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Facebook Changes Provoke Uproar Among Users 426

Posted by kdawson
coastal984 writes, "Facebook, the college (and now, high school and professional) networking site, launched changes to their web site this morning, provoking a massive and immediate response, and not the one the company had hoped for. Hundreds of protest 'Groups' formed, the largest of which have over 10,000 members, and sites like this student portal sprang up to pour scorn on the recent changes. The biggest gripe is the new "News Feed" on every page that tracks recent changes, activities, and comments made by everyone the user is connected to, such as a change in a user's relationship status." These details were all public previously, but it was only through intentional browsing that they would be discovered. In the words of one user, "Stalking is supposed to be hard."
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Facebook Changes Provoke Uproar Among Users

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:29PM (#16049472)
    They're taking all of the sport out of it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by glittalogik (837604)
      Back in the old days, you had to get someone's surname, phone number, a directory and a mp book before you could even get started. Fun times, fun times...
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by rickb928 (945187)
      "Then again, in the words of one intelligent facebooker user, "There's a difference between 'publicly available' and 'publicly announced.'" "

      That IS funny. Facebook users wanting privacy.

      I wonder how the commentator came to the conclusion *this* facebook user is 'intelligent'.

      Bahahaha..

      You can't make this stuff up.

      rick
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rlbond86 (874974)
        You fail to realize what a useful tool facebook is. It serves as a campus directory, a list of every person who shares a class with you, and a means of organizing large groups of people. Generally facebook affords some privacy while allowing oneself to have an online presence.

        And yes, we do not want our breakups made public. Don't criticize what you don't understand.

        • by The Only Druid (587299) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @11:46PM (#16049826)
          So, just to clarify: you don't want your breakups made public, but you post information about those breakups on a website that's wide open to every person with an .edu email address? I bow before your brilliance in understanding the term "public".
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by TubeSteak (669689)
            You're wrong that your info is available to anyone with a .edu e-mail address.

            The privacy settings do a decent job of giving you control over who can and cannot see your profile.

            Of the people who aren't friends, you can control which parts are hidden from them, assuming you let them see anything at all. You can limit things to:

            Everyone from [Your School]
            Friends of your friends from [Your School]
            Only your friends
            No one from [Your School]
            Don't show anyone on Facebook my [Online Status/courses/groups/wall/phot
          • by johansalk (818687) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @01:20AM (#16050123)
            I'll explain. Public means parents in this context. It's OK for every college girl and guy in the .edu world to know what you did in that party, drunken threesome and all, but Mom and Dad should have a hard time at finding out.
        • by rickb928 (945187) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @12:08AM (#16049900) Homepage Journal
          Don't want them public? Dont' post relationship info on facebook.

          Sheesh. People will read ANYTHING you post.

          Don't criticize something you don't understand. Especially other people.

          And WHAT privacy does Facebook afford? Apprently that which many do not avail themselves of, what with posting info. If you read the EULA, it says:

          "All content on the Web site, including but not limited to design, text, graphics, other files, and their selection and arrangement (the "Content"), are the proprietary property of the Company or its licensors. All rights reserved."

          and

          "By posting Member Content to any part of the Web site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, perform, display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such information and content and to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such information and content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing."

          and

          "You may remove your Member Content from the Web site at any time. If you choose to remove your Member Content, the license granted above will automatically expire."

          and

          "You are solely responsible for your interactions with other Facebook Members. We reserve the right, but have no obligation, to monitor disputes between you and other Members."

          and

          "The Company is not responsible for the conduct, whether online or offline, of any user of the Web site or Member of the Service."

          Then the fun begins. In their Privacy Policy:

          "Facebook follows two core principles:

          1. You should have control over your personal information.
          Facebook helps you share information with your friends and people around you. You choose what information you put in your profile, including contact and personal information, pictures, interests and groups you join. And you control with whom you share that information through the privacy settings on the My Privacy page.

          2. You should have access to the information others want to share.
          There is an increasing amount of information available out there, and you may want to know what relates to you, your friends, and people around you. We want to help you easily get that information."

          Yeah, you should have privacy, but Facebook reserves the right to "use, copy, perform, display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such information" as they see fit, stated in their EULA. I think that means they can in fact publish most anything you provide as 'content'. Personal information should be bound by the Privacy Policy, but sheesh, what ISN'T 'personal'? What you listened to this morning in your shower? The fact that you took a shower? The fact that you're not deaf? Such a slippery slope...

          and

          "If you post personally identifiable information in areas of the site accessible to other users, you should be aware that such information can be read, collected, or used by other users of these forums, and could be used improperly to send you unsolicited messages."

          Darn. and,

          "Profile information you submit to Facebook will be available to users of Facebook who belong to at least one of the networks you allow to access the information through your privacy settings (e.g., school, geography, friends of friends). Your name, school name, and profile picture thumbnail will be available in search results across the Facebook network unless you alter your privacy settings. This is primarily so your friends at other schools can find you and send a friend request. People who see your name in searches, however, will not be able to access your profile information unless they have a relationship to you (friend, friend of friend, member of your school's network, etc.) that allows such access based on your privacy settings."

          Sounds li
          • by AnyoneEB (574727) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @12:18AM (#16049932)
            No, you do not understand. It is one thing to have one's profile say "In a Relationship with So and So" one day and "Single" the next, with no way for the viewer to know what it said previously without having viewed that profile earlier. It is different to show "Person broke up with So and So" on their profile. Stop saying that the information was already public. It was not. This is adding more information which a large number of users do not want shared.
            • by 1u3hr (530656) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @12:41AM (#16050011)
              No, you do not understand. It is one thing to have one's profile say "In a Relationship with So and So" one day and "Single" the next, with no way for the viewer to know what it said previously without having viewed that profile earlier.

              I don't understand either. You document your "being in a relationship" on a website, change it later, and are surprised that anyone notices. Everyone who you would want to know about this would know from real life (or a personal communication), not a website. Anyone who's "stalking" you online would have noticed the change anyway. So what's different?

              Putting your romantic life on a website is an extraordinarily bad and naive idea. Put stuff online, the world knows, forever. Learn that now.

              • Re:Bottom line (Score:5, Insightful)

                by symbolic (11752) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:07AM (#16050282)

                PEOPLE DON'T LIKE IT. That's really all that matters. Either Facebook can listen to a little more than their market droids before making such lame changes, or face the consequences.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Praxx (918463)
                Putting your romantic life on a website is an extraordinarily bad and naive idea. Put stuff online, the world knows, forever. Learn that now.
                Try explaining to your girlfriend why you won't set your profile to read "in a relationship" with her. I'll give you a hint: as much sense as your argument makes, all she is going to hear is "I'm not that important to you."

                Then again, I guess most people here would never have that problem...
                • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                  by 1u3hr (530656)
                  Try explaining to your girlfriend why you won't set your profile to read "in a relationship" with her. I'll give you a hint: as much sense as your argument makes, all she is going to hear is "I'm not that important to you."

                  Get a tattoo instead. At least you can get rid of that if you really want to.

                  Then again, I guess most people here would never have that problem

                  I'm married. With a kid. So I can't back out of that by changing a web profile.

            • by spectral (158121)
              No, YOU do not understand. It is NOT any different, if only because only people who have access to see that information will see the wall post with the update. I'm not getting news feed posts about everyone at my university, so it's only doing news feed posts about my friends. My friends can already "stalk" me and check their "My Friends" page to see when someone has recently updated their profile. So, they see I have and check it, and don't see that I'm in a relationship anymore.

              Except now they don't h
  • by XanC (644172) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:30PM (#16049474)

    WHOOSH

    I think there's a fundamental misunderstanding of what sites like Facebook are.

    That's public information, folks!

    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by BenFranske (646563)
      I agree. It amazes me that even after a lifetime of exposure to computers and the internet today's students (and corporations for that matter) still fail to grasp that once the cat is out of the bag on the internet there's no going back. If people don't think that someone isn't archiving all the data they can get their hands on through Facebook they're completely naieve. Does this mean I don't use Facebook? No. It just means I'm aware that anything I post on the internet is fair game for anyone else to read
    • by Karthikkito (970850) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:44PM (#16049544)
      Yes, and in many counties, so is the amount of property tax you paid, how much you contributed to Sheriff candidate X, and so on -- but one has to go and look for it. This move is much like everyone on your street receiving an update each time you do something that would be placed on public record.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MankyD (567984)
        Yes, and in many counties, so is the amount of property tax you paid, how much you contributed to Sheriff candidate X, and so on... There is no law that makes you type information into face book. The responsibility falls squarely on the users.

        RESPONSBILITY - TAKE SOME.
    • by Mayhem178 (920970)
      Hear, hear.

      If you're going to post information about yourself to the public, then don't bitch and moan when the public finds out about it. "Security through obscurity" doesn't apply to social networks and doesn't really work anyways.
    • by MadJoy (908843) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @11:04PM (#16049637)
      Then again, in the words of one intelligent facebooker user, "There's a difference between 'publicly available' and 'publicly announced.'"
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MankyD (567984)

        "There's a difference between 'publicly available' and 'publicly announced.'"

        No, there isn't actually and it's beliefs like this that scare me. Anyone who believes they led a more private social-networking life before was living under a false pretense. I can't say it enough times: all of this information could quickly and easily be found in one location before - facebook.com. That has not changed.

        Furthermore, if you don't want this information announced to the facebook.com world, don't put it on faceboo

        • by John Hurliman (152784) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @12:17AM (#16049930) Homepage
          So society would be no different if a big banner was hung on your porch saying "this resident has just been convicted of a DUI!"? After all, the court records are publically available information.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by evanbd (210358)
            A better analogy would be if the county / state / country *alread* had a "type in a name to check for DUIs" web site that anyone could search, and then added a "recent DUI convictions" list below it. It's not putting the information anywhere it wasn't already, it's just making it more likely people will notice without thinking to explicitly look for it.

            There's a little less privacy as a result, in the sense that more people will know more about you, but not in the sense that the information available to

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Thalagyrt (851883) *
          Court records: Publicly available. I can go down to city hall and look up just about any civil case. Are they publicly announced? No. I don't look at my daily newspaper and see "John sued Jane for $3 for a bottle of shampoo."

          You're still so damn sure that publicly available and publicly announced are the same thing? There IS a difference, and you're just too damn dense to see it.
          • by 1u3hr (530656)
            You're still so damn sure that publicly available and publicly announced are the same thing? There IS a difference, and you're just too damn dense to see it.

            I'm not the guy you're abusing, but anyway: the difference between "anounced" and "available" in this case is whether someone bothers to mine the "available" data and make it "announced". That can happen at any time, and it's actually fortunate that it happened in this case in the open, and made everyone aware of it. Lots of your data is "announced"

        • by mozumder (178398) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @12:44AM (#16050021)
          Security through obscurity will be the death of us...

          It's actually a good thing for Facebook to do this, especially for college kids, since it does teach them about the need for privacy when dealing with the public internet. I hope they keep this feature, since it will help these kids to be more aware of the fact that, yes, data is public on the internet, and that this information is actually pretty easily accessible to ACTUAL stalkers/spammers/scammers/etc..
        • Yes, there is a difference. Consider the relationship status on Facebook. It has states such as "single", "in a relationship", "married", etc., and it also has an "unset" state. Suppose I am single and start a tentative relationship. Feeling giddy, I set my relationship status to "in a relationship". Before this change, I could, 10 minutes later, decide I didn't want this made public after all, and change my relationship status to "unset", feeling confident that virtually no one had noticed because the info
        • by FleaPlus (6935) *
          Anyone who believes they led a more private social-networking life before was living under a false pretense. I can't say it enough times: all of this information could quickly and easily be found in one location before - facebook.com. That has not changed.

          No kidding. I mean, it would be almost trivial to put together a script which would achieve what Facebook's new feature does. Really, all the new feature does is making it more obvious to people what sorts of information they're putting up on the site.

          I'm
    • Your SSN is fair game for companies to trade without your consent, but a mp3 isn't.

      Go figure.

      We need a DMCA for personal information. But that won't happen as long as the Corporate State and its Republican lackeys are running the show.
  • by MankyD (567984) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:32PM (#16049483) Homepage
    If you don't want to be stalked, don't put your personal information online. All of the data these "feeds" display can be found through browsing anyways. This just centralizes it. I rather like this feature myself.
    • If it makes people think twice about what they say and do in public I don't think it will be an all bad outcome. The internet is a public space. Just because data is only directly available to one group doesn't mean it will stay in that group, someone is bound to be collecting it and selling it in anyone interested.
    • by EngMedic (604629)
      Yeah. Basically, facebook is MySpace done right, and with pretty formatting.
    • by ovapositor (79434)
      I guess some clever data miners will have a field day but really.... how many feeds can you keep track of. I don't want to be that connected to that many people on that level. What a hassle :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:33PM (#16049489)
    I like my victims easy... but maybe that's just me. I'm not in it for the rewards, just the sweet treat at the end.
  • Facebook (Score:2, Interesting)

    by epsilon720 (307234)
    Yeah, I noticed these changes last night right before I went to bed. It is, simply put, damn creepy. Obviously all of the information given by the news feed would be normally available to the attentive and compulsive facebook browser, but having it all summarized is just bizzare. Person X has joined the "Asexual Students" club. Person Y has endorsed this candidate. I guess it's a little less weird when it's not simply a list of everything my school acquaintances have done in the last 24 hours.
  • facebook changes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FalconDelta (1000597) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:38PM (#16049516) Homepage
    The fact is it's too much information. I don't want to see what everyone is doing every five seconds and neither does anyone else. Assuming I had something like 500 friends I'd see a lot of information about people I rarely if ever talk to on a daily basis. Moreover, the system keeps track, for a time, of deleted information - prompting users of the change. While it's true that all the information on a persons profile is "public" to their friends at least, it takes the mystery out of poking around facebook to see what has changed etc. They should at least make an option to enable/disable your facebook digest in other peoples feeds. A good idea in principle, but in practice it's a dud in my opinion.
    • Assuming I had something like 500 friends I'd see a lot of information about people

      Assuming you had something like 500 friends you wouldn't have an entry on Facebook. You'd be too busy maintaining real relationships, and not the HTML and PHP that passes for "relationships" in social networking sites.
  • What's so bad (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:39PM (#16049520)
    As a college student and a participant of facebook I am one of the surprisingly few people who LIKE that's right LIKE the new layout. It makes it feel more like my google homepage/thunderbird rss reader. While some of the information is extraneous I think a trimmed down version of this idea would be appropriate. Oh and most people don't realize this but there is a arrow at the top of the section like the one next to "sections" in the left column here on slashdot that allows you to collapse the information. Finally when you are using any social networking site you are distributing private information about you to the public and I think this serves as an excellent wake-up call to users who have been unaware of the consequences of doing so.
    • I agree with the parent post. Maybe it felt nice to have the illusion of some semblance of privacy on the facebook before, but the simple fact is that this is just making the consequences of your actions on the site much much more clearly visible (to yourself as well as others). Frankly I think its good that people might (hopefully) think twice about what they share online. (Plus, I am an avid facebook friend stalker. There, I admit it.)
  • by pHatidic (163975) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:40PM (#16049523)
    I am in an oral communications class where we have to give How To speeches. My topic was "How to stalk people on facebook." I was going to cover the FBStalker firefox extension, as well as using the computer a person last logged in from to see who has been visiting your profile (using a link to a personal homepage with webstats). Then I woke up this morning and I see Facebook completely changed itself to obsolete the first half of my presentation and break the ability to do the second half. Thank god we ran out of time, or else I'd have been just standing there with nothing to say.
  • by wibs (696528) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:42PM (#16049534)
    The feed isn't showing anything not already public, this is true.

    However, it shows things that you might not really feel like broadcasting to the world, even if you don't feel like it needs to be a secret. For example, when a couple splits up, everyone in your network now gets a message saying "John Smith has changed his status from 'In a relationship' to 'Single'." Not really private information, and obviously having that on your profile at all means your comfortable with other people knowing your relationship status, but there's such a lack of respect or discretion for the real world situation that it's just incredibly dehumanizing.

    Another example: my friend is vacationing in Europe right now, and she just posted a message to her boyfriend's wall about wishing he was there and related sappy whatnot. Sure the wall was already the most public way someone could post a message, but it was just a message on that person's page, not a message that gets broadcasted to everyone else in either person's network, front and center.

    The point here is that there's a big difference between simply not hiding information and blasting that information through a loudspeaker.
    • The internet is meant to be searched and information wants to be free, no? Posting on the internet that someone is out of town is a bad idea. Especially if they don't want their house broken into. What, you think criminals don't use the internet? If you don't "feel like broadcasting it to the world" don't say it online. Better yet, don't say it at all. You are responsible for what you say.
    • by MankyD (567984) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:51PM (#16049575) Homepage
      For example, when a couple splits up, everyone in your network now gets a message saying "John Smith has changed his status from 'In a relationship' to 'Single'."
      This one's a real toughy but let me point out how to fix this: if you don't want people knowing about your relationship status DON'T PLASTER IT UP ON A PUBLIC WEBSITE. Seriously, this is not that hard of a concept. If you don't enter that you broke up into face book, the world will never know...

      And furthermore, if you really have to tell people but don't want to tell people, you can delete "events" from showing up in the feed by clicking the little x. (Yes, that interjection I added there confuses me too.)
      • by BusDriver (34906) <tim@muppetz.com> on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @11:02PM (#16049629) Homepage
        I don't agree with you I'm sorry.

        When you break up, you tell your friends, eventually. You might ring them and let them know, they might ring you and ask how things are and you tell them.

        However, you don't get all your friends on a Telephone conference call and say "My girlfriend and I broke up, thanks!", or take out an ad in the local paper saying "Attn to all my friends: I broke up!"

        That's the situation here. Yes, it's public info. People want it to be public (so I don't think your arguement stands up) They would just rather people find things out because they want to find out, not because it's flashed in front of them.

        Seriously, this is not that hard of a concept. (Said only because you said it. See how much of it a dick it makes you sound?)
        • You tell your friends "eventually", but the first thing you do is rush to Facebook and update your status so all the freshmen can start hitting you up? If I was your friend, I might be a little offended to be relegated to "of lower importance than social networking website".
          • by BusDriver (34906)
            heh. Don't get me wrong, I hate these social networking sites myself. I'm not sticking up for them at all.

            Anyway, I realise I was wrong, as already pointed out quite cleary by a couple of people.
            • by ildon (413912)
              Sorry, some of us just skim through and don't read entire threads before posting (like me).
        • by ildon (413912)
          If you want people to find it out from you personally at your own pace, THEN DON'T POST IT TO FACEBOOK.

          Jesus Christ...
      • by NoData (9132)
        Even for public information, there is a difference between announcing status and announcing changes in status. One is a snapshot of the state of the person's information, the other provides a temporal dimension where one can track or notice when changes in state occurred. Facebook users may have no problem announcing the former("yes, I'm single") vs. the latter ("..single as of last night when my gf dumped me").

        In any case, Facebook should immediately make this an opt-in feature, with control over which
      • by windows (452268)
        I don't really care what people see about me on Facebook. I'm well aware of the privacy issues.

        However, I can see some reasons why people would be concerned.

        My biggest concern is that there are plenty of things on Facebook that I can choose to opt out of. I can choose who can see my photos, who can see my online status, who can see my wall, and plenty of other options. I don't see any option to hide or opt out of the log of my events being posted on my profile page. I am very capable of manually deleting ev
    • Saying that concern is misplaced because the information is already public is akin to supporting videotaping everyone in public and broadcasting it. Sure, the information is out there, but it's a question of accessibility. Like a few people see a guy leaving a HIV clinic. Is there a difference if we then send a letter to everyone he knows saying that he was seen leaving a HIV clinic?

      This facebook kerfluffle will reach an equilibrium. People will either migrate to Myspace (eeew) or simply put less informatio
  • Yes (Score:3, Informative)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:44PM (#16049541) Journal
    While I do agree this is a bad thing and it should be opt-in rather then opt-out, you can remove all of these notes so other can't see them from your profile page.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by MadJoy (908843)
      However, when you opt-out of a particular story, it takes it off your own mini-feed, but not the main feed on each person's homepage.
  • by adf2006 (998737) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:46PM (#16049553)
    I'm a new college student, I use Facebook, and I was browsing this morning when the new changes went into effect. I think it's stupid, the information is public but having a detailed log of every change you make to your profile publicly visible makes it a lot easier for people to figure things out. Example: I don't want a list of the people that I added to my friends list in the last few days. That's just a little unnerving. I also don't want a lot of the groups that I decided to leave available. I don't want links to all the forum posts I make or image comments I make right there on my main page. Like the post and article say, it's all public information, and of course I understand this when I sign up for Facebook. But publicly advertising it all on the main profile DOES make it a lot easier to find. There didn't used to be a way to track down all of my forum posts, and I don't like that record being available. It's creepy having this public list of everything you do. Facebook now even highlights in yellow all of the updates to your profile. Not only does this create unnecessary clutter, it blatantly advertises the changes in my life that I feel comfortable documenting, but do not want highlighted. A break up is a good example. It's a big brother thing. I know that there are property records listing my name and address, and that's okay. When my county posts an easily searchable database on the front of their main webpage, it makes me a little more uncomfortable. I know some friends who used these records to find a teacher's house to vandalize. It's a similar concept, people do not want to feel like they're being watched and monitored. It's human instinct, and while it might seem a little hypocritical because you're making the information public, no one wants someone watching their every move. Like AOL releasing the search records, you can learn a lot about someone from those records even though as separate entities they don't mean anything. It's all pieces of a puzzle that leaves me feeling just a little too exposed.
    • But publicly advertising it all on the main profile DOES make it a lot easier to find.
      Publicly advertising on a PUBLIC WEBSITE makes it easier to find. Seriously people - if you don't want people to find out, remove yourself from this public space.
      • by Fnkmaster (89084)
        You seem to have an obsession about this topic, posting essentially the same message in thread after thread. The fact is most poeple see a distinction between posting information in their profiles to be seen by anyone who cares to look and broadcasting the "deltas" or changes they make in a Wikipedia-changelog-like fashion.

        Clearly you see no such distinction. Obviously, a sufficiently motivated monitor could discover the exact same data by running an automated polling script and monitoring for changes. H
      • by AnyoneEB (574727)
        Yes, the information is public. I have never I posted anyone online about myself that I would care if everyone knew. On the other hand, Facebook now publically displays changes in information. Previously, only the current version of someone's profile was visible on Facebook. Now, if something is changed, then the current version and what was changed is visible. As a simple example, if someone removes "Seinfeld" from their list of favorite TV shows, then it is publically announced to all of their friends, ev
      • Dave, you are a voice of reason among many fools. That's all I have to say. It might not pass the filter about how many characters, though, comments have to be, and I don't know that it'll pass the time barrier, either. Commenting on slashdot sure sucks. There's all these boners that are upset that facebook tells people that they have added as friends about changes to their relationship status and what music they like.

        Actually, funny story: I asked a colleague of mine at KUOI [kuoi.org] if he'd heard of the Silversun
    • It's all pieces of a puzzle that leaves me feeling just a little too exposed.

      Here's the question you should be asking yourself:

      Since all this information is public on facebook, is it better that facebook provide the "big brother" tools to everyone, or is it better that someone else put together the equivalent "big brother" tools?

      Either way you are just as vulnerable, just when facebook provides the tools everyone is made aware that they are vulnerable, when someone else puts the tools together and publishes [fbstalker.com]
    • I guess you can take this as your first life lesson at college. Do not post anything to any website that directly links back to you that you wouldn't want your mother, your father, a future employer, the police, a potential girl/(guy?) you don't even know yet, your children, etc. to read. Even posting to sites that INDIRECTLY link back to you can be sketchy. I learned this back in like 7th grade, it seemed like common sense to me at the time.

      Assume that anything posted to the internet is both permanent and
  • by Enoxice (993945) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:47PM (#16049561) Journal
    Personally, I don't have a problem with the information being there. I just have a problem with that HUGE amount of information in my face all the time. I don't care who added a new book to their favorites; if I wanted to know someone's favorite books, I read through their profile.

    The site design of Facebook is getting closer and closer to being as ugly as myspace/youtube.
  • by coastal984 (847795) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:48PM (#16049562) Journal
    The referenced 10,000 member group now numbers over 47,000 (if you have a facebook login, you can view it at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2208288769 [facebook.com]). There is also an online petition now, with more than 3,700 signatures located at [petitiononline.com]http://www.petitiononline.com/faceb00k/petition.ht ml [petitiononline.com]
    • What's the point of the online petition, complete with crappy "faceb00k" name?

      For the people who don't have a facebook user ID to protest services they can't use or even see and how they might affect people who voluntarily and constantly update their status in the belief that it's a surrogate social life?

      `scuse me if I don't forward this petition to everyone in my address book.

    • by FleaPlus (6935) *
      Anyone know of a group for people who -support- the new changes? I'd be interested in joining such a group.
  • by Valar (167606) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @10:54PM (#16049589)
    For me, it isn't so much the new 'stalking' potential, it is the fact that the new layout is extremely visually offensive. Seriously, it was so ugly that I logged in and immediately considered cancelling my account. It is so insane busy that I can't seem to decipher any of the information presented. Right now I'm waiting to see if they come to their senses or otherwise I'll kiss facebook goodbye.
  • This one is a bit more subtle, but it annoys me more than the "feeds" and "stories" thing. I'm bothered by the fact that the "education" section used to be one of the first things you saw when you logged in. Now it requires scrolling. This echos the whole fact that facebook is moving towards a more general, myspace-like site. I only found the site useful because I could find people in my classes and ask them questions if need be. All this other stuff is starting to get superfluous, and clutter-like.

  • kids today (Score:5, Funny)

    by macadamia_harold (947445) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @11:01PM (#16049623) Homepage
    In the words of one user, "Stalking is supposed to be hard."

    So it's gotten to the point now where even stalking is automated. Kids today have it so easy. When I was their age, I had to get up in the morning at ten o'clock at night, half an hour before I went to bed, drink a cup of sulphuric acid for breakfast, work twenty-nine hours a day down at the mill, and pay the mill owner for permission to come to work. When we got home, our Dad would kill us and dance about on our graves singing Hallelujah.
    • by aaza (635147)
      Try tellin' th' young folk o' today that, and they won't believe you.
  • ...but the fact that your home page is constantly updated by every little thing each of your friends does. Add a new photo? Bingo, alert, plus a thumbnail of the photo to clutter the page. Write something on another person's wall? You'll get a copy of the message on your main page. Most of us, if we care about every little detail of a friend's life, will intentionally browse that person's profile ourselves, as we spend enough time aimlessly surfing the site anyway.
  • One key difference in this new system is that it effectively serves as a history system. People are saying that all this information was available already, but there's a difference between current information being available and an entire history of changes being available... Just ask Wikipedia. If I had some information up before, and I wanted to remove it, I can't do it anymore... it's effectively permanently there.
  • ironic... (Score:5, Funny)

    by ff3j (767130) on Tuesday September 05, 2006 @11:13PM (#16049673)
    from the feed...

    6 of your friends joined the group This New Facebook Is Creepy. 9:49pm
    6 of your friends joined the group the "news feed" on facebook is creepy and i hate it. 9:11pm
    * joined the group People Against the Face Book News Feed. 6:38pm
    * joined the group Facebook: Data Mining Since 2004. 5:14pm
    * and * joined the group Facebook Sucks Now. 3:46pm
  • When I saw these changes for the first time, I did not think about how my privacy or other's privacy would be harmed. All of the information was sort of public in the first place (users can adjust privacy settings, but by default only people in your network, like your school, and your friends can see your profile), so I did not think it mattered too much. I thought about how annoying the interface was. I liked facebook, because its interface was uncluttered, among other things. Regardless of my personal rea
  • I actually "ragequit" Facebook today.

    These changes are stupid. They make the site's appearance less attractive, and announce information that really shouldn't be announced. Do I care that my friend removed "running" from his Interests? Not really.

    To shit me even more, when I went to add other people as admins in groups I own, I kept getting an error stating that the group had more than 25 admins. Unfortunately, this was not correct, as I was the only admin in a large number of groups.

    I thought Faceboo
  • Screw your customers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sasdrtx (914842)
    I don't use facebook, and therefore I have no personal opinion about the changes being good or bad. But I think the real issue is that thousands of users took to using facebook because they liked the way it looked and worked. Then overnight it's a lot different from what they expected, wanted, and signed up for. Because the owners are arrogant and stupid.

    Maybe they'll learn something about running a business. We'll see. They'd better learn fast. I reckon facebook users can switch to myspace in about 1
  • The largest group I've seen is "Students against Facebook News Feed (Official Petition to Facebook)." It had 30,000 members 2 hours ago. It's now almost 70,000. Fairly clear that a huge portion of facebook thinks this is a terrible idea.

    Oh, and the creator of this is a CMU grad, and I happen to have a mutual friend with her. She's actually logged into her AIM SN, but I don't feel like messaging her.
  • This is one of the reasons I don't join any of the popular social networking sites, because they're all about putting every piece of information out in public. Who my friends are, what comments they've left me, etc. It's fun when you're just goofing around, but when you have actual friends and groups of friends you'd like to keep quiet, this doesn't work anymore.

    vBuddy.com is the only one I'd visit, because they actually let you group your friends into separate groups, and assign permissions to what they
  • I think that this will lead to a better understanding among facebook users that the info they put on there really is public. This should discourage people from placing things they don't want random people to know on that site.

    I don't use facebook much, but this feature helps me know what's been going on since I've visited, so I love it.
  • Facebook's reply (Score:4, Informative)

    by master811 (874700) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:09AM (#16051135)
    This is a reply facebook have been sending out to people had you moaned at them about these new changes.

    Hey,

    We understand that some people are unhappy or
    concerned about the recent changes to Facebook.
    Your feedback is welcome and appreciated because our
    goal is to make a website that is in line with our
    users' expectations. As we consider future changes
    and modifications, we will certainly keep everyone's
    opinions in mind. We think, however, that once you
    become familiar with the new layout and features,
    you will find these changes just as useful as past
    improvements such as Photos, Groups, and the Wall.

    We introduced News Feed and Mini-Feed because we
    wanted to make it easier than ever before to see
    interesting, relevant pieces of information from the
    world around you. News Feed automatically generates
    the most recent news stories about your friends so
    that you have a resource available to guide your
    movement throughout the site. Mini-Feed allows you
    to quickly and easily see the latest developments in
    the lives of people whose profiles you choose to
    visit.

    What is important to remember with all of these
    features is that we are not allowing anyone to see
    anything that they wouldn't normally be allowed to
    see. For example, if you join a secret group, any
    friends that are not members will not receive a News
    Feed story about this action. Similarly, when they
    look at your Mini-Feed, they will not be able to see
    a story about you joining the group. The settings
    that are established on the My Privacy page and the
    settings that apply to Photo albums, Notes, Groups,
    Events, etc. dictate the stories that are displayed
    in News Feed and Mini-Feed. Although there is no
    option to completely turn off Mini-Feed, all users
    have the option to hide individual stories. If you
    select the 'X' button to the right of any of your
    own stories, that content will no longer be visible
    to anyone viewing your Mini-Feed. Facebook prides
    itself in giving users complete control over the
    information that they share with others. Let us
    know if you have any questions about the privacy
    settings that we offer.

    Thanks for using Facebook!

    --

    Customer Support Representative
    Facebook
  • by harlemjoe (304815) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:12AM (#16051151)
    today is an ex's birthday.

    i want to wish her. in the past i would not have hesitated to write a short and sweet note on her wall. since we now live halfway across the world from each other, a phone call is unreasonably complicated (especially given our acrimonious breakup). an email is too personal (i don't really want her to respond). so the wall is an ideal private/public combo. A personalized message in a public setting.

    unfortunately, the new facebook *news feed* would, without my explicit permission, broadcast my post to EVERYONE we know in common, along with the ENTIRE TEXT. At least half of them would have a chuckle at my expense, or at least that's the way I feel. So, before posting, I hesitate. And send an email instead.

    Facebook has lost a significant utility for me. Similar public/private conundrums are going to result when somebody invites me to RSVP for a party via Facebook, wants me to join a group, etc. Updating my profile is now difficult because each change i make will be publicly broadcast to all my Facebook "friends" (some of whom I don't even know). And I don't want that.

    The illusion of privacy that facebook gave -- that it was a reasonably intimate network of peers -- is now destroyed.
  • Calm down kids (Score:3, Informative)

    by szembek (948327) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @08:21AM (#16051173) Homepage
    All you kids take this shit too seriously. It's just a website. So is that stupid myspace crap. People are always updating their profiles and shit as if anybody else cares about your profile. The extent of this crap when I was in school was a damn IM profile that said some dumb quotes or something and maybe a link or two to some websites. Now you guys go make these unsightly websites and add your 'friends' to your list and crap. Call me a troll but you people need to get a life outside of the Internet. Those people are not your friends. If you don't want people to know something about you DON'T PUT IT ON THE INTERNET. It's that god damned simple.
  • by crashnbur (127738) on Wednesday September 06, 2006 @02:41PM (#16054224)
    I love the news feed. It makes a wealth of information already available to us more conveniently available. That said, it isn't perfect, and here are a few complaints I have had about it, some of which have an implied solution that I hope the Facebook overlords are considering:

    1. I don't like how about a week's worth of recent events were already on our newsfeeds before we had a chance to approve it. Some people who still have not logged into their Facebook accounts for a couple of days have recent activities being broadcast to their friends list because of a feature they never approved.

    2. I don't like how we don't have any control over what is automatically fed to our feed. We should be able to work through a series of checkboxes to determine what we do and do not want on our own mini-feed (while, of course, maintaining the ability to delete something from the feed).

    3. I don't like the feed now lets people know about changes to NON-FRIENDS' profiles, specifically in the form of wall comments. For instance, if someone makes a comment on my wall, that other person's friends shouldn't see it in their feed unless that person is also MY friend. Friends of friends don't need to know about changes to my wall. The reason: that information was NOT available to them before, so it shouldn't be now.

    4. The feed takes away some of the mystery of poking around on Facebook to find information the good old-fashioned way. Then again, I don't have that kind of time on my hands, so the new feature makes it much easier for me to keep track of profile changes people want me to see. This is not a problem for me; I just understand how some of you feel about the stalking-made-easy impression some of you get. But, well, the information was already out there.

    5. I don't like how Facebook has been reduced to a mob mentality with an average IQ less than my shoesize. Facebook has fairly extensive privacy options (click the "My Privacy" link at left and look around). Every user's profile is PRIVATE to begin with, and every user can control what others can see. You can edit the default settings for each network of which you're a member, and for everyone. You can also set up your "Limited Profile" and select certain friends to see only that restricted view of your profile.

    But, seriously, if you don't want someone to see something you're doing on Facebook, then why are they on your friends list (or not on your Limited Profile list)?

    I love the new features. Keeping track of updates people want me to see is now much easier!

    I love you, Facebook. :)

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