December 25, 2014

Five Reactions to the latest Facebook Scandal.


News: Facebook Inc must face a class action lawsuit accusing it of violating its users’ privacy by scanning the content of messages they send to other users for advertising purposes, a U.S. judge has ruled (reuters.com)

Here at elephant, readers (on Facebook) sometimes complain about being asked to subscribe. We always say, you don’t have to! You can read three a day, 21 a week, free, enough for 98% of our readers! If you’ve read your three, just come back tomorrow! Or, yeah, subscribe for $1/month (the price of one sip of coffee) & we give that money to our editors and best writers to do good work for you! And, we add, if it’s free, you’re the product! Facebook is not a Social Network! It’s an advertising platform.

And that’s okay. But this isn’t:

facebook messages

Yup! Facebook is getting sued for Reading your Private Messages & sharing their Content with Advertisers.

Which, of course, violates the law: if I am understanding this correctly, Facebook used your private messages to say that you liked certain websites and this personally identifiable knowledge was shared with others. If that’s the case, then it was super uncool and requires some litigation, even if the TOS potentially allowed for it. If the UI/UX implies that a message is private, they can’t hide it deep in the contract that it is not and expect that to hold up in court as fair to all parties. There is a reasonable expectation regarding the nature of services rendered.”

“My girlfriend sent me the link to a dress she was thinking about buying in a private Facebook message. The ads on the side of my Facebook page were that dress and others from that website for the next week or so.”

“I once had a joking conversation with someone via Facebook IM about being in heroin, and for the next month was seeing banner ads for rehab programs and drug help hotlines. Creepy.”

Google does the same thing.”

“Wow, good, they should get sued for that.”


Join Ello. @elephantjournal & @waylonlewis are on there. It’s privacy based, and ad free.


Remember: “if it’s free, you’re the product.”

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