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Privacy

Submission + - Facebook Founder's Pictures Go Public (yahoo.com) 2

jamie writes: "In a not-uncommon development for the social-networking leader, Facebook's recently released privacy controls are leaving the company a bit red-faced. As a result of a new policy that by default makes users' profiles, photos and friends lists available on the web, almost 300 personal photos of founder Mark Zuckerberg became publicly available, a development that had gossip sites like Gawker yukking it up.

related story"

Games

Submission + - Mafia Wars CEO Brags About Scamming Users (consumerist.com)

jamie writes: "Mark Pincus, CEO of the company that brought us Mafia Wars, says: 'I did every horrible thing in the book to, just to get revenues right away. I mean we gave our users poker chips if they downloaded this Zwinky toolbar which was like, I don't know, I downloaded it once and couldn't get rid of it.'"
Social Networks

Facebook Cuts Off Pirate Bay Links 137

narramissic writes "Citing legal reasons, Facebook has ended its brief relationship with The Pirate Bay. The Pirate Bay added a 'Share on Facebook' button around two weeks ago to its site that allowed its users to post links to small information files on Facebook that are used to download audio, video, etc. via BitTorrent. Facebook is now blocking those 'bookmarklets' as well as any links from The Pirate Bay, said Peter Sunde, of The Pirate Bay. Sunde said he received an e-mail from Facebook justifying the action because of the legal proceedings against Sunde and three others. The men are awaiting return of a verdict on April 17 from a trial that concluded early last month in Stockholm. They are charged with helping to make available material under copyright."
Social Networks

Facebook Reverts ToS Change After User Uproar 260

rarel writes "CNN and other media outlets report that Facebook reverted their TOS update and went back to using the previous one. 'The site posted a brief message on users' home pages that said it was returning to its previous "Terms of Use" policy "while we resolve the issues that people have raised."' Facebook's controversial changes to its Terms of Service, previously commented on Slashdot, included a mention that (users) 'may remove (their) User Content from the Site at any time. ... However, (they) acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of (their) User Content,' triggering a massive uproar from users and privacy groups."
Social Networks

Facebook Scrambles To Contain ToS Fallout 409

Ian Lamont writes "Anger over Facebook's ToS update has forced the company to scramble. Yesterday, a spokesman released a statement that said Facebook has never 'claimed ownership of material that users upload,' and is trying to be more open to users about how their data is being handled. Mark Zuckerberg has also weighed in, stating 'we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want.' Facebook members are skeptical, however — protests have sprung up on blogs, message boards, and a new Facebook group called 'People Against the new Terms of Service' that has added more than 10,000 members today."
Security

Researchers Build Malicious Facebook App 116

narramissic writes "Back in January, a team of researchers uploaded a malicious program to Facebook to demonstrate the possible dangers of social networking applications. Called 'Photo of the Day,' the app serves up a new National Geographic photo daily, but every time it's clicked it sends a 600 K-byte HTTP request for images to a victim's Web site. Photo of the Day is still listed on Facebook, with its authorship attributed to Andreas Makridakis, one of the researchers. The application has 514 active users now, with several comments praising it. The study was published by the Foundation for Research and Technology in Heraklion, Greece, and the Institute for Infocomm Research in Singapore."
Classic Games (Games)

Scrabulous Is Dead, Hasbro's Version Brain-Dead 395

eldavojohn writes "Sometime this morning, Facebook shut down Scrabulous to American and Canadian users. Scrabulous, we hardly knew ye." This is sadly unsurprising, now that Hasbro's finally taken legal action against the developers, after quite a few months of letting it go unmolested. Seems like they waited until there was an official Scrabble client available (also on Facebook), while the snappy and fuller-featured Scrabulous kept people interested in a 60-year-old board game. The official client, which is at least labeled a beta, is a disappointment. This is not a Google-style beta release, note: it's slow to load, confusing, and doesn't even offer the SOWPODS word list as an option, only the Tournament Word List and a list based on the Merriam-Webster dictionary. (Too bad that SOWPODS is the word list used in most of the world's English-speaking countries.) It also took several minutes to open a game, rather than the few seconds (at most) that Scrabulous took — it's pretty impressive, but not in a good way, that the programmers could extract that sort of performance from the combination of Facebook's servers and my dual-core, 2GHz+ laptop. The new Scrabble client has doodads like 3D flipping-tile animations, too, but no clear way to actually initiate the sample game that jamie and I have attempted to start. I hope that once we get past that obvious hurdle, we'll find there's a chat interface and game notebook as in Scrabulous, but my hopes are low.
Social Networks

Canadian Group Files Facebook Privacy Complaint 128

bergkamp writes "A Canadian public policy group filed a complaint charging Facebook with 22 separate violations of a Canadian personal information protection law. The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, based at the University of Ottawa, asked the Privacy Commissioner of Canada to investigate what it describes as Facebook's failure to inform members (PDF) how their personal information is disclosed to third parties for advertising and other commercial purposes. The complaint also alleges that Facebook has failed to obtain permission from members for disclosure of their personal information. The claim is that that Facebook violates the Canadian Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act, which Philippa Lawson, the clinic's director, said is much stricter than US personal information protection laws."
Education

Student Faces Expulsion for Facebook Study Group 554

Pickens brings news that a student at Ryerson University is facing 147 counts of academic misconduct after helping to run a chemistry study group through Facebook. School officials have declined to comment, but students are claiming that it is simply a valid studying technique in the information age. Quoting: "Avenir, 18, faces an expulsion hearing Tuesday before the engineering faculty appeals committee. If he loses that appeal, he can take his case to the university's senate. The incident has sent shock waves through student ranks, says Kim Neale, 26, the student union's advocacy co-ordinator, who will represent Avenir at the hearing. 'That's the worst part; it's creating this culture of fear, where if I post a question about physics homework on my friend's wall (a Facebook bulletin board) and ask if anyone has any ideas how to approach this - and my prof sees this, am I cheating?' said Neale, who has used Facebook study groups herself."
Social Networks

Facebook Scrabble Rip-off Capitalizes on Mattel's Lethargy 216

mlimber writes "The Facebook app Scrabulous was written by two Scrabble-loving brothers in India, has over 700,000 users, brings in about $25,000 per month in advertising revenue, and is in flagrant violation of copyright law. The corporate owners of Scrabble, Hasbro and Mattel, have threatened legal action against the creators and have made deals with Electronic Arts and RealNetworks to release official online versions of the game. But according to an NYTimes article, 'Scrabulous has already brought Scrabble a newfound virtual popularity that none of the game companies could have anticipated,' and according to one consultant to the entertainment industry, 'If you're Hasbro or Mattel, it isn't in your interest to shut this down.' Hasbro's partner RealNetworks is 'working closely' with the piratical brothers, but Mattel says that 'settling with the [brothers] would set a bad precedent' for other board games going online."
Social Networks

Facebook, Google, and Intellectual Property 77

Scott Jaschik sends us to Inside Higher Ed, where a librarian explains why the tradeoffs we're facing with social networking sites — e.g. privacy vs. a space to build one's personal "brand" — echo issues faced years ago by academics who publish in journals that their institutions' libraries can not then afford. The author argues that, as the Open Access movement is busily restructuring academic publishing, we need to find a way of retaining the personal value to the individual of social networking and Web 2.0 sites, and not allow that value to be eclipsed by the commercial worth of the data the sites obtain about us. In the author's view, the tension is in "...the fundamental relationship between the individual's desire to share their thoughts and experiences with others and the commercial entities that provide the distribution channel for that act of sharing."
Privacy

Facebook Sharing Too Much Personal Data With Application Developers 165

An anonymous reader writes "Remember the Facebook News Feed privacy uproar? What about the Beacon scandal from late last year? Privacy activists are rallying around yet another major issue at Facebook, in which the company is secretly sharing user data with third parties. Researchers from the University of Virginia recently announced that in a study of the top 150 Facebook applications, more than 90% were given access to information that was not needed to function correctly. That Scrabble or Superpoke application you really like? Its developers get access to your religion, sexuality and home town. Facebook's position was summed up by Georgetown Law Professor Dan Solove, 'They seem to be going on the assumption that if someone uses Facebook, they really have no privacy concerns.' Do Facebook users deserve privacy? "

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