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EU Parry FB Zuckerpunch

Caught between a pile of cash and a hard place.


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BRUXELLES (Rixstep) — Reps of the European Union are reacting strongly to Facebook's long-expected 'bait and switch' move on their 400 million 'unwitting' ('dimwitted') subscribers. And Mark Zuckerberg's people are responding exactly as expected.

Mark Zuckerberg is caught between a pile of cash and a hard place.

'Unacceptable'

The European Commission wrote to Facebook recently, saying it's unacceptable for Facebook to make private information public after the fact.

Profile information and data about user relationships should by default be shared shared with self-selected contacts. Indeed, things used to be this way. And 400 million really believe Zuckerberg and company weren't in it for the money.

'Any further access, such as by search engines, should be an explicit choice of the user', warned the commission.

'Providers of social networking sites should be aware that it would be a breach of data protection law if they use personal data of other individuals contained in a user profile for commercial purposes if these other individuals have not given their free and unambiguous consent.'

Of course Zuckerberg has his 'out' ready. That 'switch' was not hastily planned.

'We already enable users to exclude themselves from being indexed by search engines, and recently introduced granular data permissions for applications', he and his buddies wrote in their reply.

Oh yeah, Mark. Totally fair. Get them all inside the compound and then put up a small sign behind a bush explaining how they can dig their way out.

The only feasible way this would have been fair is if Facebook gave their 400 million livestock due warning before the new system came into play. Facebook's zuckerpunch is indefensible.

Facebook make millions every day (hour) the new system runs - before the more alert users can scramble to protect their privacy. The whole idea was to catch everyone off guard.


Facebook's been drawing that ominous shadow closer and closer for years. Last year they announced that 'some' personal info including names, pictures, physical location, networks, and friend lists would suddenly be made public and that keeping things private (the earlier default) meant explicitly opting out.

This month they announced they'd no longer force partner websites to delete Facebook data within 24 hours, simultaneously revealing they were building closer ties with yummy corps like Yelp and Microsoft.

Mark Zuckerberg must be planning for early retirement. The question right now is where that early retirement will take place.

'One of time magizines 100 people of 2008 is... Mark zuckerberg.'
 - Wikipedia
'Is it true that Facebook started out as a game like Grand Theft Auto?'
 - Wikipedia

See Also
Telegraph: EU criticise Facebook privacy changes

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