| Thursday October 30th 2014

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Timeline of Facebook privacy policy: From reasonable (2005) to apocalyptic (2010)


Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Kurt Opsahl has gone spelunking in the history of Facebook’s privacy policies over the past five years, presenting a timeline that starts with something fairly moderate and reasonable in 2005 and moves to the current 2010 version which basically says, Facebook Twitter future“By using Facebook, you agree to let us film your life 24/7, sell it to advertisers, ridicule it, or make a reality show from it.”

As Kurt says, “Viewed together, the successive policies tell a clear story. Facebook originally earned its core base of users by offering them simple and powerful controls over their personal information. As Facebook grew larger and became more important, it could have chosen to maintain or improve those controls. Instead, it’s slowly but surely helped itself — and its advertising and business partners — to more and more of its users’ information, while limiting the users’ options to control their own information.”

Facebook Privacy Policy circa 2005:
No personal information that you submit to Thefacebook will be available to any user of the Web Site who does not belong to at least one of the groups specified by you in your privacy settings.Current Facebook Privacy Policy, as of April 2010:
When you connect with an application or website it will have access to General Information about you. The term General Information includes your and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections, and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. … The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” … Because it takes two to connect, your privacy settings only control who can see the connection on your profile page. If you are uncomfortable with the connection being publicly available, you should consider removing (or not making) the connection.

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