Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Facebook plagued by privacy concerns

A growing campaign on the internet is demanding that Facebook declassify its closely guarded privacy policy, and allow users to read the contract which they all agree to on signing up.

Facebook has been unique among social networking sites for years, in that it makes its users agree to abide by a completely secret policy in order to create an account on the site. New registrants are presented with a large page titled "TERMS OF USAGE", several hundred lines of unreadable censored text, and a space for their digital signature at the bottom.

Although this has been an uncontroversial scheme before now, in recent weeks there has been increased concern that Facebook may be using this security black hole for nefarious purposes. Some users believe they should be given more information on what they're agreeing to, before signing a legally binding contract.

"People should be more aware of what rights they're signing away when interacting with social media," said Doctor Coryow, an oncologist and copyright puncher from Nebraska. "This secret agreement could include a promise to keep all your private information confidential, and may provide a strong ethical code of practice. Or it might be a pledge to drown a kitten every time someone accepts an invitation to join Mafia Wars. Until they introduce some transparency to the process, there's no way for us to know."

"Seriously," he added, "am I the only one who's noticed all these drowned kittens turning up lately? That can't be good."

Facebook have not yet released a statement on the subject, but a spokesman recently reassured users that any secrets Facebook felt obliged to keep confidential were "for your own good". He also suggested that, if we were using online social media to be a part of any discussion that we wouldn't want permanently stored on a CIA file or emailed directly to our mothers, then "maybe you shouldn't be using it".

(inspired by [redacted])

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