Law in the Internet Society


-- By BhalarpVallayapet - 02 Nov 2015


After a successful invention of Facebook, it gradually becomes an essential part of people’s lives.

Nonsense. It's just a product some people use. It isn't essential, as is shown by the fact that those of us who live without it can live just as rich lives on the Web as those who do (in fact, richer). Why begin a critical essay with an uncritical repetition of an obviously incorrect piece of commercial propaganda.

Earlier, people have been relatively more secluded; now, they can share their thoughts and lifestyles through words and pictures on a real-time basis.

That's not Facebook, that's the Internet and the Web. Why are you confusing one with the other in a setting meant to be analytical, not an advertisement for the company you claim to be doubting? You haven't edited this draft.

It is interesting to see other people’s lives, to know what they are currently doing and to interact with them from anywhere, at any time. Facebook is designed to satisfy the inner desire of most people – to show-off their enviable lives, to express their feelings, and to receive encouragement and positive feedbacks through the increasing number of “likes” and comments. The more satisfaction people get, the more information they share. The more information shared, the more value added to Facebook operator.

Currently, Facebook has become the world’s largest database of personal data. According to Facebook, as of September 2015, there are 1.01 billion daily active users on average. More than 30 billion pieces of content (e.g. statuses, photos, web links, etc.) are shared each month.

While Facebook has earned “trust” from people all over the world, has anyone ever thought about how Facebook users are actually being used?

Why do you ask a rhetorical question like that? Obviously people have. One of them taught you.


After uploading countless pieces of information, has anyone ever wonder what happened to them?


According to Facebook, almost all of the information shared by the users, either intentionally or unintentionally, are collected and stored by Facebook.

A tautology. The important point isn't that what is shared is stored. It's that the act of looking at what is shared is stored. I thought I emphasized that sufficiently that you would at least feel it was relevant to mention.

Such information includes everything ranging from information available on their Facebook walls, location of where the photos were uploaded, frequency and duration of Facebook usage, and interaction between users.

The type of information collected goes as far as the payment information (such as credit card number), the device information (such as device location, phone number and IP address), as well as information about the users' usage of third-party websites or applications that collaborates with Facebook.

Can't you say this simply given that you are repeating things I have already said?

Whenever a user enters a third-party website with a “Like” button, the user’s data is automatically transferred to Facebook, regardless of whether that user is logged on to Facebook account. Such data will be stored until the user’s account is deleted,

What makes you think this is true? Account deletion is irrelevant.

or until Facebook no longer needs the data to offer such products and services.

But, why?

Now that Facebook has become a public company, it has to find more ways to generate revenue for its investors. Currently, more than 90% of Facebook's revenue comes from advertising. It earns steady profits by collaborating with advertising companies to target advertisement. An advertising company creates an advertisement targeted at a target market, and Facebook delivers that advertisement to that specific users which are in such target market.

In identifying the users who are in a particular target market, Facebook analyzes the users' information which it has collected. By agreeing to the terms and conditions of using Facebook, the users have agreed to give up their right to privacy, and permit Facebook to store the browsing history from these sites and use it for the purpose of advertisements.

Could you not simply link to a discussion of advertising platforms? No doubt you can find easily writing that does a better job of explaining this than you have done here.

The goal of Facebook is to personalize the content and make suggestions for each user by using the collected information to understand the behavior of each user, both inside and outside of the Facebook world. Facebook uses this information to show each user the advertisements that are in the scope of interest of each user, whether on or off Facebook, and to measure the effectiveness of each advertisement. The information about the effectiveness of the advertising may be provided to Facebook’s partners. In this regard, Facebook claims that it does not share any information that personally identifies each user (such as their name or email address) unless the permission is given. Although Facebook and advertising companies want their advertising to be as “relevant and interesting” as possible, a lot of people find it infringing and unsafe to be exposed to the same advertisements regardless of which website they access.


To prevent the user’s data from being exploited for commercial purposes, Facebook has offered an opt-out of this “service” by removing Facebook from the list of “companies customizing ads for your browser” via the Digital Advertising Alliance website. However, the opt-out feature only works for the browser that is being used when such opt-out feature was activated. It is vital to note that even though Facebook is no longer allowed to customize ads for a particular browser, it still continues to collect data and store them somewhere.

Therefore, the best thing to do is to control the data which you and your friends share on Facebook. You should read through all the changes to Facebook's terms and conditions. It is unfair to leave all the responsibility to the users, but that is just the only option available. Otherwise, you may have to consider whether to continue using Facebook at all.

Does this discussion satisfy you either technically or as an answer to the question it purports to ask? I found it neither helpful nor accurate.


While most people are still unaware of the control Facebook has over their personal information, there are some groups of people out there trying to stop these allegedly infringing activities.

In 2013, two Facebook users, Michael Hurley and Matthew Campbell, filed class action lawsuit against Facebook, claiming that Facebook breaches the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and Californian privacy and competition laws by scanning private messages sent by users on its social media website without the users’ consents. If the messages contain any link to a web page, Facebook will count such link as a “like” of the third party’s page.

In addition, SumOfUs has created a website for signing the petition to Facebook. Currently, 359,327 people have already signed up.

To protect the right to privacy, everyone has to devote their time and make their voice heard, either by participating in conferences relating to rights to privacy, signing petitions, or supporting privacy-focused organizations. Hopefully, all users throughout the world will gain back some, if not all, control over their personal information. After all, it is within our right to choose who we trust and to decide how much we can trust them.

Why does this essay not explain that the Web is usable for all the same purposes Facebook is used for, and that if you have a web server or a hosted account, or even just a public_html directory on a system (like where you automatically get web-visibility for your shared data, that you don't need "free social networking" at all, because you can do the very same things without the spy in the middle? Why does this essay not explain the difference between centralized and federated services? Why does it not say that Facebook centralizes services the Web already federated first, and that users who want the advantages Facebook gives them could easily offer one another the same services with no spying? I think the reason you don't say those things is that you haven't learned them. But isn't the point of this course that you can learn them, and also learn how to explain them to other people? If so, this essay isn't doing the job. If you're planning another revision, that's what it should do.


Webs Webs

r4 - 09 Jan 2016 - 16:01:28 - EbenMoglen
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