back to article Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is: 1. More ad revenue, and 2. Good PR. Lots of love – Mark, aged 34½

Facebook has found itself the subject of yet more shouty headlines as details of deals that gave more than 150 companies special access to user data were spilled. The latest in the list of problematic reports into the embattled firm's business model comes from the New York Times. It claims that some businesses, including …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Unless some of these execs face a massive fine and jail, nothing will change.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      If Herr Drumpf and his "organizations" can be subject to 17 different criminal investigations, why can't Zuckerfuck be subject to the same level of scrutiny for some of the same kinds of violations?

      Oh...that's right. Zuckerfuck runs a corporation and in spite of what Mitt Romney might have you believe, corporations are (in the U.S., anyway) above the law.

      No, I'm not suggesting Zuckerfuck committed treason or "colluded" with Russians, but this is rather analogous to the crooked stuff the Trump Foundation was found to be doing, n'est-ce pas?

      1. DougS Silver badge

        why can't Zuckerfuck be subject to the same level of scrutiny

        Because he's not president. If the furor and investigations over Clinton's Whitewater deal (a $100K investment that lost money, but still ultimately lead prosecutors to the famous blue dress) proved anything, it is that you better be squeaky clean if you want to be a scandal-free president. You definitely don't want to be someone who thinks and acts like a mob boss, it is going to catch up to you.

        There have been people in the NYC press writing articles about Trump's shady and illegal business behavior for decades, but most of us never really heard about that stuff and he wasn't ever given any real scrutiny because there are a LOT of crooks in any big city like NYC. Other than being a publicity hound he flew under the radar - he is nowhere near being one of the biggest players in Manhattan real estate, though you wouldn't know it if you listen to his lies. There aren't enough prosecutors to give everyone who deserves it the proper level of scrutiny, so most fall through the cracks.

        1. Someone Else Silver badge

          Being the president has fuck all to do with lawbreaking (although upon further review...maybe not). Both Herr Lügenführer and Zuckerfuck lied to Congress....

          1. DougS Silver badge

            I'm simply arguing that being the president means you will be subject to more scrutiny, not only of the actions you take as president but any criminal behavior from years ago that was overlooked by overworked prosecutors with bigger fish to fry at the time.

            I mean, right now somewhere in the US is a man or woman who will be president 30 years from now, and that person might be engaged in something that isn't legal. Is there any reason you would expect top journalists from the biggest newspapers and networks in the country devote a lot of their time to investigating that person? Of course not, there are a million like them all over the country engaged in similar behavior, the only difference is that they won't ever be the president. When they are president, they better hope they don't have too much to hide, because their secrets won't stay secret for long once journalists and prosectors start talking to people who were around them and know those secrets too.

            Zuckerberg may be more famous than that anonymous future president, but he isn't the president. He is getting a LOT more scrutiny from the press looking for bad behavior than he was a couple years ago, when they were mostly singing his praises. If they turn up enough dirt, maybe it will get prosecutors looking into it, but in the US it is difficult to prosecute people for actions they take as an officer of a publicly traded company. If it is a private company you own yourself like Trump, that's a very different matter.

    2. Charles Calthrop

      I disagree.

      My wife uses Internet explorer. If that wasn't bad enough, to open gmail, she types in google.com, then searches for 'gmail'. Just typing that out infurirates me, but what can you do? Anyway, the point is she is most definitely not an IT user, does not care about tech news etc. But she doesn't use FB anymore because of 'this privacy stuff c4 news keep going on aboout'

      I know, of course, this is anecdotal evidence. But nonetheless I do think it is having a huge effect. A final straw when you think it's full of ads and sponsored content anyway.

      I think the bigger problem is neither of my teenage kids have any intention whatsoever of using it; it's for old people.

      the sooner fb dies, the better. An absolute stain on humanity. Happy Christmas Mark.

      1. Waseem Alkurdi

        she types in google.com, then searches for 'gmail'. Just typing that out infurirates me

        Come moi, mon ami!

        1. ST Silver badge
          Happy

          > she types in google.com, then searches for 'gmail'

          How about going to google.com and then clicking on the link aptly named "Gmail" that can be found in the upper-right-hand-corner of the Google page?

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            How about going to google.com and then clicking on the link aptly named "Gmail" that can be found in the upper-right-hand-corner of the Google page?

            Don't be ridiculous! That's too hard! As is clicking on the bookmark you set up for me when you showed me how to do this a year ago.

            [Me bangs head against wall, and gives up.]

    3. The Nazz Silver badge

      "Unless some of these execs face a massive fine and jail, nothing will change."

      Allow me if i may :

      Unless some of these execs face a fine and massive jail time, nothing will change.

      As a mostly non-techie, what about the culpability in all of this in regards to the multitudes of app developers? One has to assume that the majority of these knew PRECISELY what they were doing in obtaining private information, often by obfuscation?

  2. Semtex451 Silver badge

    I'm not convinced that (the majority of) FBs target audience will ever actually care about their data, photos or personal information. FB know this.

    In their 'minds', the more people that see them as successful, glamourous and in tune (sic) the better.

    1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

      Came here to say the same thing--I don't see much of evidence of:

      'the damage that reports like these do to public trust'

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        I see some anecdotal evidence of this. My daughter and her friends (20somethings) avoid Facebook, and they do comment on how FB can't be trusted. Although, truth be told, they mostly don't use Facebook because they think of it as a place for old farts and companies.

        1. Ledswinger Silver badge

          My daughter and her friends (20somethings) avoid Facebook, and they do comment on how FB can't be trusted

          The same in this household. But sadly they don't learn that data-leeching is not restricted to Zuckerbook, and happily embrace the warm, velvety softness of Snapchat, Instagram and their ilk.

          1. JohnFen Silver badge

            Yes, that's a problem.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The data must flow both ways, that way the NSA/GCHQ only have to deal with one company. I read an interesting article earlier about a woman that wrote a book review that Amazon pulled stating she knew the author, the only thing linking her to the author was following them on Twitter and Facebook plus being at the same event as them a few months earlier. Makes you wonder how much information there is floating about on (nearly) everyone.

    1. #define INFINITY -1 Bronze badge

      Link, please?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sure thing.

        https://gizmodo.com/amazon-and-facebook-reportedly-had-a-secret-data-sharin-1831192148

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      We had our office Christmas party last weekend. A temp, who we've since hired, came along. She must have had either the Google or Facebook check-in stuff enabled. As soon as she next signed into Facebook it offered her the people from our biggest client (that we'd also invited) as new FB "friends". Either because one of them had check-in also turned on - or one of us who's "friends" with them did.

      Another reason I don't use Facebook being that it gives few easy ways to separate different groups of "friends". Though it's better than it was when Google+ first came out with the rather nice Circles feature.

      I have an FB account linked only to family, and using an old email address that does nothing else. But real friends have shown up as options of people I'd like to be FB "friends" with. My guess is that FB has correlated family and friends who have my real email address on their phone's address book - and use the FB app which lets them steal all that info to link that to my unloved FB account.

      They really are a horrible, insidious company - as well as having built a global face recognition database for nothing more than making it slightly quicker to link photos to all your "friends" accounts and up the reading numbers on posts about parties. A database that I'm sure has fallen into all the wrong hands (i.e. ones even worse than Facebook). It's all rather depressing.

      In fact

  4. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Devil

    Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is:

    Well, when it comes to Facebook I think you can probably guess....

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Flame

      Re: Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is:

      A flamethrower?

      Actually I'd suggest we take off and nuke them from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dear Santa, all I want for Christmas is:

        Yawn, try not to use clichés in 2019

  5. LDS Silver badge

    FB "doesn't sell user data" - sure, it just asks money or something else for simple access...

    It really doesn't matter if it sells, rents, leases, etc. them...

    I see the finger here, the word "sell" - obviously he doesn't sell his preciousssss data trove... just giving access for something in exchange.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: FB "doesn't sell user data" - sure, it just asks money or something else for simple access...

      If you get a copy of user data, they are selling it. Legally it might be something else, like how Microsoft doesn't sell you a copy of Windows, but you give them money and walk away with a copy of user data meets about anyone's personal definition of "selling".

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: FB "doesn't sell user data" - sure, it just asks money or something else for simple access...

        "Legally it might be something else"

        And since Facebook depends on splitting hairs to wiggle out of things, you can bet that they're strictly following the legal definition.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: FB "doesn't sell user data" - sure, it just asks money or something else for simple access...

          True, but ultimately Facebook's problem from this might not be legal, but financial. At some point the straw will break the camel's back, and people will start leaving the platform, then ad revenue falls, and the stock price collapses.

          Not saying THIS will be the last straw, but if not it is another straw closer to that last straw.

          1. LDS Silver badge

            "probem [...] might not be legal, but financial"

            Legal problems could become financial ones. Till now, FB business model is based on how easy is to hoard users' data and monetize them.

            Laws like GDPR will make it increasingly difficult. FB may have thought to be able to avoid scrutiny inside its practices, and work around regulations, but its many blunders are actually leading to exactly to that, because more and more people can't trust FB at all - especially the people who can actually enforce it.

            How long it could keep on using deception to lure users into giving FB full permissions on their data? How long its apps could ignore privacy settings without incurring into some regulators fees?

            Sure, Zuckenberg & C. may not end in jail or pay fees with their money, but if FB is fully forced to comply with regulations, its capacity to hoard data will be greatly diminished, and in turn this will impact its financial results as well - up to a point that many investors may start to think it's better to get out, while customers may spend far less in ads, and it may be the beginning of the end.

            Probably Zuck can still retire on a private island and laugh at the fools who gave him data and billions, but it will be still far less rich than he is now.

  6. chivo243 Silver badge

    10x more like

    1500± will be the final count when more secret\silent agreements are winkled out. It's the iceberg concept all over again!! Maybe FarceBook will = Titanic at some point in time?

    That's what I want for X-MAS!

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: 10x more like

      That's all? I'm surprised they didn't offer this to every small business that runs ads on them - "want your ads to be more effective, subscribe to Facebook Ads+ and get access to your customer's friends lists, contacts, likes. For an extra $1 per user, get access to their private messages so you can see what they are really saying about your business!"

  7. nematoad Silver badge
    Happy

    Ok dear!

    Unfortunately for Facebook the FTC somewhat lax writ does not run in the EU. The GDPR's does, and I would expect Mr. Zuckerberg and his company to be hearing from the European Data Protection Board in the near future.

    Mr. Zuckerberg may soon be living in interesting times.

  8. J4

    Must be getting nervous round at Microsoft

    Given that they have been selling copies of the entire linkedin database.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Must be getting nervous round at Microsoft

      Linkedin is just another meat-market for profile abuse.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Watching Faecebook slowly implode is just the greatest Xmas present ever.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just pull the chain and say goodbye to fecesbook.

    2. chivo243 Silver badge
      Boffin

      Slowly isn't fast enough. I say we send Mark's head to the 30th century in a Jar... and let Santa of that storyline kick his ass...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dear Mark

    "I want" doesn't get.

    Not a lot of love

    Santa

    1. Ledswinger Silver badge

      Re: Dear Mark

      I think you'll find he's already got.

      If Facebook as a corporation ceased to exist at this very moment, Zuckerberg is still probably sitting on several billion dollars in cash and investments. And even though he could live the life of a multi millionaire without working another day in his life, there's plenty of companies that would pay him handsomely simply to be associated with his name and his "talent".

      1. JohnFen Silver badge

        Re: Dear Mark

        That's fine by me. I don't care if Zuckerberg is sitting on a pile of money or not. The important thing would be to stop Facebook's assaults on society.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Dear Mark

        there's plenty of companies that would pay him handsomely simply to be associated with his name and his "talent".

        It's a wonder, when it comes down to it, he is probably merely a one-trick pony.

        Might make a good fit for executive for 'weaseling out of things' though.

      3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Dear Mark

        there's plenty of companies that would pay him handsomely simply to be associated with his name and his "talent".

        As his name becomes increasingly toxic I'm not sure about that.

  11. Snowy
    Facepalm

    They do not sell yor data

    No they do not sell your data instead they sell the data about you that they have collected not the data you gave them. The data you gave them just helps them gather more data about you to sell.

    1. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: They do not sell yor data

      That's slicing things pretty thin, though -- it's a distinction without a great deal of difference.

      Personally, I don't give two shits whether they sell it or not. They shouldn't be collecting any data from people who haven't given their informed consent to have that happen in the first place.

    2. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      Re: They do not sell yor data

      They just barter access to them.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge
    FAIL

    One day Mark, one day

    When you stop lying, you'll become a real boy!

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: One day Mark, one day

      Unluckily, he's chosen a fox like Sandberg as his adviser, instead of The Fairy with Turquoise Hair.... and together they built the town of Catchfools....

  13. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

    To all and sundry, near and far, F. Christmas in particular

    King Mark was not a good man.

    He had his little ways;

    And sometimes no one spoke to him

    For days and days and days --

    Though that was largely because he refused when requested to appear.

    "I do want bonuses,

    I do want options.

    I do want a stock price

    That keeps on poppin'.

    I would like more users,

    I do enjoy fame.

    If I share all your data,

    Am I really to blame?"

    King Mark was not a good man.

    His ethics were forgotten,

    His apps were filled with spyware,

    His security was rotten.

    Praise by the press that he once had,

    For months he could not get --

    But he consoled himself each night:

    "Those idiots will soon forget."

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, does this mean those companies would have access to videos my wife sent me which are very explicit (we've been apart due to work for a few months, don't worry I sent some back!)?

    On that note, what about underage images with kids sexting? Are they distributing child porn?

    Very concerning that the term "private" for messaging means "only you and a few major international companies".

    Anon, obviously ;)

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