From danah boyd: confused by Facebook

I'm also befuddled by the slippery slope of Facebook. Today, they announced public search listings on Facebook. I'm utterly fascinated by how people talk about Facebook as being more private, more secure than MySpace. By default, people's FB profiles are only available to their network. Join a City network and your profile is far more open than you realize. Accept the default search listings and you're findable on Google. The default is far beyond friends-only and locking a FB profile down to friends-only takes dozens of clicks in numerous different locations. Plus, you never can really tell because if you join a new network, everything is by-default open to that network (including your IM and phone number).

From Caroline McCarthy: Report: Facebook threatens to ban Gawker's Denton

Facebook isn't too happy with Gawker Media founder Nick Denton over some screenshots of a member's profile that he posted on on Tuesday, reports. The social-networking site reportedly plans to send a warning letter to the New York-based digital-media entrepreneur citing several terms-of-service violations--one more, and he's out.

Facebook representatives were not immediately available for comment.

On Tuesday, Denton--who took over as managing editor of this month after several staff departures--posted a bit of an expose on 25-year-old Emily Brill, daughter of New York publishing figure Steve Brill. Screenshots of the younger Brill's Facebook profile, featuring glamorous photos of a yachting trip to the British Virgin Islands, as well as excited "status" messages about an impending trip to the Caribbean luxury getaway of St. Barth's, were juxtaposed with an older photograph of the Brown graduate when she was significantly heavier.

It's not clear whether Denton and Brill are "friends" on the site, or if it was even Denton (rather than a source or another Gawker Media employee) who pulled the screenshots from Facebook. But both Denton and Brill are members of the New York regional network, so there is a chance that Denton would have been able to view Brill's profile even without being connected as friends.

It boggles my mind that someone sat down and coded “Anyone who lives in the same city as me” as a privacy control and didn’t immediately smack themselves on the head for writing something so ridiculously useless and that is guaranteed to cause privacy issues. 

It would have been easier to have a notion of public profiles and appropriate scary warnings or defaults that protected people’s privacy than the farce that is “regional networks”.

Now playing: Chris Brown - Say Goodbye


Thursday, January 17, 2008 1:28:54 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Hey Now Dare,
Good Post, very informative.
Thx 4 the info,
Thursday, January 17, 2008 1:30:18 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
It is even worse for non-US/UK countries where _the entire country_ is a "regional network", see

Most people I spoke to, just don't realise. Sophos has already issued a press release on this, without result (see comments the posting).
Thursday, January 17, 2008 7:07:27 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Quick mention, I really enjoy reading your blog, kudos!

A few points regarding this strategy which, btw, I also feel is ridiculous. Facebook had the problem of what to do with members who were graduating? While it's fine to continue affiliation with a school you eventually have to move onto bigger and better things. For some people, at colleges in small towns, this probably works to some extent in general the idea seems severely flawed. What's it mean for me to be a member of the Silicon Valley network??? That's crazy.

The second thing that comes to mind is that in order for Facebook to migrate from academia to the general public having city would probably make sense for someone like my parents who probably wouldn't be terribly mindful of the privacy implications.

I think at this point, the greater challenge would be how would Facebook unwind these networks? It certainly points out that you need to be very careful what sorts of relationships you want to allow between members.
Thursday, January 17, 2008 8:57:58 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)

I posted another aspect of this facebook region restriction at!BCA7C2445E36861F!1048.entry. Basically, if you leave your current region so you can confirm a profile that you want to "friend", facebook will not allow you to rejoin your preferred region and will lock you out of all regions if you try. And that keeps me from viewing any profiles and probably keeps others from viewing mine. The site originally told me I could select a region in 30 days, lately it says 60 days.

Why do most "social" services want to micromanage our connections? Is it because the founders are often clueless unsocial coders that have never ventured from the basement until that first round of funding? Are we their lab rats?
Friday, January 18, 2008 9:19:48 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Where is the line between micromanagement and censorship?
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