Could Facebook Be Tracking Us For, Say, Satan – I Mean the Government?

Posted on October 4, 2010


Remember Church Lady (Dana Garvey) on Saturday night live?  The prude (a lot like me) used to have moments of Freudian lapse when she would say “you mean like (pause) Satan”?  Or words to that effect.

Well Facebook is the Devil incarnate and I am tired of being greeted at each web site and told it will enhance my social interactions or experience if I link that site with Facebook or let my friends know where I am.  Whaaa?  My friends don’t care where I am.  Only Facebook needs to know to complete whatever data profile  they want to complete.  Why?  For What?  For Whom? Well, for starters…

Facebook is now sharing your personal profile information with third parties. For now, it’s just a few web sites, like the music site Pandora, and the consumer review site, Yelp.  Facebook says it is a pilot program.Facebook is automatically sharing that information, without your consent. If you don’t want to share, you have to opt out on either Facebook and partner sites.

University of Minnesota law professor and privacy expert Bill McGevern says it’s an important line in the sand. And for Facebook, with 400 million users , the stakes are high.

“Facebook is trying over and over to get this shared so Facebook becomes the center of the web,” said McGevern. [Fox]

Arrive on most websites these days and that damnable logo of theirs literally cozys up to your cursor and tries to crowd you into a corner.  Like all  of those objects with tags tempting Alice in Wonderland, they shout “click here” and sing their siren songs.

Now they have made that pairing with Scribd and, well, I am not even interested in investigating it.  I’m trying to scale down both my life in the real world and that on the internet.  I have fewer credit cards, passwords, sweaters, socks, post-it notes, subscriptions and bottles of flavored water.

At my age, recycling takes all day.  Someday my garbage man will find that I  have fallen, exhausted, into the recycle bin  and that I am impaled on a 2 litre soda bottle.  I am easily distracted.  I don’t have one more minute to devote to yet another linked site.  I am not managing the ones well that I am on now.  The opt out button eludes me entirely.  On Facebook, you even forget to sign out because unlike other sites, the button is not up in the corner or someplace visible. It is at the bottom of a list on a drop down.

I just don’t know where Facebook gets off telling me I need to expand my social experiences anyway.  But I do know who would agree that I should do so:  Barack Obama.  Before he launched his campaign for the Presidency, he met with a recognized social network expert:

Obama’s slick use of social networks got underway February 2007 when he met with Mark Andreesen, former head of Netscape and board member of Facebook.

It was Obama with the idea: “He wondered if social networking, with its tremendous communication capabilities and aggressive database development, might help him beat the overwhelming odds facing him.”

What happened is history.  Now due to brilliant data manipulation, there is a man in the White House who owes nothing to the Democratic party and could be dangerous for its survival. [On My Watch]

And so now I receive letters from Organizing for America looking for contributions to keep them afloat.  These letters tell me just how many people from my little village have contributed to Barack Obama.

Yes, in the world of Facebook and its followers, all is known, and all is quantified.  And passed on.  And if our data is not legally passed on, is it safe with Facebook employees?  Are we to assume that only Boy Scouts and Girl Guides work at Facebook and would never misuse information?

And now here’s fuel for Facebook devotees:

(Reuters) – Caught Twittering or on Facebook at work? It’ll make you a better employee, according to an Australian study that shows surfing the Internet for fun during office hours increases productivity.

How did we ever get along without all of this connectivity?  Cavemen out hunting deer didn’t even have walkie-talkies.  These days the local fox hunt use cell phones to track the fox.  Poor Reynard has no connectivity on which to fall back.

I would give up Facebook except my nieces won’t take time to send me pictures of their children outside the gates of that damnable application.  And then I can keep up with old friends.  But isn’t that just how Facebook started out – on a single site where we could all meet and exchange photos and greetings and information?  So what is this tracking everyone around the internet all about, eh?  Go away.  Stop following me.  Buzz off.  Go bother Hugo Chavez.  I don’t have any stock in the company so the recent stock split doesn’t obtain. I’m an internet freak without portfolio!