This week marks the 10th anniversary of Facebook, and to help commemorate this milestone I wrote an essay for The Washington Post that postulates an early framework of Mark Zuckerberg’s theory of privacy, based on a preliminary analysis of the data contained in The Zuckerberg Files archive. Here are the three principles I discuss: Information […]
Today, after months of hard work by many hands, I’m happy to announce the launch of The Zuckerberg Files, a digital archive of all public utterances of Facebook’s founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Over 100 full-text transcripts and nearly 50 video files are available for researchers to download, analyze, and scrutinize. What is The Zuckergberg Files? […]
Recently, I was approached by a team of researchers concerned with the research ethics issues related to using Facebook to recruit human subjects. Specifically, the team was planning to use Facebook advertisements in order to target certain users for a research study evaluating the effectiveness of a particular educational strategy aimed at decreasing the occurrence […]
The 2012 edition of Choose Privacy Week, the annual initiative of the American Library Association that invites the public into a national conversation about privacy rights in a digital age, is wrapping up (and don’t miss our special screening of the short documentary film “Big Brother, Big Business: The Data-Mining and Surveillance Industries” tomorrow at […]
Recently I noticed what appears to be some kind of bug — and potentially major privacy concern — on Facebook’s feed and ticker features. Let me explain the scenario: For a moderate amount of time, I had been a “friend” with someone on Facebook, and we appeared to have full visibility of each others activities. […]
The Chronicle of Higher Education has published an article featuring my critique of the privacy protections and research methods related to the “Taste, Ties, and Time” (T3) Facebook research study conducted by a set of Harvard sociologists. Written by Marc Parry, the article is not-so-subtly teased as “Harvard’s Privacy Meltdown” on the Chronicle’s front page, […]
Facebook has provided only a generic comment noting that the gay-kiss image was removed in error. But many unanswered questions remain. Critical questions, indeed, considering the cruel dichotomy of Facebook’s mission to “[Give] people the power to share and make the world more open and connected” and its unquestioned power to control the platform, and thus the conditions under which people are allowed to share.
Facebook recently removed a photo of two men kissing from a user’s Wall due to an apparent violation of the site’s terms of service. This act of censorship has received considerable attention, and while it is reasonable for Facebook to try to control some of the content shared on its platform, there are some fundamental concerns with this case that point to a growing censorship problem within Facebook, especially when considered against the backdrop of Facebook’s potential entry into China.
A number of years ago, Daniel Howe and Helen Nissenbaum at New York University developed and released TrackMeNot, a lightweight Firefox browser extension that protects users against search data profiling by issuing randomized queries to popular search-engines with fake data. TrackMeNot obscures users’ actual search trails in a cloud of ‘ghost’ queries, significantly increasing the […]
Recently, a Facebook dataset was released consisting of the complete set of users from the Facebook networks at 100 American institutions, and all of the in-network “friendship” links between those users as they existed at a single moment of time in September 2005. Surprisingly, it initially included each users unique Facebook ID, meaning the presumed “anonymous” dataset could be easily re-identified, potentially putting the personal information of 1.2 million Facebook users at risk.