Blog 1 – Facebook’s ToS & Privacy Policy

So I am one to admit I never read the ToS/T&Cs of any program or website I purchase/register to. My assumption has always been that by using common sense I would never breach any code or practice in the first place. I use the service how it was intended to be without abusing its features. All good and well but now that I think about it my assumption does not protect me from possible data collection, privacy rights and possible security threats that may lead to leaked information about myself or family and friends. It’s kind of daunting how billions of people in society live under the blanket of security. Where we trust organisations such as Facebook, Google, hell even our major banks or Governments with this information (PRISM anyone?). Sure there are laws and practices that “technically” keep us safe but should these always replied upon? How do we know for certain that our personal information cannot be accessed? A writing on piece of paper does not mean anything when an anonymous hacker from the outside can gain access to sensitive information at any given time. Sure you can take the proper precautions, but what I am trying to say is our information is never 100% secure. Well anyway that is enough ranting, onto the questions at hand.

What does Facebook say about how they will use your information?

Copied from Facebook’s Data Use Policy, they state:

We use the information we receive about you in connection with the services and features we provide to you and other users like your friends, our partners, the advertisers that purchase ads on the site, and the developers that build the games, applications, and websites you use. For example, in addition to helping people see and find things that you do and share, we may use the information we receive about you:

  • as part of our efforts to keep Facebook products, services and integrations safe and secure;
  • to protect Facebook’s or others’ rights or property;
  • to provide you with location features and services, like telling you and your friends when something is going on nearby;
  • to measure or understand the effectiveness of ads you and others see, including to deliver relevant ads to you;
  • to make suggestions to you and other users on Facebook, such as: suggesting that your friend use our contact importer because you found friends using it, suggesting that another user add you as a friend because the user imported the same email address as you did, or suggesting that your friend tag you in a picture they have uploaded with you in it; and
  • for internal operations, including troubleshooting, data analysis, testing, research and service improvement.

What will they do if there is a breach in security on their site?

Facebook does not state officially what their practices for a security breach are. I did however find an article here which entails a security breach where Facebook exposed 6 million phone numbers and emails. According to this article, Facebook handles their security threats internally and with help of the White Hat program ensures that Facebook’s security are at the highest of standards. In addition to that Facebook also notified their corresponding regulators and affected users via email. To what was said in those emails, we will never know.

Summary

In summary I believe Facebook ToS and privacy policies are adequate to what their services provide, However they can be a bit vague at times, eg. when talking about how data will be stored even after the user has deleted his/her account (backup copies up to 90 days). Why do they do this? In general though I am content with their policies, especially these.

While you are allowing us to use the information we receive about you, you always own all of your information. Your trust is important to us, which is why we don’t share information we receive about you with others unless we have:

  • received your permission;
  • given you notice, such as by telling you about it in this policy; or
  • removed your name or any other personally identifying information from it.

Of course, for information others share about you, they control how it is shared.

The text stated in bold is worrisome. You cannot control how your friends and family do this. What about their family and friends and so on? Facebook does state in their ToS “WE TRY TO KEEP FACEBOOK UP, BUG-FREE, AND SAFE, BUT YOU USE IT AT YOUR OWN RISK.” Like a wise man said with great power comes great responsibility. That doesn’t actually make sense does it? LOL. Well use Facebook at your own risk and take responsibility when something goes wrong, Facebook cannot protect you from everything.

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  1. Kinda worrying how many people can access that data, huh? Like, how does it deal with internal breeches, where employee x stalks user y? Ehh. We’ll never know.
    And you can just de-tag yourself and report the post/page in question for abuse. I mean, at one point, I had a few hate pages based around how much of a monster I was – I just reported them and they were gone. Don’t you think that’s the best way to deal with it all?

    • Yep I suppose that is one way, but what if it keeps happening? I’ve never been in that situation before so I don’t know. Facebook can take your side or theirs depending on the evidence I guess. Maybe we should start abusing someone to find out 😛

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