Stupid, or evil? Facebook manages both with new privacy breach
Ian Lurie Oct 20 2010
We spend all our time hand-wringing over Google and Microsoft’s intrusions into our private lives. We freak out over the Patriot Act.
Well, they’re all pikers compared to Facebook.
Facebook has allowed companies like Rapleaf to match up our Facebook user IDs with web browsing histories. Yep. They can now match up your browsing habits with your Facebook account.
I won’t bother going into the details here. You can read about it in PCWorld’s explanation.
Facebook claims stupidity innocence
Facebook seems to be claiming that they didn’t actually do this. They say their biggest game developers – including the Farmville folks, Zynga – built their games in such a way that advertisers could grab our IDs.
That’s not their fault, Facebook claims. It’s not even the developers’ fault. It’s those mean, mean advertisers.
Except the developers who sent the information to the advertisers violated your terms of service, you idiot balls of belly button lint. You just ignored their violations because you didn’t want to stop Joe American from harvesting his latest batch of artichokes in Farmville.
The herd doesn’t care
If Google had done something like this (and gotten caught) we’d be carpet-bombing Mountainview. Politicians would be lining up to claim their outrage.
If I’d done something this slack-jawed to my clients, I’d be out of business and in court for the rest of my life.
But it’s Facebook, and the breach is too complicated: It requires, like, five minutes of non-stop concentration to understand what happened.
So the herd goes back to playing games.
Get real: Dump the third party apps
OK, let’s get real. No one’s going to delete their Facebook account. As a marketer, I can’t afford to. As someone totally unaware of what’s going on, the average user won’t care to.
What you can do, for now, is avoid installing any third party apps.
I’m waiting to see what Zuckerberg does to fix this latest PR nightmare. Although, at this rate, he won’t have to do anything, except count his money.
Ian Lurie is CEO and founder of Portent Inc. He's recorded training for Lynda.com, writes regularly for the Portent Blog and has been published on AllThingsD, Forbes.com and TechCrunch. Ian speaks at conferences around the world, including SearchLove, MozCon, SIC and ad:Tech. Follow him on Twitter at portentint. He also just published a book about strategy for services businesses: One Trick Ponies Get Shot, available on Kindle. Read More