I was looking at Boing Boing, the blog of the author who wrote “Makers” and found this interesting article.
The link on the bottom leads to the original article. The most interesting part to me is not that Max requested information from Facebook and then filed complaints, it is the complaints themselves. Some of these may be familiar to us, such as the feature that allows members of a Facebook group add you to that group without your consent. I’m sure you see the obvious implications with this one; your employer looks at your Facebook and sees you are part of some Neo-Nazism group and you didn’t even realize that your stupid friend pulled a less than funny joke. Personally, I’ve noticed that when you use certain Facebook applications, you can no longer pick and choose what things you will allow it to access because now it’s all or nothing. Another familiar one is the tagging feature, which doesn’t ask you if you want to be tagged in a certain picture. I’m sure we’ve all seen this when our friends have tagged us in embarrassing pictures and we have to go untag ourselves. This is part of a bigger complaint that Facebook makes you “opt-out” instead of “opt-in” ie. Facebook does stuff to you by default. It is this major factor that violates the laws of certain countries or whole associations, such as the EU. All the things that you never opted into are permanently recorded, even if you later opt-out or delete things on Facebook. Facebook says that there is no reason (or that they don’t have to tell us the reason) why they keep all of these records, which violates laws in and of itself. So why do you think Facebook employs the opt-out method? And why are they allowed to keep record or all the things you do, but only willing to release part of that data to you when it is requested?