' on five minutes after you originally signed up for facebook plus some regurgitated facts from your timeline.

        2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Thumb Up

          "the antisocial network giant."

          Yes, that's about it.

          And note that gem from Yul Kwon

          ""exploring a path where we only request Read Call Log permission, and hold off on requesting any other permissions for now.""

          Was it Lenin who said "Push in the bayonet, if it meets fat, push harder."

          Thumbs up for the line "The antisocial network giant" not it's behaviour.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Popcorn anyone?

      Trade you beer for popcorn. This is going to be good.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Popcorn anyone?

        Trade you beer for popcorn. This is going to be good.

        And like any drama, once the final curtain on this current presentation falls, life will resume, and Facebook will no doubt get a chance to do a matinee the next time they put a foot or dozen wrong, because we can threaten to break ties with the EU over the folklore of no say and the myth of taking back control but corporations get to continue running roughshod over us and the gormless population hands them the keys every day with every idiot post about their mindless trivia and not just every couple of years to idiot politicians.

        1. SundogUK

          Re: Popcorn anyone?

          Could we have that in English, please?

    3. Fungus Bob Silver badge

      Re: Popcorn anyone?

      Don't forget Tumblr sliding into oblivion after porn filtering everything.

    4. LDS Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Popcorn anyone?

      Your popcorn preference has been recorded in your personal profile we own... contacting popcorn brands to sell your data to them...

    5. Mage Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Popcorn anyone?

      YouTube and Pinterest are parasites.

  3. elDog

    This is just a way to get our US minds off the orange toad

    Not that this has anything to do with UK or governance.

    trump -> wikileaks -> russia -> cambridgeAnal -> basefuck (with lots of intermediaries.)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is just a way to get our US minds off the orange toad

      "Not that this has anything to do with UK or governance."

      There feels like there could be vanishing point somewhere on the distant horizon. So many circumstantial indications of the USA alt-right and Putin sticking their oars into destabilising European affairs.

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: This is just a way to get our US minds off the orange toad

      Not that this has anything to do with UK or governance.

      Well - there is an awful lot of huffing and puffing over in the US that one of their client states has dared to ignore the results of a US court case..

  4. Mark 85 Silver badge

    The content of some emails have been published by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee after it seized them from a US exec, Ted Kramer, who was visiting the UK last month.

    Did it actually "seize" them or was something afoot that might have been an offer to make a copy knowing that much would go public? This just has the look and feel of a good old-fashioned, no holds barred, street fight. It just seems strange that he was carrying an actual copy of the data rather then having a link to secure storage. Obviously someone knew he was carrying the data to Blighty....

    1. Remy Redert

      If he could access the data in any reasonable manner (ie, encrypted on his laptop, accessed through secure storage, etc.), parliament could require him to give it up. So the only way they wouldn't have been able to get him to give it up is if he didn't have access to the files at all.

      He could claim only hard copies exist and he's not carrying any, but then parliament could simply detain him until such time as he produces copies for them, through his lawyer or what not. And of course, he doesn't exactly have any reason to resist an order like this.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Obviously someone knew he was carrying the data to Blighty....

      You remember all the crates that were shipped out from Cambridge Analytica's offices before the ICO managed to get a warrant?

      Having suggested such a fine conspiracy theory, I am challenged by my own reality check: Given the dismal incompetence of the British government over EVERYTHING I struggle to credit them sufficiently that GCHQ could have any competence in cyber-ops.

    3. TrevorH

      Yes, they really seized them

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-46334810

      TL;DR: "Rarely used parliamentary powers were used to demand that the boss of a US software firm hand over the details." and "In a highly unusual move the House of Commons serjeant-at-arms was sent to the businessman's hotel and he was given a final warning and a two-hour deadline to comply with the order."

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Joke

        "the House of Commons serjeant-at-arms was sent"

        Did he menaced also the businessman with his sword, or even the mace? Maybe telling him he would have been brought to a torture chamber in the Tower of London if he didn't comply?

      2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Yes, they really seized them

        Rarely used parliamentary powers

        Twice in the last 30 days. That's puts "rarely" in past tense IMO. Pity the targets surrender so we do not see anyone locked in Tower as a new addition to the museum exhibition of medieval torture.

        1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

          Re: Yes, they really seized them

          Well if they lock the sods up with poor 'normal' criminal, then yes, it is, but we can't treat those criminals so inhumanely.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Yes, they really seized them

            "Did it actually "seize" them or was something afoot that might have been an offer to make a copy knowing that much would go public? This just has the look and feel of a good old-fashioned, no holds barred, street fight. It just seems strange that he was carrying an actual copy of the data rather then having a link to secure storage. Obviously someone knew he was carrying the data to Blighty...."

            My understanding was that the data was the subject of a lawsuit between FB and Six4Three in California with FB trying to prevent it's admission into court.

            From https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/nov/30/facebook-lawsuit-six4three-documents-court-uk:

            "According to a court filing by Kramer’s attorneys, the Six4Three executive initially sought to comply with the US judge’s seal, but “panicked” after he was told that he was in “contempt of Parliament” and could be fined or imprisoned. At that point, Kramer allegedly provided Collins’ staff with a USB drive containing documents that he claimed were accidentally left in a Dropbox folder on his computer."

            The release of the information appears to help both Collins international grand committee three days later AND Six4Three's court case.... I'm unsure what the purpose of Mr Kramers visit to the UK was but his timing was impeccable.

            I don't believe any of this is illegal, but I'd agree with the comment about street fighting rather than sticking strictly to the rules.

      3. ratfox Silver badge

        Re: Yes, they really seized them

        I did think while reading the article that this data dump would probably not displease Six4Three.

        It was probably strictly forbidden for them to just disclose the data themselves. However, they might have let slip that their exec would have the data with him while traveling to the UK. Then of course, if the data was seized, there's nothing they could do prevent it, right?

        After all, nobody would dream of taking to the US a laptop full of data known to be of interest to the US government... Unless they wanted the US government to have it.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Yes, they really seized them

          "After all, nobody would dream of taking to the US a laptop full of data known to be of interest to the US government... Unless they wanted the US government to have it."

          It's all rather reminiscent of the various 5-eyes spooks mass-spying on each others citizens because technically they can't mass-spy on their own.

          1. Jaybus

            Re: Yes, they really seized them

            "It's all rather reminiscent of the various 5-eyes spooks mass-spying on each others citizens because technically they can't mass-spy on their own."

            Technically, yes, but with the focus on mass-spying on each others businesses for the purpose of determining how they might acquire more power (money) for themselves. Ordinary citizens are of little interest to either. I think that in government circles this is known as being 'allies'.

  5. Blofeld's Cat
    Devil

    I'm shocked I tell you ...

    Who would have thought that Facebook was capable of contemplating such shenanigans?

    OK, so just about everybody then ...

    1. Jay Lenovo Silver badge

      Re: I'm shocked I tell you ...

      Picturing Zuck and his roadies slurping all that personal user data, while singing a Facebook parody of Ted Nugent's song "It's a free for all"

      1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

        Re: I'm shocked I tell you ...

        I think it's funny that Facepalm feels it's privacy has been violated with this publication. Looking forward to see them respond to offers of providing more context.

        Somehow, I doubt this will be enough for Facepalm, Google and other mass data slurpers to change their ways.

    2. goodjudge

      Re: I'm shocked I tell you ...

      Indeed. Rapacious capitalists in "lying through their teeth and generally not being very nice" shocker! Next up, our special report on bear activities in forested areas...

  6. vir

    $0.10 per Year

    What you're worth, ladies and gentlemen. On the high end.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: $0.10 per Year

      ...from a _single_ company. Depending on how many of them spend that sum on your "content", you may well not be earning enough to offset your own data's value to FB even if you _would_ be willing to pay to keep it private.

  7. ColonelDare
    Alert

    I'm out of here!

    Just before I go..... I'm _so_ glad I don't use it. But how many of my family, our kids, their kids etc do I have no idea but I am sure that FB will have me well and truly triangulated via address book contacts, family photos etc etc etc

    So I'm heading for the hills with a barrel of beer under my arm, a pencil, writing pad, a box of matches and no phone charger. [next post will be by pigeon]

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm out of here!

      Same here. Not on any Social Media platform and never have been.

      My grandkids used to wonder why I didn't want my photo taken at family gatherings and posted on SM.

      Now thet know why and all but one has deleted their accounts. The one who hasn't only keeps FB so that she can know if she's on the soccer team as that's the only place it gets posted.

      She has wiped everything else though.

      This is the way of the future. Orwell (and others) predicted this sort of society. Stop using those **** platforms and you can rest easier at night.

      A lot of the mental health problems that young people have today can be attributed to sites like FB.

      Just say NO. The go further and tell them to F*** Off.

      1. rmason Silver badge

        Re: I'm out of here!

        @AC

        Similar issues here (re the soccer team).

        My daughters primary school *only* posts certain things on facebook! Despite endless requests for another form of communication they have certain categories of "thing" that generate a letter being sent out, some stuff is just posted on the FB page (the last non-uniform day for eg) Facebook only, or word of mouth when you're on the school run.

        It's a funding issue, I believe it's a local mother, rather than a school employee, running the page.

        1. Pete4000uk

          Re: I'm out of here!

          I've heard of something called 'E-Mail', which I am led to believe can be sent directly to you.

      2. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: I'm out of here!

        "Not on any Social Media platform and never have been."

        elReg counts as anti-social media then I take it?

        1. DropBear Silver badge

          Re: I'm out of here!

          "elReg counts as anti-social media then I take it?"

          I personally don't consider absolutely any interaction with others over the internet as "social media". It may well be a completely arbitrary distinction, but I see "social media" as places concentrating content concerning the subjective existence of their members, with well-defined networks of ties.

          Considering here we tend to discuss topics of _common interest_ mostly based on objective happenings in the world (as opposed to whose most remote acquaintance had a new sprog recently which definitely fails the _common_ interest criteria for me) and generally without a particular distinction about who we are interacting with (or indeed any peer pressure concerning what we read or we decide to reply to, which I see as a huge part of the toxicity of actual SNs) I really don't see The Register comparable to what people traditionally call "social media".

        2. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: I'm out of here!

          "elReg counts as anti-social media then I take it?"

          Perhaps. It certainly doesn't count as "social media". It's a commentary site with a robust comment section.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: I'm out of here!

            John! You haven't posted a photo of your dinner!

    2. iowe_iowe

      Re: I'm out of here!

      watch it - pigeons are notorious users of twitter.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "very misleading without additional context"

    Any ideas why that context might be missing?

    1. VinceH

      Don't pressure them - they need time to make up something that sounds plausible.

  9. JohnFen Silver badge

    Here's hoping

    Here's hoping that this is the beginning of the end of Facebook. I doubt Facebook will cease to exist, but I'd be absolutely thrilled if they followed Myspace into irrelevancy.

    It probably isn't, but it's a nice fantasy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Here's hoping

      It's worth remembering that FB in 2012 was a very different beast to FB in 2018 (i.e. check the revenue graphs here: https://www.statista.com/statistics/277229/facebooks-annual-revenue-and-net-income/)

      I have no doubt FB provided access to a lot of this data as they were actively trying to work out a way of getting revenue from their users over this time period and were a little lax with who they gave access too because it looked like they were going to be the next MySpace.

      By the time FB started to work out how to make money from their user base (around 2013-2014), access to a lot of the API's being discussed had been heavily restricted/rate limited or removed entirely. And FB's advertising model is effectively the same model used by YouTube - they rely on users to provide content and sell advertising around that versus the targetted advertising model that they originally favored. A lot of the content is owned by other parties and the value varies significantly with time (i.e. sporting events).

      I'm not trying to defend FB's practices - just suggesting they weren't always as healthy as they are now and in that time desperation lead to either making bad decisions or working with third parties that were even less scrupulous.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Here's hoping

        The API issue is not my major beef with Facebook, so them limiting that doesn't really affect my opinion of them.

        My beef with Facebook is primarily around two things: first, the straight-up deceptive and unfair manipulation of its users in order to keep them using the platform, and second, the fact that they compile data on me even though I don't use Facebook.

        "effectively the same model used by YouTube"

        Comparing them to anything Google does isn't doing them any favors.

        Facebook is evil and can fuck right off.

  10. Skwosh

    Users should pay to use Facebook

    This is from the BBC's excerpts of the emails:

    [...] from an email sent by Mark Zuckerberg to several of his executives in which he explains why he does not think making users pay for Facebook would be a good idea [...] dated 19 November 2012:

    "[...] My sense is there may be some price we could charge that wouldn't interfere with ubiquity, but this price wouldn't be enough to make us real money[...] "

    I take this to mean they could probably run the business without all the unpleasantness of ads and slurping and stalking if they just charged a price low enough that it wouldn't significantly impact the users, but if they did that then they wouldn't make anything like as much money.

    So much for the core mission simply being to 'connect people'.

    Anyway, whenever I suggest that if users actually paid for these services it might be a solution to a lot of problems I just get told that no one will pay ever and whatever the cost would be it will be too much anyway and that I do not understand how the internet works and that I am an idiot.

    It is interesting to learn that the chief executive of Facebook appears to actually agree with me, it's just that he doesn't want to charge the users because he won't make as much money that way (of course, we may simply both be idiots).

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

      "I just get told that no one will pay ever and whatever the cost would be it will be too much anyway"

      Which would indeed be a solution to those problems!

      1. stevebp

        Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

        You're assuming that FB would charge users and *not* then indulge in data slurping? How likely is that? If the primary intent is to make as much money as possible - an organisation will do that whatever the social cost unless reined in by legislation and regulation (i.e. whatever they can get away with). Some organisations might actually care about their brand image, but my confidence in that has been undermined by the Co-Op's example of CEO misdemeanours

    2. cd

      Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

      "So much for the core mission simply being to 'connect people'."

      It is merely incomplete, the full phrase is "connect people to our databases"

      1. Moog42

        Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

        Or I would offer "connect people to our deposit account"

    3. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

      I take this to mean they could probably run the business without all the unpleasantness of ads and slurping and stalking if they just charged a price low enough that it wouldn't significantly impact the users, but if they did that then they wouldn't make anything like as much money.

      Maybe I'm a hair more pessimistic than you, but I took it too mean charge users as well as sell them and everyone they know to all insundry.

    4. rmason Silver badge

      Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

      @Skwosh

      I firmly believe there is no price low enough that it won't put huge sections of the plebs who are their bread and butter off.

      If they ask for payment there will be a (shitty but improving weekly) alternative thrown up (see gab popping up when "the right" were first being banned on twitter). It was bloody awful on launch, and initially marketed directly at absolute scum. It still took off though, and is growing rapidly.

      That's what would happen, even at something like a dollar a month. It's only practically ubiquitous because it was and is "free".

      That is why, around 6 years after Zuck mentioned it, it still hasn't happened.

      1. Skwosh

        Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

        @rmason

        I firmly believe there is no price low enough that it won't put huge sections of the plebs who are their bread and butter off.

        Maybe. However, I think that is less convincing than it was a few years ago because Spotify, Netflix etc. have proved fairly conclusively that if the price is right a lot of people will pay for convenience, and to an extent not having ads is a 'convenience' (apparently ads are the number one thing FB users complain about). In general an add free version of any given service is going to be a better 'experience'.

        Also, I think how this goes will depend hugely on legislation. At least we now know that Zuck thinks they probably could still run the thing off the back of a low subscription - so if waves of new legislation progressively make the ads-with-slurp funding/business model more and more costly/arduous/toxic then any claim by FB that such changes would completely force them out of business won't fly anymore.

    5. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

      @Skwosh

      The reason the World Wide Web exists at all is that Berners-Lee made it available at no cost. Who now remembers the contemporary whatever-it-was (I've forgotten the name) that died after they tried to charge for it. There was an interface to it in Windows NT3.

      Facebook, Google, and others are well aware of that history.

      Edit: from another comment, I see that I was talking about Gopher.

      1. Skwosh

        Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

        @Primus Secundus Tertius

        The World Wide Web is not available at no cost (sure, use of the IP is at no cost).

        People have to pay for hardware (phones, tablets, PCs) to access the WWW. We have to pay for broadband every month and/or for mobile data services. The network infrastructure has to be paid for. The servers have to be paid for. The electricity to run the infrastructure and the servers has to be paid for. All the money to pay for all of those things has to come from somewhere. If someone somewhere wasn't coughing up the money on a regular basis then we couldn't have a WWW.

        FB pays for all this stuff too. It pays in order to provide its service over the WWW. If FB didn't pay for servers and all that shit there would be no FB service. At the moment this is paid for by advertisers off the back of huge amounts of personal data extracted from FB users. That model appears to be generating increasingly negative 'externalities' (undermining democracy etc...)

        There is, however, an alternative.

        Life is sometimes about making the least worst choice.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

          "The World Wide Web is not available at no cost "

          In an absolute sense, sure. However, there is plenty of stuff on the web that really is available at no cost (either in data or money) to users. The people running the services have to pay for it, of course, but not the users.

        2. Primus Secundus Tertius

          Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

          @Skwosh

          Thank you for replying to my comment.

          My career in the software industry showed me that people are generally willing to pay for hardware, but sorely begrudge paying for software. Your reply shows that FB will pay for hardware, but does not disprove my point about paying for software.

          PS I do not use Facebook. Ghastly nonsense for American extroverts.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

        You clearly have no idea what you are on about.

        Gopher was a protocol, it even has an RFC if I recall correctly. The only 'charge for it' was for some specific implementations of the server software, just like many HTTP server implementations are charged for. It was completely free to use, just like WWW.

        What killed Gopher was that it had no provision for slapping a big animated GIF advert in the middle of the page and earning money from views and clickthroughs, hence it got trampled underfoot in the stampede to cash in on the web 1.0 bubble.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

          "What killed Gopher"

          Gopher isn't dead, it's just a lot smaller. There are still live Gopher servers around.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

        "Who now remembers the contemporary whatever-it-was (I've forgotten the name) that died after they tried to charge for it."

        There were probably several walled gardens eg AOL.

        There was also U/usenet which was a global news group service enabled by most ISPs. Think of El Reg comments for any subject under the sun - but with better client control of personal thread content.

        It was probably the origin of the idea that once something has been posted on the internet - then it will always exist somewhere in the global distributed storage.

        In the late 1990s many ISP's became very patchy in storing and propagating the ever expanding number of daily posts. Some people constantly attempted to get ISPs to block groups with content that offended their narrow view of the world.

        To ensure you saw all the posts in your selected news groups you usually had to pay a subscription to a dedicated supplier.

        Eventually most UK ISPs dropped support for the service.

        It surprises me to find that in 2018 there are still such specialist suppliers. Don't know whether it is predominantly used for moderated group discussions, ALT group discussions, or ALT.BIN downloads.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

          "There was also U/usenet which was a global news group service "

          Is, not was. There still some thriving groups, just not as many as there used

          to be.

    6. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge
      Stop

      Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

      One of the reasons I was an early adopter and vocal supporter of whatsapp was the business model. Free for a year and then a $1 dollar a year after. I've always refused to have accounts with Facebook Twitter and the rest, as I saw them for what they were form the start.

      Then Facebook saw their success and ate them. I know I'm going to have to dump it soon, even though I deny them anything with each new update (they make finding the final fuck off button a nightmare). I would have happily paid for a secure way to talk to individual contacts ( I leave any group the moment somebody adds me). But I have no option but to drop it; because my personal information is worth way more to me than one fucking dollar a year (or $0.10 in Fucks universe)

      PS you may have guessed I have nothing but contempt for these thieves.

      1. tim 13

        Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

        Whatsapp is free (at point of use anyway) isn't it?

      2. Skwosh

        Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

        This is a hobbyhorse of mine, but since someone else mentioned whatsapp I'll point out again that it is an interesting example of something that was intended to be a very low cost pay-for service (until it was eaten by FB - perhaps because its success was setting a dangerous precedent).

        The original 'manifesto' of the whatsapp creators from 2012 is still up, and I think it makes interesting reading:

        https://blog.whatsapp.com/245/Why-we-dont-sell-ads

        When people ask us why we charge for WhatsApp, we say "Have you considered the alternative?"

    7. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

      "no one will pay ever and whatever the cost would be it will be too much anyway"

      That sounds to me like Zuckerberg actually agreeing with them, not with you who seems to think there would be a reasonable business case charging the users for access. Zuckerberg very explicitly does not think so, at any level the users would consider not to "be too much anyway".

      1. Skwosh

        Re: Users should pay to use Facebook

        @DropBear

        What you're quoting there is what I say people (like you I guess) say to me when I talk about the idea that people should pay for the service.

        As a reminder, this is what Zuck said:

        "[...] there may be some price we could charge that wouldn't interfere with ubiquity, but this price wouldn't be enough to make us real money"

        I take "some price we could charge that wouldn't interfere with ubiquity..." to mean there is a price we (FB) could charge that would be low enough to not put people off using the service - as in, we would still be ubiquitous...

        But... "this price wouldn't be enough to make us real money" which I take to mean that if we (FB) did this we would still make some money, but just not lots and lots and lots of it.

        Yes?

  11. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    End Run

    This has the feel of an end run around the feral courts and their venality. If you have a couple of functioning braincells you have long suspect Suckerberg and merchants of sleaze had ethics that would make a mafioso puke in disgust. Thanks to the end run we know the suspicion is actually fact.

    1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: End Run

      ...the feral courts...

      Red in tooth and claw?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: End Run

        "Red in tooth and claw?"

        The way things are going they will be "orange in tooth and claw".

  12. LinuxSailorTech
    Black Helicopters

    Proof...

    Do we need any more proof that not having facebook is a good idea? I think not!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    Value of friends data

    “The idea of linking access to friends data to the financial value of the developers relationship with Facebook is a recurring feature of the documents.”

    @Badoo: ‘The friends data we receive from users is integral to our product (and indeed a key reason for building Facebook verification into our apps).’

    @Konstantinos Papamiltidas: ‘As promised, please find attached the docs for Hashed Friends API .. we will need to sign an agreement that would allow you access to this API.’

    @Sachin Monga: ‘Without the ability to access non-app friends, the Messages API becomes drastically less useful. It will also be impossible to build P2P payments within the RBC app, which would have dire consequences for our partnership with them.’

    @Konstantinos Papamiltidas: ‘Removing access to all friends lists seems more like an indirect way to drive NEKO adoption.’

    @Mark Zuckerberg: ‘It seems like we need some way to fast app switch to the FB app to show a dialog on our side that lets you select which of your friends you want to invite to an app .. I want to make sure this is explicitly tied to pulling non-app friends out of friends.get (friends information)’.

    @Justin Osofksy: “Twitter launched Vine today which lets you shoot multiple short video segments to make one single, 6-second video... Unless anyone raises objections, we will shut down their friends API access today. We've prepared reactive PR, and I will let Jana know our decision.”

    @Mark Zuckerberg: “Yup, go for it.”

    @Michael LeBeau: ‘As you know all the growth team is planning on shipping a permissions update on Android at the end of this month. They are going to include the 'read call log' permission .. [The danger is] .. journalists dig into what exactly the new update is requesting, then write stories about "Facebook uses new Android update to pry into your private life in ever more terrifying ways".’

    @Mark Zuckerberg: “It's not at all clear to me here that we have a model that will actually make us the revenue we want at scale .. I think we leak info to developers but I just can't think of any instances where that data has leaked from developer to developer and caused a real issue for us.”

    Note by Damian Collins MP, Chair of the DCMS Committee

  14. The Nazz Silver badge

    Thank you Mr D Collins.

    For your (and colleagues) actions on this matter including seizure and publication. Well done.

    Now, if you would just be so kind as to arrange for absolutely FULL and TOTAL* disclosure of all matters relating to UK parliamentary expenses, house "flipping" and such like, everyone, not just those successfully prosecuted for it, so that you and colleagues can also be reviewed by various externalities, then i would be ever so obliged. Thank you in advance.

    What's that? You couldn't possibly do that? Why ever not?

    * with one exception. I don't really wish to know the actual title of the pornographic material claimed on expenses, in the full performance of her parliamentary duties, made by a former Home Secretary.

  15. Muppet Boss
    Thumb Up

    Happy times

    Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

    We wish you a Merry Christmas;

    We wish you a Merry Christmas;

    We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    We won't go until we get some;

    We won't go until we get some;

    We won't go until we get some, so bring some out here

    We wish you a Merry Christmas;

    We wish you a Merry Christmas;

    We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

    Yours sincerely,

    DCMS COMMITTEE

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And they called me paranoid....

    Bwaaahahahaaahaaaaaaaa

    Zucks to be you (FB user)

  17. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    IT Angle

    Riddle me this?

    The claimed reason for collecting users' personal data is targeted advertising. But has ANYONE ever received a truly targeted advert? In my experience, they seem to fall into one of two camps; "people who bought this, bought that", and those bloody things that haunt you after a purchase based on the principle that since you bought a tap washer yesterday you'll be in the buying zone for more for the next two weeks.

    So no, it ain't for targeted advertising. What then...?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Riddle me this?

      In my experience, they seem to fall into one of two camps; "people who bought this, bought that", and those bloody things that haunt you after a purchase based on the principle that since you bought a tap washer yesterday you'll be in the buying zone for more for the next two weeks.

      Yes, and because of this I've decided the real suckers in this is the companies convinced that it's effective (or at least more effective than traditional advertising strategies) and forking out money to Facebook for little return value.

      I'm probably deluding myself, but it does make me feel better and less of a chump (not that I ever use Facebook).

      1. BoldMan

        Re: Riddle me this?

        A friend of mine who used to be in advertising summed it up as such - I think he was paraphrasing somebody else though -

        "We know that 50% of the money we spend is wasted, but we don't know WHICH 50%"

        Its probably more than 50% now, but that is the way the ad industry works.

    2. dajames Silver badge

      Re: Riddle me this?

      The claimed reason for collecting users' personal data is targeted advertising. But has ANYONE ever received a truly targeted advert?

      The point about targeted advertising isn't that the advertisers will actually show you only advertisements that are relevant to your future purchasing needs -- that would truly be a neat trick!

      No, the point is for the data gobblers to be able to persuade the advertisers to whom they sell your data that this will enable them to target their advertising more effectively, and so to charge more for the data.

    3. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Riddle me this?

      The advertising is targeted. It's just crap. The whole notion is a scheme to draw advert budgets from TV, Radio, Cinema, Print, Billboards and simple images + link on websites to Google's or Facebook's advertising platform.

      Obviously Google and Facebook think it works (and Amazon to an extent), or hope that it will work better later. See also myths about Big Data, Machine Learning and AI.

      -

      From the start Facebook and Google's financial model is advertising. The illegal tracking and data gathering is supposed to improve it. MS thinks it's smart to copy Google and Adobe. Hence Win10 & Office 365. They are being investigated.

      It's been obvious for a while that Facebook will sell not just adverts based on the data but the data also. I don't think Adobe (ePubs with DRM etc), Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft are selling data to 3rd parties, however their collection whatever the usage is also wrong.

      This isn't a fresh revelation, just more evidence.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Riddle me this?

      "But has ANYONE ever received a truly targeted advert?"

      My FB account was set up only to trawl boychoir pages in order to collate and publish their concert events.

      Before I locked it down - and installed uBlock and Ghostery - I used to get side bar adverts with pictures showing me there were lots of voluptuous women in "your area" who would love to meet me. Other adverts were for more prosaic "local" businesses - which happened to be hundreds of miles away in all directions.

      Many of the choirs are apparently now deserting FB - so it has now become obsolete as a source of information.

      1. AK565

        Re: Riddle me this?

        I've a friend who features the yearly naked Orthodox priest calendar on his rainbow FB page. Yet his adverts are mostly for Turkish men seeking "real" moslem wives. Go figure.

        Most of the "targetted" ads aimed my way are for things ive never had need to research or buy. They're just completely random.

        One would think someone would notice thIs untargetted nature of supposedly targetted adverts. Or I missing the plot?

    5. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Riddle me this?

      The hype behind targeted advertising ignores context. It also ignores that individuals that are seemingly identical are not in fact identical. Plus if the ad is based on a search or previous purchase you need to know the context of the purchase. Was the dog toy a gift to friend who has a dog or do I own a dog? In my case it would be a gift. Or was the purchase or search done for someone else? Again context is key. In my case, cat food advertising is waste as my cats are very fussy eaters and will only eat certain brands and flavors. Again context is key, what is the underlying reason for the purchase decisions.

      The goal of advertising is brand and product awareness. So when one is looking for that type of product one is aware of the brand when they see it. Thus at given moment most advertising buys are 'wasted' because they will not lead to an immediate sale even 'targeted' advertising.

  18. PhilipN Silver badge

    Alternative business model please

    Today's internet was built on the back of advertisers' dollars, yes? Was there another way? I am genuinely interested.

    We all or most of us pay a monthly stipend for the bandwidth, not that much different in principle from the days of ftp, gopher, etc but would we have had all the graphical and multimedia content?

    Reminds me the thinking is that porn was behind the growth of VHS.

    Any advance on ads, porn ..... ?

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Alternative business model please

      Reminds me the thinking is that porn was behind the growth of VHS.

      Any advance on ads, porn ..... ?

      If you were 11-15 and male during the rise of the video cassette recorder, the main reason to hassle parents to invest in the new tech was more likely to be the fake underground Horror flicks.

      Which had the almost wholesome benefit of being actually far tamer than young imaginations perceived they might be.

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Alternative business model please

        "the main reason to hassle parents to invest in the new tech was more likely to be the fake underground Horror flicks."

        I am of that age group, and underground horror flicks (I assume you're talking about "snuff" films) were certainly not what was on anybody's mind. It was all about the porn. Sure, everyone heard rumors about snuff films, but literally nobody I knew was actually interested in seeing any. Naked ladies, though, that's a different thing entirely!

        Perhaps this is a regional thing.

    2. stevebp

      Re: Alternative business model please

      Porn was behind the growth of video streaming and the internet too - now it's Netflix

      1. BebopWeBop Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Alternative business model please

        I'm sure porn has its equivalent :-)

        1. Scunner

          Re: Alternative business model please

          FishnetFlix?

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Alternative business model please

      "Today's internet was built on the back of advertisers' dollars, yes?"

      I suppose that depends on what you mean by "today's internet". You're really talking about the web, not the internet, and a certain large segment of the web is absolutely built on ad dollars. But another large segment of the web was not.

      The internet itself is not primarily ad-driven and was not built on advertiser's dollars.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Alternative business model please

      "[...] but would we have had all the graphical and multimedia content?"

      Almost certainly yes. The usenet type news groups were a real jungle of good, bad, and nasty. By the late 1990s alt.bin groups were doing video downloads - even though the usual home dial-up connection was at best 28kbps to 56kbps. Possibly usenet still has such things - doing a quick google revealed recent blogs offering comparisons of usenet with TOR for such things.

      The difference would have been that people would have had to pay a subscription to get a decent news group supplier with enough storage to hold all the postings. Even before 2000 - ordinary ISPs were not making any serious effort to keep up with the volume of daily propagation and distributed storage.

  19. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Pirate

    First against the wall

    After we're done with the environment-destroying governments and companies, so they have some time to reflect on their antisocial behaviour.

  20. Mystic Megabyte Silver badge
    Linux

    Incentive

    I've never had a FB account but after reading this I'm going to install Pi-hole this weekend. In fact I might make a few pennies by selling an advert free solution to local people.

  21. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    The lesson we can learn out of this is that once you send your CEO/CFO/COO over into international territory, said territory may be hostile and may attach any data devices (laptop/usb memory stick/etc) said CEO/CFO/COO may have on their person, or have with them.

    Expect a lot of paranoia to erupt all over the place, and CEO/CFO/COO-types to request danger pay.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      They will no doubt find any means of extracting additional cash from their paymasters.....

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      @ASAC - I suspect there was more of a 'nod, nod, wink, wink' to this whole affair. The documents were conveniently with a C-suite who could claim he needed to review them while on the road in a foreign country. Said foreign country issued a warrant to get those documents as they wanted them to. Said person coughs up the documents rather willingly. The only issue is how did said foreign country know the documents were in the country unless someone made sure they knew.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real fun has n't even started yet..

    Just wait until it comes out that Facebook have been doing "data swap" deals with the big financial institutions and retailers, (at least in the US), so that they have extremely detailed financial records of not only what their registered user earn and spend, but friends, family and acquaintances who are not even register users. We are not talking consolidated data, but individual transaction data.

    This is very very illegal stuff under US law. Which is notoriously lax on data consolidators. The only question now is not whether Zuckerberg is charged for multiple criminal conspiracies (plus RICO) but if he will avoid jail. This sort of stuff plays out over years so dont expect anything to happen in the short term but within the next decade Zuckerberg and FB will be toast.

    If you dont think it can happen then look up the case of Michael Milken. From highest paid guy in the US to prison inmate in 5 years.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: The real fun has n't even started yet..

      Credit card companies and Loyalty card schemes, not just in USA but in EU and UK are selling data to Google.

      That probably wasn't legal in EU even before GDPR.

      Eircom in Ireland (who are not Irish) have moved legal HQ from Dublin to Jersey. When you sign up you are offered chance to opt out of phone, SMS, email and other marketing. Last year those were pre-opted in. What they DON'T tell you is that by default, hidden in your online page if you register, is two sets of nasty settings: Your WiFi is shared to other Eir customers (managed remote on modem/router they supply, no visible user setting) and you are pre-opted into every sort of marketing when you stop being a customer. I only found the two pages on the website (when you log in) because I was looking a few weeks ago how to cancel the contract after a year and was their year 13 months? I didn't find answer to either question. I guess I'll cancel DD after 12th payment and write / email to them.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: The real fun has n't even started yet..

      "Just wait until it comes out that Facebook have been doing "data swap" deals with the big financial institutions and retailers, (at least in the US)"

      I wonder if there would be an outcry over this, given that Google publicly stated that they do this sort of thing and nobody blinked.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The real fun has n't even started yet..

        > "Just wait until it comes out that Facebook have been doing "data swap" deals with the big financial institutions and retailers, (at least in the US)"

        I wonder if there would be an outcry over this, given that Google publicly stated that they do this sort of thing and nobody blinked

        >

        Actually what Goggle did was quite different. Someone, some underling, had the bright idea of "let get some real world metrics" for ad effectiveness using real world transaction. After sometime someone high up in legal heard about, and the wider world. A large amount of shit hit the fan. End of metrics collection experiment.

        Part of the story here..

        https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-30/google-and-mastercard-cut-a-secret-ad-deal-to-track-retail-sales

        What FB does is straight up info harvesting of individual financial transactions, as mentioned in the article. When combined with their other Stasi level of intrusive surveillance you got a lot of laws broken.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: The real fun has n't even started yet..

          "End of metrics collection experiment."

          First, you're using "metrics" in an overly broad sense here. Google purchases this data in order to match up online activity with physical purchase activity. That's a whole lot more than what people tend to think of when they think "metrics".

          Second, I don't see anywhere that this effort has ended. I may have missed it, but even the article you linked to doesn't say they've stopped.

          Third, it's not just credit card information. Google also has deal to collect Wifi & Bluetooth pings that stores increasingly use to track you. Google has expanded their already overly invasive spying activities into the physical world on several fronts.

          I'm not seeing how their behavior is better than Facebook's.

  23. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    FB on my Android devices?

    Zuck on man... I have no FB crap on any of my Droids, and prefer to keep them Zuckerborg-free, kthanxbai.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      .....you missed this report, didn't you?

      @Anonymous_South_African_Coward

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/22/facebook_data_leak_no_account/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: .....you missed this report, didn't you?

        www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/22/facebook_data_leak_no_account/

        1. Anonymous Coward
    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      FB on my Android devices?

      Zuck on man... I have no FB crap on any of my Droids, and prefer to keep them Zuckerborg-free, kthanxbai.

      I can one-up that, I'm Android free as well.

      Even less slurp - It's bad enough on the (I was going to write regular desktop internet access, but it's probably less so these days) without letting it follow you as you carry it around in your pocket tracking you.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Devil

        "I can one-up that, I'm Android free as well."

        I can two-up that with my fiendish two-layer defence. Against direct snooping I'm protected by simply not having any Facebook or Twitter accounts. Second, against posts from friends and family betraying the Ferrari and the mansion I cannot possibly afford I'm protected by the fact that, uh, I cannot possibly afford any*.

        * Yes, I also make my life dull and uninteresting on purpose for the same reason - to starve them of anything they might foolishly post about me. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it...!

  24. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    FAIL

    I'm on faceborg

    And signed to be a mindless drone.

    Actually its to stay in touch with old friends who've scattered to the four winds. and the USA.

    Having a fairly decent mobile, I thought "how about the FB app for android"

    So I looked at the download page, and clicked 'permissions needed'

    Zuckenburg.... you can f... right off. (for those who've never looked, the permissions are for EVERYTHING on your phone to be accessible to FB.... )

    Oh and the targeted ads on FB are laughable... ranging from washing machines just after posting "I've got a new washing machine".... dur.. I've just spent 400 quid on a new one why the hell do I want another? to age based ads for the sort of problems faced by elderly people (and no I'm not ready for a stairlift/tena pants/equity release/care home yet!)

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: I'm on faceborg

      Use email.

      Maybe Viber for real time text and chat, or perhaps Telegram or Signal?

      I tried QQ for a while after Skype got broken on XP (as I'm not Chinese), then I moved to Linux. Only Chinese QQ for Linux.

      Note that several popular systems are owned and borged by Facebook.

    2. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: I'm on faceborg

      "Actually its to stay in touch with old friends who've scattered to the four winds. and the USA."

      You don't need Facebook for that. There are numerous other non-awful ways to do the same thing.

  25. JimPoak
    Childcatcher

    Gota catch them all

    This smacks of the cartoon series Pokémon or in my day the child catcher (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang)' Even if you did not have an account you could still end up on their database through your friends though loosing control of their phone contact list and even worse their dialling logs. I under stand there is little or no human intervention, the machines do all the selection. I was thinking what if you denied them every thing and see what the machines make of that. They did not give up. The advertising stared fairly mundane when I did not go click happy the images became darker until a child appeared in make up and not in the face paint usually associated with children. At which point I stopped the experiment. Machines have no moral compass as Google found out. Catcher later (On some database or another).

  26. Mage Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Baffled

    Hasn't this always been the model?

    That's hardly news or a surprise! They make money by claiming their adverts are better than TV, radio, paper & billboards because they are targeted using illegally gathered personal information. Even people browsing websites with [F] button who are not members.

    Advertisers believe it, though the whole concept that targeting adverts make much difference might be fake snake-oil. I've bought a Laser printer or a toilet seat. Why would I want another?

    There is a simple remedy which will not stop sites making money from advertising. Ban collection of user behaviour and data (actually in many ways illegal in EU 12 years ago, not just GDPR) AND ban targeted ads, ban 3rd party scripts and adverts with scripts. An image that is the same for EVERYONE with a link. Anything else is abuse.

  27. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Stop

    Why Facebook will never charge ...

    ... because it would render them liable to provide the service paid for on a contractual basis.

    And one thing the legals systems of the world have been honed to do over the years, is regulate contract law.

    It's one thing to offer a "premium" service which a few mugs will cough for (LinkedIn - if anyone does ???). But *every* *single* *user* ????? Imagine the sueballs then ?

  28. Jim 59

    "Would you like to login using Facebook", that question that pops up on many non-Facebook sites, is so obvioualy a bad idea that most rational adults will click "no" 10,000 times, even without stories like the above. You really have no idea what Facebook is doing behind the scenes, but you sure don't want it to involve your authentication credentials for any other sites, or any other personal secrets for that matter.

    Some will do it though, eg. children, perhaps young people or just the less cynical among us. Therein lies the problem.

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