Did you know your Facebook privacy has been leaking? As that social network expands to flow like a never-ending molasses across the grimacing façade of the nameless masses — suffocating us in pokes and Mafia War requests — we need to pause a moment and step back to wonder just what’s happening to us beyond the velvet curtain.
A Tuesday report from Symantec said that, until recently, Facebook apps have inadvertently been leaking user data to third-party developers. In response, Facebook said the problem has been fixed and that no unauthorized Facebook data was shared with third parties.
In a blog post, Symantec’s Nishant Doshi said that third-parties, mostly advertisers, have “accidentally” had access to Facebook user information like profiles, photographs, and chat.
Yikes! While I’m glad I have tons of Facebook friends, I am also glad I have been smart enough, so far, to not share the pernicious details of my personal life on that network for exploitation by Facebook itself.
What makes the Facebook “accidental” leaking of your privacy even more strangely cruel and bizarre is the news breaking this morning that Facebook was actively seeking, through a paid PR mule, to flay Google in public for similar perceived violations of user privacy:
For the past few days, a mystery has been unfolding in Silicon Valley. Somebody, it seems, hired Burson-Marsteller, a top public-relations firm, to pitch anti-Google stories to newspapers, urging them to investigate claims that Google was invading people’s privacy. Burson even offered to help an influential blogger write a Google-bashing op-ed, which it promised it could place in outlets like The Washington Post, Politico, and The Huffington Post.
The plot backfired when the blogger turned down Burson’s offer and posted the emails that Burson had sent him. It got worse when USA Today broke a story accusing Burson of spreading a “whisper campaign” about Google “on behalf of an unnamed client.”
I don’t know where to start discussing this fractional Facebook personality particulation between perception, behavior and morality. Does Facebook have a moral center that it can actually identify and then respect? Or was the social network born in duplicity as it lives on in the arrogant duality of pressing into us what’s wrong with humanity instead of fomenting what’s right within us?
If it came down to having to pick one of the four Evil Empires — MSFT, Facebook, Apple or Google — under which I’d have to live the rest of my online life, I would pick, hands down, Google. I know Google. I love Google. I have defended the Google. I have mocked the Google. I have become the Google.
I like the way Google innovates. I think Google tries to be transparent. I enjoy using their products and their design is clean and their updates and implementations are quick and invisible and, so far, if there’s a leak, Google works to fix it while Facebook relies on the, “Ooops! I did an accident!” excuse.