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Facebook Blatantly Breaches People’s Privacy Again and Again and Again


It seems like an entire week cannot go by without another story surfacing about Facebook blatantly breaching people’s privacy. Recently, MacWorld magazine reported that Facebook is secretly adding applications to people’s profiles. This kind of aggressive behaviour on the part of Facebook has happened so many times that we have lost count. What does this mean to Facebook users? The breaches are often egregious and sometimes outright dangerous in our opinion. And they have happened so often that it is clear Facebook is doing it deliberately. The company appears to exhibit an open disdain for privacy.

We have no doubt that some of Facebook’s behaviour will eventually be ruled illegal once slow-moving regulators catch up to the company. For example, Facebook deliberately makes its privacy controls difficult to comprehend to help push people into sharing more than they want or expect. Essentially, Facebook forces their users to surrender their privacy to a big business.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation shows a timeline of how Facebook has consistently weakened their privacy policy to allow it the right to give (i.e. sell) more private information to marketers. In essence, the company is continually forcing their users to surrender their privacy in exchange for convenience. You can see this it this interactive graphic. Simply click on the years on the right side to see how personal information keeps getting shared with larger and larger groups. Eben Maglen, a law professor at Columbia University calls this tactic “spying for free”.

We have already heard stories about people leaving Facebook. However, if Facebook does not change its ways, what is now a trickle will soon become a stream. We have already made our decision. First, we would like to thank everyone who invited us to join their Facebook page. We truly appreciate the offer. Going forward though, we will have absolutely nothing more to do with Facebook.

Genealogists are more sensitive to privacy issues than most people because of the type of information that we handle. As such, we don't like to see distant family members and genealogy websites mishandle sensitive information. So why would we give the benefit of the doubt to a big company like Facebook that has a track record of repeatly mishandling private information in an apparently deliberate manner. We would invite our readers to reconsider their involvement with Facebook.

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