Facebook is not an appropriate place for information dissemination

Over the time I have been on the interwebs I have taken to heart one thing – information is everywhere if it is anywhere. When you google any of my pseudonyms you will find a bunch of my information, much of which I am responsible for. I have worked on a number of HL2, Source, Unreal, mediawiki, wordpress and even some phpbb projects all of which are public. I have a blog, wiki, forum, twitter, linked in and even a facebook account which each serve their own purpose and are all tied to me. Standing up for your opinion is important, but I’ll be damned if a question hasn’t been popping up a lot over the last year…

Why the fuck is that on your facebook page?
This question is usually tied a handful of other important questions…

  • Do you realize employers are able to find this page?
  • Do you realize that your mother is one of your friends?
  • Really? A bong out of a watermelon?
  • Why the hell would anyone want to know about that?

I used to have a myspace account. It was fun and games for a little while. I was there before you had access to reformatting your page and changing colors of the tables to properly hurt the eyes, and before everyone embedded auto-play music from garbage artists which was always way too loud. There was one point when myspace was the cool place to be… now, not so much.

Facebook is becoming such a cess pool and it actually takes things a step further, banking on the relationships you have on their site to improve their advertisements. Like coke products?

We’ve run advertisements from our own advertising system for more than a year that let your friends know if you have a direct connection with a product or service, in the same way that your friends learn through your News Feed if you’re connected with another friend or an organization’s Facebook Page.

These social ads always require that you and your friends have taken an express action to indicate your connections with the product or service and that no data be shared with the third party. [1]

Facebook games invade your privacy

Vast amounts of data – including the names of individual members and their online ‘friends’ – were passed to internet advertising firms, with tens of millions of people thought to have been affected. [2]

Oh and remember those pictures your friend put up, tagged and you fought with to remove the tags?

The feature, called “Tag Suggestions,” uses facial recognition technology to match newly updated photos to the social networking site to photos that have been tagged, or identified, elsewhere, suggesting to the user the names of people in the photos for easier tagging. [3][4]

It is scary on a different level. On Myspace I was content to just say no and drop the site, but the fact that my account is active on fb allows other people to tag me, and link to my profile (including having that image show up on my wall. Thankfully I have limited profiles in place to help mitigate that bullshit and I walk through images that tag me when I see them, and mind you that is not to ignore the fact that my friends are reasonable. Thanks guys.

For the record, Facebook is not the appropriate place for information dissemination means that you probably shouldn’t be posting about:

  • your medicinal marijuana card being revoked
  • your girlfriends sexual habits, or lack there of
  • your ability to get over on other friends, family or the gov’t
  • your criminal history, considering the statute of limitations does not last as long as the wayback machine or google cache

And this is not a complete list, by any means. For what it’s worth, you should ask yourself if you would be comfortable telling your mother about something, and expecting her to tell everyone else you know and or care about.

I would also like to go on record saying that a blog or any other web page is only a few steps in the right direction. Caching and the wayback machine still work on private websites. The benefit is simply that you are no longer relying on others to shelter your data from their stockholders and game services.

Please read their privacy guide and don’t just take their word for it.


  1. http://www.facebook.com/blog.php?post=110636457130
  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1321573/Facebook-games-privacy-breach-User-IDs-passed-advertising-firms.html
  3. http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,15144128,00.html
  4. http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20070148-93/facebook-facial-recognition-prompts-eu-privacy-probe/
  • cool read… i miss your thinking 🙂

    i take the crazy asshole stance that somehow this stuff should be confronted. rather than deescalate it (which is not possible), we gotta move through it somehow.

    i would tell my mother just about anything – but that’s my problem. still, it seems somehow off that guys like me would get the brunt of such a societal development. that is, a public record can impact you years down the line, so speaking your mind is often a no-no on the WWW. we interact with one another more and more on the WWW and less and less on the face-to-face, so shouldn’t we strive for a quality conversation wherever it takes place?

    frankly, i stand to think it will result in a selection of folks/individuals that are better at lying and better at concealing themselves. that’s not quite cool either. maybe there is something significantly different to this development/invasion of privacy that merits an entirely new upheaval rather than the typical pattern/cycle.

    who knows? maybe the farmer down the road who sells blueberries/medical marijuana…

    • =)

      My nephew just let his mother find out that he was arrested through a facebook message. =

      Ill be posting more frequently in the coming weeks. Hope you are well. i am still watching spintheweb.org =)

  • mike whitfield

    Watch the dukebag assmunch. It’s my tech philosophy blog. honest, the dev game changed for me when I tried it as a career. Sure id like to solve cool problems, but you gotta make it viable business. im glad you’re keeping up with hobbyists dev(I assume you still are doing your day job). Gotta smash through it – me style, you know how I do 🙂

    I’ll be around