[Air-L] Air-L Digest, Vol 67, Issue 9/Facebook data goes public

Jacob Kramer-Duffield jkd at email.unc.edu
Tue Feb 9 07:58:50 PST 2010

I will respectfully disagree about the goodness of this news.

" Warden says he's removed identifying profile URLs but kept names, 
locations, Fan page lists and partial Friends lists."

Did he ask permission? I know these are "public" profiles - or were when 
indexed, anyways - but being an individual and having a public profile 
is a different thing than being aggregated as part of a massive data set.

This is an issue of power. Zuckerberg can talk about the end of privacy 
because his privilege guarantees that there won't be negative 
consequences to his publicity (and this would be true even if he weren't 
CEO of Facebook). A clever coder can talk about the "sneaky" ways you 
can use your friends' e-mails and Mechanical Turk to mass-harvest 
profiles from Facebook.

But that doesn't speak to the ethical responsibilities that we have as 
academic researchers. I don't think that the way that Facebook handles 
its' users data is responsible, and I don't think that figuring out ways 
to exploit that handling is responsible, either.


On 2/9/10 9:14 AM, Stefania Muca wrote:
> Hello, I just wanted to share the good news :)
> http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/facebook_user_data_analysis.php
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