Remember when Facebook wasn’t evil?

William Brafford

William Brafford grew up in North Carolina, home of the world's best barbecue, indie rock, and regional soft drinks. He just barely sustains a personal blog and "tweets" every now and then under the name @williamrandolph.

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11 Responses

  1. Silus Grok says:

    Another thing you’ll want to do is to avoid using the “check in using Facebook credentials” option.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    I find that my promiscuous friending tendencies does more to make me careful than any privacy concern.

    I have friended my mom, work friends, weekend friends, high school friends, college friends, and in-laws.

    This basically means that I post pretty much everything knowing that my mom, my sister-in-law, and someone who talks on occasion to my boss is going to read it.

    I don’t talk about much of anything.Report

  3. Simon K says:

    I’m not that bothered. Facebook has pretty low stickiness – I have lots of friends (even first generation facebook users) who just don’t use it much, and I think that’s typical. If they do something creepy I’ll stop using it – right now my irritation is limited to wierd inappropriate, borderline fraudulent sidebar ads. I just can’t see ever being dependent on the thing the way I am on, say, google.

    That said I think it’ll be interesting to see how the issue of online identity pans out. One single set of credentials has been a goal of internet security and usability people for years and never quite pans out. Increasing unease about facebook (not necessarily the site, but even just the “oh shit my mom reads this” thin) shows maybe why – we’re quite like the fact that the internet lets us have multiple identities that can’t easily be traced to one another.Report

  4. pinkerd says:

    Thanks for the tips. But I don’t know what this means: “Check and cull my applications and pages lists regularly.”Report

  5. Kaleberg says:

    I’d use Facebook more often if it showed me even less, and didn’t make me log in to update. It’s a really ugly site, and the less I have to see of it, the better. I really don’t care what my friends’ friends’ friends are doing, or their dogs. I barely care what my friends are doing most of the time. They all floss, just like me, and if they don’t, it’s between them and their periodontist. They are entitled to some privacy.

    Until the 1960s, people used to actually spend time with their friends. By the end of the decade they watched television instead. (I’m not making this up. This is from that big time use study they update every decade.) Now, people use Facebook to pretend they are spending time with their friends. I prefer the real thing.Report

  6. Michael says:

    There are a handfull of very interesting startups that are turning this model on its head. (The model, in this case, being FB leveraging complex and opaque end-user technology decisions into their company’s benefit; FB really likes when you “like.”)

    Check out The Green Safe app on FB. It’s a common story — developer gets rightfully pissed off and mounts an attack using the offending company’s technology against it. GS basically allows you to put all your personal data inside an app, then remove all that info from your FB account (where it is shared with apps and other stuff). Your friends can still get your info via the app, which is what you want.

    You might also, as a journo kinda guy, sign up for P3RSONAL (, which, in full disclosure, is a platform friends of mine are developing to handle all your stuff for any social app. They will be rolling out a beta version sometime this Summer.

    Oh, and none of this is to mention the complexity of the Open Graph initiative. You wanna talk complexity? This is an implementation of the Semantic Web to do all kinds of things that very few people “understand” the way carbon-based life forms would.

    It’s about opacity: This stuff makes the credit industry look like a lemonade stand by comparison.Report

  7. Modus Op says:

    I submit that even you are being more naive than you are aware of. What makes you think that these third party sites will use the information to offer you special deals on their stuff? What if they know that your friends all tend to pay full price for what they buy on the web. They might just assume that you will be like them and do the same. Imagine a scenario where because of something like this everywhere you go on the web you never see anything offered for less than the manufacturer’s suggested price. Meanwhile web users that the retailers have no information on get offered the deals because there’s no telling what their income might be or how they and their friends tend to shop and what they are used to paying. (and frankly my imagination for nefariousness is not that vivid)Report