June 6, 2012

Your Facebook "Privacy Notice" Is Unenforceable Nonsense

Mat Honan, on the spread of Facebook "privacy notices":

"Your interactions with Facebook are governed by an agreement you previously made, that both parties entered into—even if you didn't read it. When you signed up with Facebook, you agreed to its terms of service. If you've been there for a while, you've even agreed to new terms as they've been updated over the years. That doesn't change because Facebook is a public company, and it doesn't change because you post some dumb crap on your timeline. It changes when Facebook offers new terms, and you accept them either by explicit agreement or your continued presence there."

The dreaded service agreement rears its ugly head. All users agree to it, for services as well as software, yet few (if any) actually read it. They agree to whatever the provider dictates.

It bears repeating that if a faceless corporation, or the government, or the guy down the street asked people for the personal details they willingly give away to Facebook, there'd be outrage.

Yet few consider what Facebook intends to do with their data

Facebook was founded in a western culture, where nearly everything we see and do involves the exchange of currency. Zuckerberg's genius was in getting users to want to provide their personal data and use Facebook, creating a willing audience of targetable users. The next step is the same, no matter the market: monatization.

Our eyeballs are worth dollars to advertisers, and our personal data makes the ads targetable. Facebook will thrive or fail on its ability to sell that to businesses.

The social aspect of Facebook is just window dressing, lipstick on a pig.