Dynamic Pricing Is Watching Your Wallet | RWW

from a very thorough readwriteweb post on ecommerce pricing, here's the money shot - some retailers are playing with identity-based pricing. I assume they are using cookies to track visits and click-paths to determine interest level and using expert systems to integrate past purchase behavior.

I believe the conclusions I have highlighted in the excerpt below are suspect because they are drawn from a 2004 study - eight years ago. does anyone remember what ecommerce looked like eight years ago? or the clumsy early attempts to personalize the shopping experience?

The Rise Of Identity-Based Pricing

Dynamic pricing doesn't just take the business and its competitors' margins into account. Online commerce sites are also experimenting with identification-based pricing, which prices items based on what is known about the customer, such as their buying history and browsing behavior. This can have both good and bad implications for the shopper.

On the plus side, if a site recognizes that this is the umpteenth time the same customer has window shopped for a particular item, an algorithm may try a lower price, just for that customer, to see if that will close the sale.

But if the site notices the customer has a history of buying high-priced items, it might presume they're willing to pay more for a given item and offer higher prices or more expensive choices, as Mac-using Orbitz customers learned to their dismay this summer.

Using identification-based pricing carries risks for retailers, too. A 2004 article in the Journal of Interactive Marketing looked at very early executions of the strategy...and concluded that consumers trusted price changes made by an ecommerce website when it was done based on timing or other business-related reasons, because that was perceived as fair and understood as the way businesses work. But when it came to the identity of the consumer affecting prices, shoppers quickly became uncomfortable. (my emphasis)

But given today's emphasis on mobile transactions and personalized shopping - not to mention increasing online competition and margin pressures - identity-based pricing isn't likely to go away. Look for more and more retailers to gradually expand dynamic pricing criteria beyond timing and inventory to who is the customer. It won't make privacy advocates happy, and it could scare off shoppers in the long run, but in the current economy, it will be hard for e-tailers to resist anything that boosts profits right away.

via readwriteweb.com click through for full article


Customer Intelligence, Privacy, and the "Creepy Factor" | HBR

interesting perspective from larry downes on the HBR blog today about the ongoing controversy about what the internet knows about us and to what uses it puts that information. downes makes the valid point that the biggest players are too big to care about your naughty pictures or marital infidelity - you count only as another data point to feed the great ad rate setter in the cloud. 

my take: at the intersection of anonymity and personalization, you will find me with a 5 gallon tub of ny super fudge chunk. but while they might not care, I care who else they show it to in some paid attempt to get that person to buy it...

Right now, my Facebook page is showing me photos of three people "you may know." I know all three. For two, the connection is obvious. For the third, the connection is eerily indirect. Until I understood what mundane data elements connected all three to me, I felt uneasy about Facebook. The company seemed to be an actual person, and a creepy one at that.

As we record more information in digital form in hopes of sharing it with our intimate contacts and less enthusiastically with advertisers who pay for the services we love, it's inevitable that more of these visceral responses will occur. When specific data is used in novel ways, the initial response is often the creepy factor.

The creepy factor, however, is the response to a novel use of information to provide a seemingly personalized response. Over time, the creepiness decreases. Most of us are now accustomed to customized Google search results, specific Gmail ads, and prescient Facebook recommendations. They no longer make our skin crawl.

In response to innovation in customer intelligence, however, privacy advocates are calling for all sorts of new laws to protect us from ourselves. In reality, what they want most is a placebo to cure the creepy factor.

via blogs.hbr.org (click through to read the whole thing, including spooky references to invisible market forces)

image: AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved by Tobias Leeger

How to Restore Your Privacy on Facebook (via Gawker)


great summary.

How to Restore Your Privacy on Facebook

Since posting about Facebook's latest privacy rollback, we've received emails asking how users can protect themselves, and for clarification about what happened. Here, then, is a quick guide to locking down the new Facebook.

First off, one big caveat: It is simply impossible to have the old Facebook experience with the old level of privacy. If you want the old level of privacy, you're going to have to give up some functionality; if you want all the old functionality, you're going to have to give up some privacy. Below, we detail what you'd need to do to maximize privacy, so you can decide for yourself whether to go down that road.

Remove your "connections," e.g. education and work, current city, likes and interests

Facebook is in the process of rolling out a new system of "connections" that publicly shares information whose disclosure you used to be able to control through privacy settings, "including your current city, hometown, education and work, and likes and interests."

The sharing of this information will happen after Facebook prompts you—if it hasn't already—to convert data entries in your profile into "connections" to pages representing various places, groups, interests, political causes, and so on. But unlike in the past, when you could choose to shield who saw your interest in, say, pot legalization, this information will now be public, and your account would be linked from the pot legalization interest page.

In short, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation put it, "Facebook removed its users' ability to control who can see their own interests and personal information"

To keep this information private, you need to opt out of the "connections" Facebook offers you. The relevant information will then be missing from the appropriate section of your profile, so you'll need to stuff it all into your free-form "Bio."

At some point when you visit your Facebook profile, you'll see the dialog below. Click on the far left button, "Choose pages individually:"

How to Restore Your Privacy on Facebook


Then uncheck any "connections" you don't want made public. Make a note of these connections, since they'll be removed from your profile and you may want to add them to your "Bio" later.

Once you've opted out, you can restore any information you'd like to selectively share into the "bio" section of your profile, the free-form text area of your profile under your photo. Before you enter data there, make sure you're happy with the privacy settings for that section. Click on "Account" on the top right of your profile page, select "Privacy settings" from the drop-down, then "Profile Information." "Bio" privacy settings will be listed on the first line.

Prune — or utterly nuke — your apps

Facebook recently lifted some privacy restrictions on how outside developers handle Facebook data. Previously they could only retain said data for 24 hours, now they can hold on to the data as long as they like. Facebook used to prompt users before sharing data with a partner site, but, as VentureBeat points out, it will no longer do so for "special" partners like Yelp, Pandora and Microsoft. Also, some Facebook sharing that needed two or three pop-up dialogs to authorize now require just one.

The changes are even riskier than they appear, as ReadWriteWeb said: Now that non-Facebook websites are allowed to hoard Facebook user data, said sites will become inviting targets for hackers. And it's your Facebook data the hackers will be after. Of course, you have to worry about more than just computer crackers, since there's not much enforcement over how even authorized Facebook developers use the data they collect. If they want to mislead you and misappropriate your data, they can — and given the track record of Facebook's partners, they just might. If that happens, have fun suing for your privacy back.

Prevention is better than damage control, of course, and the one security measure at your disposal is to whittle or eliminate the outside apps you choose to share data with. Lifehacker's Kevin Purdy put together a nice guide on this, which we'll crib from here:

Go to "Account" at the top-right of your profile page. Select "Application settings" from the drop-down. Then from the "Show" menu select "Authorized." Click to enlarge:

How to Restore Your Privacy on Facebook


Click the "X" next to any app you don't use, don't trust or otherwise want to remove. After clicking "X" you'll have to click "Remove" and then "Okay." For any app you choose to keep, you should probably review its privacy settings by clicking "Edit Settings" and the "Additional permissions" tab. Uncheck any sharing feature you're not comfortable with, although be aware this could break the app's Facebook functionality.

(Pic: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at his company's F8 developers conference yesterday. Getty Images.)

Send an email to Ryan Tate, the author of this post, at ryan@gawker.com.

via gawker.com


Facebook Open Graph: What it Means for Privacy

At Facebook’s F8 Developer Conference today, the company fleshed out its plans to become the social center of the web. With the new Open Graph API and protocol and the ability to integrate websites and web apps within your existing social network, the platform will become more robust than ever before.

The potential for this new technology is great — which is why partners like Yelp, Pandora and Microsoft have already jumped on board. But what does all of this interconnected data mean for user privacy?

Privacy has always been a bit of a thorny issue for Facebook and its users. In November of 2007, Facebook’s Beacon advertising experiment resulted in a class-action lawsuit, and Facebook’s big privacy overhaul in December provoked immediate criticism. The company’s more recent change to privacy settings for Facebook apps has been better received, but the user response to Mark Zuckerberg’s “public is the new social norm” stance has already forced the company to overhaul its privacy policy again — this time with user input.

Now that sites and apps can better integrate directly with Facebook in more than just a tangential way, the potential for privacy issues grows substantially.

What Is Changing?

In the past, apps that accessed data from the Facebook APIs could only store that data for 24 hours. This meant that apps and app developers would have to download user information day after day, just to keep up with the policy. Now the data storage restriction is gone, so if you tell an app it can store your data, it can keep it without worrying about what was basically an arbitrary technical hurdle.

While this might sound scary, it doesn’t actually impact how developers can use user data, just how long they can store it. Again, many developers were just hacking around this policy anyway, so users shouldn’t notice any changes.

Facebook is also getting rid of its Facebook Connect branding. Instead, Facebook login modules will be available to site owners, and users can not only log in or sign up for a service, but can also see how many of their friends have also signed up for the site.

Now, this new feature is cool — as is the universal Likes and customized content additions — but it also makes what you designate as “public” potentially more public.

While the login boxes and activity feeds that appear on websites will be customized for each user (meaning that what I see on a page will differ from what fellow reporter Jenn Van Grove sees), this information is potentially more easily viewable than it was before. It’s not like your Facebook friends couldn’t see this information in the past, it’s just now a lot more contextual and available in more places.

Privacy Will Become the User’s Responsibility

I took a look at the different documentations of the Open Graph API and the different social plugins, and gathered that the data collection and overall privacy settings don’t differ from what has already been available. Again, what changes is how that data can be displayed to different people and how it can be integrated in different ways.

Nevertheless, it is imperative that users who have concerns about privacy make sure they read and understand what information they are making available to applications before using them. Users need to be aware that when they “Like” an article on CNN, that “Like” may show up on a customized view that their friends see.

Public no longer means “public on Facebook,” it means “public in the Facebook ecosystem.” Some companies, like Pandora, are going to go to great lengths to allow users to separate or opt out of linking their Pandora and Facebook accounts together, but users can’t expect all apps and sites to take that approach. My advice to you: Be aware of your privacy settings.

What isn’t yet clear is if there will be any granular permissions for public data. For instance, I might want to share that I “Like” a CNN.com article with a certain group of people, but not make it public to my entire social graph. For now, users need to assume that if you do something that is considered public, that action can potentially end up on a customized stream for everyone in your social graph.

How Facebook Can Avoid Getting Burned

Because there aren’t really any changes in policy with the Open Graph system, Facebook will likely avoid any massive privacy violations; after all, if you agreed to make something public, it’s public. However, as Google learned with Google Buzz, users aren’t always aware of their default privacy settings.

Facebook can offset a lot of confusion and concern by doing a good job of educating users about the meaning of “public” and how the personalized feeds will work on various websites.

Developers can also help by making what information they collect and what information can be shared throughout the social graph more accessible and easier to understand.

Right now, it really doesn’t look like Open Graph will have any technical changes to Facebook user privacy. That said, the nature of how public information can be linked across different sites is now more robust, which makes it that much more important for the privacy-concerned to read the fine print.

What do you think of the privacy implications with Open Graph? Let us know!

For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

Ok You Luddites, Time To Chill Out On Facebook Over Privacy (via techcrunch)

my favorite quote from this techcrunch rant yesterday: "Honestly, a picture of you taking a bong hit in college is mice nuts compared to the mountain of data that is gathered and exploited about every single one of us every single day. You just don’t really see that other stuff because those companies don’t like to talk about the data their gathering. I don’t see an Equifax blog post outlining exactly how they are gathering and selling your information, for example."


In 2004 everyone freaked out when Gmail launched because Google would be reading your emails to figure out what ads to serve you. “Privacy advocates objected to the advertising model, which involves Google’s robot eyes scanning every e-mail for keywords and displaying contextual advertisements alongside a user’s inbox,” noted Wired.

That might sound familiar to your great-great-great grandparents. Supposedly many people were apprehensive about using telephones in the early 1900s because they knew the phone companies could listen in on their phone calls. There are people who won’t use phones today because of the ease in which calls can be tapped.

But the rest of us seem to be ok with Gmail. And our phone. That’s because the benefits of those products far outweigh the privacy costs. And people are going to be just fine with Facebook, too. Even if they did do a switcharoo on privacy settings a month ago that is still reverberating through the tech press.

Contrary to published reports, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did not say “the age of privacy is over” in my interview with him last Friday evening at the Crunchies. You can watch the video here for yourself. What he said is that he wants Facebook to change with its users, and keep its product fresh. Which is exactly what they are doing.

The fact is that privacy is already really, really dead. Howard Lindzon nailed it the other day when he said “Equifax, Transunion, Capital One, American Express and their cousins raped our privacy,” Everything we do, everything we buy, everywhere we go is tracked and sitting in a database somewhere. Our location via our phone, or our car GPS. Our credit card transactions. Everything. Honestly, a picture of you taking a bong hit in college is mice nuts compared to the mountain of data that is gathered and exploited about every single one of us every single day. You just don’t really see that other stuff because those companies don’t like to talk about the data their gathering. I don’t see an Equifax blog post outlining exactly how they are gathering and selling your information, for example.

The point is that we like Facebook. Very, very few of us are going to stop using it. It was inevitable that they’d rip the bandaid off and try to get their users to make data public. It’s what’s best for Facebook. And if users hate it enough, someone else will launch a competing service that has different policies and thrive. You can guess what the odds of that happening are.

I spoke to Blippy CEO Philip Kaplan earlier tonight. Blippy is a service that lets users publish everything they buy with their credit cards.

Crazy right? Who’d want to do that? Well, apparently a lot do. The company has let in 2,500 people so far. Those 2,500 people are publishing $200,000 worth of purchases a day to their friends. It’s less than a month old and they’ve tracked $3.8 million in transactions already, with an average transaction size of $46.

And more than 10,000 people are on the waiting list to get an account and gladly share their consumption behavior with the world.

Why are they doing it? To share what they’re buying, and talk about it. Or to let advertisers see what they like and tailor offers to them. Or something. The point is, we don’t really care about privacy anymore. And Facebook is just giving us exactly what we want.

via techcrunch.com

Facebook's New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly | Electronic Frontier Foundation

the dark side of facebook's drive to improve privacy settings for users

Facebook's New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Commentary by Kevin Bankston


Five months after it first announced coming privacy changes this past summer, Facebook is finally rolling out a new set of revamped privacy settings for its 350 million users. The social networking site has rightly been criticized for its confusing privacy settings, most notably in a must-read report by the Canadian Privacy Commissioner issued in July and most recently by a Norwegian consumer protection agency. We're glad to see Facebook is attempting to respond to those privacy criticisms with these changes, which are going live this evening. Unfortunately, several of the claimed privacy "improvements" have created new and serious privacy problems for users of the popular social network service.

The new changes are intended to simplify Facebook's notoriously complex privacy settings and, in the words of today's privacy announcement to all Facebook users, "give you more control of your information." But do all of the changes really give Facebook users more control over their information? EFF took a close look at the changes to figure out which ones are for the better — and which ones are for the worse.

Our conclusion? These new "privacy" changes are clearly intended to push Facebook users to publicly share even more information than before. Even worse, the changes will actually reduce the amount of control that users have over some of their personal data.

Not to say that many of the changes aren't good for privacy. But other changes are bad, while a few are just plain ugly.

The Good: Simpler Privacy Settings and Per-Post Privacy Options

The new changes have definitely simplified Facebook's privacy settings, reducing the overall number of settings while making them clearer and easier for users to find and understand. The simplification of Facebook's privacy settings includes the elimination of regional networks, which sometimes would lead people to unwittingly share their Facebook profile with an entire city, or, as Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg explained in a recent open letter, an entire country.

Perhaps most importantly, Facebook has added a feature that we and many others have long advocated for: the ability to define the privacy of your Facebook content on a per-post basis. So, for example, if you only want your close friends to see a particular photo, or only your business colleagues to see a particular status update, you can do that — using a simple drop-down menu that lets you define who will see that piece of content.

Most important, however, is the simple fact that as part of this transition, Facebook is forcing all of its users to actually pay attention to the specifics of their privacy settings. Considering that many if not most users have previously simply adopted the defaults offered by Facebook rather than customizing their privacy settings, this is an especially good thing.

No question, these are positive developments that hopefully will lead more people to carefully review and customize their level of privacy on Facebook. Unfortunately, the new flexibility offered by per-post privacy settings, a definite "good," is being used to justify the "bad"...

The Bad: EFF Doesn't Recommend Facebook's "Recommended" Privacy Settings

Although sold as a "privacy" revamp, Facebook's new changes are obviously intended to get people to open up even more of their Facebook data to the public. The privacy "transition tool" that guides users through the configuration will "recommend" — preselect by default — the setting to share the content they post to Facebook, such as status messages and wall posts, with everyone on the Internet, even though the default privacy level that those users had accepted previously was limited to "Your Networks and Friends" on Facebook (for more details, we highly recommend the Facebook privacy resource page and blog post from our friends at the ACLU, carefully comparing the old settings to the new settings). As the folks at TechCrunch explained last week before the changes debuted:

The way Facebook makes its recommendations will have a huge impact on the site's future. Right now, most people don't share their content using the 'everyone' option that Facebook introduced last summer. If Facebook pushes users to start using that, it could have a better stream of content to go against Twitter in the real-time search race. But Facebook has something to lose by promoting ‘everyone' updates: given the long-standing private nature of Facebook, they could lead to a massive privacy fiasco as users inadvertently share more than they mean to.

At this point there's no "if" about it: the Facebook privacy transition tool is clearly designed to push users to share much more of their Facebook info with everyone, a worrisome development that will likely cause a major shift in privacy level for most of Facebook's users, whether intentionally or inadvertently. As Valleywag rightly warns in its story "Facebook's New ‘Privacy' Scheme Smells Like an Anti-Privacy Plot":

[S]miley-face posturing aside, users should never forget that Facebook remains, at heart, not a community but a Silicon Valley startup, always hungry for exponential growth and new revenue streams. So be sure to review those new privacy "options," and take Facebook's recommendations with a huge grain of salt.

Being a free speech organization, EFF is supportive of internet users who consciously choose to share more on Facebook after weighing the privacy risks; more online speech is a good thing. But to ensure that users don't accidentally share more than they intend to, we do not recommend Facebook's "recommended" settings. Facebook will justify the new push for more sharing with everyone by pointing to the new per-post privacy options — if you don't want to share a particular piece of content with everyone, Facebook will argue, then just set the privacy level for that piece of content to something else. But we think the much safer option is to do the reverse: set your general privacy default to a more restrictive level, like "Only Friends," and then set the per-post privacy to "Everyone" for those particular things that you're sure you want to share with the world.

The Ugly: Information That You Used to Control Is Now Treated as "Publicly Available," and You Can't Opt Out of The "Sharing" of Your Information with Facebook Apps

Looking even closer at the new Facebook privacy changes, things get downright ugly when it comes to controlling who gets to see personal information such as your list of friends. Under the new regime, Facebook treats that information — along with your name, profile picture, current city, gender, networks, and the pages that you are a "fan" of — as "publicly available information" or "PAI." Before, users were allowed to restrict access to much of that information. Now, however, those privacy options have been eliminated. For example, although you used to have the ability to prevent everyone but your friends from seeing your friends list, that old privacy setting — shown below — has now been removed completely from the privacy settings page.

Facebook counters that some of this "publicly available information" was previously available to the public to some degree (while admitting that some of it definitely was not, such as your gender and your current city, which you used to be able to hide). For example, Facebook points to the fact that although you could restrict who could see what pages you are a fan of when they look at your profile, your fan status was still reflected on the page that you were a fan of. But that's no justification for eliminating your control over what people see on your profile. For example, you might want to join the fan page of a controversial issue (like a page that supports or condemns the legalization of gay marriage), and let all your personal friends see this on your profile, but hide it from your officemates, relatives or the public at large. While it's true that someone could potentially look through all the thousands upon thousands of possible fan pages to find out which ones you've joined, few people would actually do this.

Facebook also counters that users can still control whether non-friends can see your Friends List by going into the hard-to-find profile editing settings on your profile page and changing the number of friends displayed on the public version of your profile to "0" unchecking the new check-box in your Friends setting that says "show my friends on my profile". However, if the goal with these changes was to clarify the privacy settings and make them easier to find and use, then Facebook has completely failed when it comes to controlling who sees who you are friends with. And even if you do have some control over whether non-friends can see your friends list — if you hunt around and can find the right setting, which is no longer under "Privacy Settings" — Facebook has made the privacy situation even worse when it comes to information sharing with the developers of Facebook apps.

The issue of privacy when it comes to Facebook apps such as those innocent-seeming quizzes has been well-publicized by our friends at the ACLU and was a major concern for the Canadian Privacy Commissioner, which concluded that app developers had far too much freedom to suck up users' personal data, including the data of Facebook users who don't use apps at all. Facebook previously offered a solution to users who didn't want their info being shared with app developers over the Facebook Platform every time a one of their friends added an app: users could select a privacy option telling Facebook to "not share any information about me through the Facebook API."

That option has disappeared, and now apps can get all of your "publicly available information" whenever a friend of yours adds an app.

Facebook defends this change by arguing that very few users actually ever selected that option — in the same breath that they talk about how complicated and hard to find the previous privacy settings were. Rather than eliminating the option, Facebook should have made it more prominent and done a better job of publicizing it. Instead, the company has sent a clear message: if you don't want to share your personal data with hundreds or even thousands of nameless, faceless Facebook app developers — some of whom are obviously far from honest — then you shouldn't use Facebook.

These changes are especially worrisome because even something as seemingly innocuous as your list of friends can reveal a great deal about you. In September, for example, an MIT study nicknamed "Gaydar" demonstrated that researchers could accurately predict a Facebook user's sexual orientation simply by examining the user's friends-list. This kind of data mining of social networks is a science still in its infancy; the amount of data that can be extrapolated from "publicly available information" will only increase with time. In addition to potentially revealing intimate facts about your sexuality — or your politics, or your religion — this change also greatly reduces Facebook's utility as a tool for political dissent. In the Iranian protests earlier this year, Facebook played a critical role in allowing dissidents to communicate and organize with relative privacy in the face of a severe government crackdown. Much of that utility and privacy has now been lost.

The creation of this new category of "publicly available information" is made all the more ugly by Facebook's failure to properly disclose it until today — the very day it is forcing the new change on users — when it added a new bullet point at the top of its privacy policy specifying this new category of public information that will not have any privacy settings. The previous versions of the policy, however, either didn't disclose this fact at all, or buried it deep in the text surrounded by broad assurances of privacy.

For example, in its previous privacy policy before it was revised in November, Facebook didn't specify any of your data as "publicly available information," and instead offered broad privacy assurances like this one:

We understand you may not want everyone in the world to have the information you share on Facebook; that is why we give you control of your information. ... You choose what information you put in your profile, including contact and personal information, pictures, interests and groups you join. And you control the users with whom you share that information through the privacy settings on the Privacy page.

Meanwhile, the privacy policy as updated in November did specifically call out certain information as "publicly available" and without privacy settings nearly half-way down the page, surrounded by privacy promises such as these:

  • "You decide how much information you feel comfortable sharing on Facebook and you control how it is distributed through your privacy settings."
  • "Facebook is about sharing information with others — friends and people in your networks — while providing you with privacy settings that you can use to restrict other users from accessing your information."
  • "you can control who has access to [certain information you have posted to your profile], as well as who can find you in searches, through your privacy settings."
  • "You can use your privacy settings to limit which of your information is available to 'everyone.'"

These statements are at best confusing and at worst simply untrue, and didn't give sufficient notice to users of the changes that were announced today.

In conclusion, we at EFF are worried that today's changes will lead to Facebook users publishing to the world much more information about themselves than they ever intended. Back in 2008, Facebook told Canada's Privacy Commissioner that "users are given extensive and precise controls that allow them to choose who sees what among their networks and friends, as well as tools that give them the choice to make a limited set of information available to search engines and other outside entities." In its report from July, The Privacy Commissioner relied on such statements to conclude that Facebook's default settings fell within "reasonable expectations," specifically noting that the "privacy settings — and notably all those relating to profile fields — indicate information sharing with 'My Networks and Friends.'"

No longer. Major privacy settings are now set to share with everyone by default, in some cases without any user choice, and we at EFF do not think that those new defaults fall within the average Facebook user's "reasonable expectations". If you're a Facebook user and you agree, we urge you to visit the Facebook Site Governance page and leave a comment telling Facebook that you want real control over all of your data. In the meantime, those users who care about control over their privacy will have to decide for themselves whether participation in the new Facebook is worth such an extreme privacy trade-off.

Related Issues: Privacy


via eff.org


facebook ceo announcement on privacy 12.01.09

...in this excerpt from tonight's announcement, zuckerberg explains how the network-based model of privacy (that, for example, you might want to share info with your school network) is outdated as the networks have grown increasingly less connected. I am excited to see what the new settings will comprise and even more by the idea that all facebook users will be actively encouraged to use them. stay tuned.

...The plan we've come up with is to remove regional networks completely and create a simpler model for privacy control where you can set content to be available to only your friends, friends of your friends, or everyone.

We're adding something that many of you have asked for — the ability to control who sees each individual piece of content you create or upload. In addition, we'll also be fulfilling a request made by many of you to make the privacy settings page simpler by combining some settings. If you want to read more about this, we began discussing this plan back in July.

Since this update will remove regional networks and create some new settings, in the next couple of weeks we'll ask you to review and update your privacy settings. You'll see a message that will explain the changes and take you to a page where you can update your settings. When you're finished, we'll show you a confirmation page so you can make sure you chose the right settings for you. As always, once you're done you'll still be able to change your settings whenever you want.

We've worked hard to build controls that we think will be better for you, but we also understand that everyone's needs are different. We'll suggest settings for you based on your current level of privacy, but the best way for you to find the right settings is to read through all your options and customize them for yourself. I encourage you to do this and consider who you're sharing with online.


Wisk-It, an App to Help Scrub Regrettable Photos From Facebook (via NYT)

You there, you who dressed as a sexy panther this Halloween, and are now clicking through the weekend’s photos on Facebook. (The ones of you clutching a vodka and snarling like a kittycat are particularly nice.) Your boss, your exes and your mother are probably looking at them this morning, too. What’s a hungover cat to do?

Skip to next paragraph

The Wisk-It application for Facebook, from the makers of Wisk detergent.

There’s an app for that. Not an iPhone app, but a Facebook application from the detergent brand Wisk. Wisk-It, which will be formally introduced this week, promises to help get rid of objectionable photos.

Now, be clear about the limits of Wisk-It. It’s not going to restore the fallen bra strap to your shoulder, and it won’t Photoshop your broken heel back together. Wisk-It instead assembles a friend’s photographs (you can limit it to tagged pictures of you, or pull all of her photos), lets you identify the pictures you’d like the friend to remove, and then send a request her way. When the friend installs Wisk-It, it pulls up the offending photos and asks her to delete them.

“Currently, there’s really no easy way or efficient way to remove pictures, so we’re finding that we have cracked the efficient way to clean up your online profile,” said Elisa Gurevich, brand manager for Wisk, owned by the Sun Products Corporation.

The Facebook application, created by the agency TracyLocke, is part of a marketing update for Wisk, which Unilever sold to what is now Sun in 2008. Previously, it was known for its 1970s spots where dirty shirts taunted housewives with chants of “Ring around the collar! Ring around the collar!”

“We thought perhaps we could take our stain-fighting heritage, and take it online to Facebook,” Ms. Gurevich said.

The stain on your reputation, Wisk-It can’t do much about. Meow. STEPHANIE CLIFFORD

interesting, although it doesn't seem to work unless everyone installs the fb app....

soylent flickr is people! tagging comes to photo-sharing site

facebook gets a taste of its own medicine as popular photo-sharing site flickr adds tagging. guess they saw facebook "innovating" with a number of twitter features and figured good for the goose etc.

seriously though, this raised the same concerns in my mind that image tagging did in facebook. what if some old girlfriend decided to post the "artistic" photos we took one drunken night senior year? at least in the photo above, you can't tell it's grain punch and peyote in the styrofoam cups.

flickr is quick to reassure, stating they have adequate protections in place to satisfy the most privacy-obsessed. "people not on flickr cannot be tagged without their permission." I envision a mysterious apparition knocking on windows late at night, but it's probably something more mundane like an email. as with facebook, if you remove your tag from a photo, no one, even the image owner, can put it back (not sure if they can't retag with a demeaning sobriquet you hoped they had forgotten, but let's hope for the best) and, as on facebook, you can mandate that you cannot be tagged in any photos.

hey, maybe this is a strategy to get people who don't use or care about flickr to care about and use it, if only to keep evidence of indiscretion at bay

If you're on flickr but don't use it much (like me), what then? will I be forced to wait until one of my infrequent logins to learn why my hipper, flickr-ati friends have been hiding smiles?

I will investigate further and report back. stay tuned.

ps - thanks to lifehacker for the heads up