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Facebook To Share Private Data With Politico 157

Posted by Soulskill
from the sharing-is-caring dept.
tomhudson writes "AllThingsD is reporting that Facebook has agreed to share users' private data with Politico. Quoting: 'Most notably, the Facebook-Politico data set will include Facebook users' private status messages and comments. Every post and comment — both public and private — by a U.S. user that mentions a presidential candidate's name will be fed through a sentiment analysis tool.' Yes, they claim it will be anonymized, but we've seen that doesn't really work in real life."
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Facebook To Share Private Data With Politico

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  • Google does the same (Score:5, Informative)

    by TechGuys (2554082) on Monday January 16, 2012 @02:39PM (#38715888)
    Even the article mentions it:

    This is similar to the way Google offers reports on search trends based on its users’ aggregate search activities.

    In fact, all of this is public information too. You can look at search amounts for specific searches here [google.com].

    It's just numerical data. Facebook seems to do this analysis by searching all the posts that mention candidate's name and if the associated words are positive or negative.

    The comparison to anonymized data in the summary is stupid. Facebook publishing any of those messages, they're just doing analysis on them. There would be good point in this article if they actually published those messages because then anonymizing doesn't work, but it's a moot point because they aren't making anything public. Only the aggregated search amounts.

    • by ThisIsSaei (2397758) on Monday January 16, 2012 @02:44PM (#38715916)
      It's cool to hate facebook + sensationalist headlines get more attention = this article.
      • by hedwards (940851)

        Pssh, I was hating FB way before that became cool.

        Also, it's obviously not working, despite the numerous warnings about FB people still maintain their accounts and we have yet to see the government really step in and tell them to stop spying on random internet users.

        • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Monday January 16, 2012 @03:02PM (#38716176) Homepage

          I was hating facebook before it was cool to hate myspace.

          • You should join the rest of us in hating Google for the same reasons we hate Facebook and Microsoft. It's very avant-garde here on Slashdot.

            • by Synerg1y (2169962) on Monday January 16, 2012 @03:16PM (#38716330)

              Coincidentally, I bet most slashdotters can't provide a valid reason (no imagination, no tinfoil) for hating any of them. And I'm accomplishing nothing by stating so besides ruffling the herd :)

              • by mr1911 (1942298)

                Coincidentally, I bet most slashdotters can't provide a valid reason (no imagination, no tinfoil) for hating any of them.

                Because I want to.

                Valid enough for me.

                • It seems that's reason enough to denote the original comment trolling. Perhaps if I was needlessly verbose...
                  • by mr1911 (1942298)
                    The original comment was pretty insightful. Proof that idiots get mod points. Just another day at /.
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by garaged (579941)

                Well, you must be new around, I have seen WAY too much reasons to hate pretty much any existing company just in the last couple of months :D

              • by silanea (1241518)

                Have you recently used Facebook's interface without any browser extensions to alter it (Social Fixer etc.)? Name one thing there that does not deserve to be hated. Facebook as a website sucks. Hard.

                And Microsoft? They still have no half-way sensible package management, installing their current OSes over a network still makes even the most extreme SM session look like wellness and I hate those damned ribbons!

                And Google? They are a privacy nightmare. Like any other large company. And most governments.

              • by Khyber (864651)

                Oh, I could provide plenty of reasons.

                Google's search, despite you telling it not to, still tailors search results based upon what an IP address has searched for recently. This seriously fucks up my searching for what I'm after, because I get a bunch of nonsense from local results that are made by people that do not know what they're talking about.

                Facebook has leaked out too much data. No thanks.

                Microsoft has this penchant for still attempting to abuse antitrust. It's a natural part of hat company, now. You

              • by Nyder (754090)

                Coincidentally, I bet most slashdotters can't provide a valid reason (no imagination, no tinfoil) for hating any of them. And I'm accomplishing nothing by stating so besides ruffling the herd :)

                I hate Facebook because it's a platform for gleaning as much info, personal or otherwise, from it's user, without giving any added value. They do NOT care about user rights or privacy, which has been shown time and time again in various articles.

                Facebook wants to make as much money as it can off of you, and it doesn't care how.

                (And yes, i know peeps will say Google is like that, but that's not true. Google provides a lot of useful services and don't sell you out to 3rd parties for some extra cash.)

              • by Lundse (1036754)

                Insightful? More like troll - but a couple of other people at least seem to feel the need for a serious answer...

                Microsoft is a repeat offender of FUD and EEE tactics. Just to mention the tip of the iceberg.
                Facebook owns the largest sociological database in existence, and they are selling its usage to the highest bidder.
                Google is trying to take over the web, while have pioneered the FB business model.

              • Coincidentally, I bet most slashdotters can't provide a valid reason (no imagination, no tinfoil) for hating any of them. And I'm accomplishing nothing by stating so besides ruffling the herd :)

                I hated MySpace because it made Geocities looking pages "cool" again and made the long armed, over the forehead, into the cleavage, puckered lips photo popular.

                I hated Facebook because they only make life more difficult, be it under age vanity photos, college drunkenness, friending coworkers and bosses, starting family feuds because someone started a flame war because one of them is an antivaxxer or religious fundamentalist, etc.

                And while these services may have at first exposed what is a human problem not

              • by AmiMoJo (196126)

                I wouldn't object so much if I could completely opt out, but it isn't easy. My friends use Facebook to organise and it got to the point where I heard about gatherings at the last minute when someone remembered to text me, or not at all. Then the gatherings themselves were reduced as people shared their news and gossip via Facebook instead of face to face. Sad but it happened and my only option was have a Facebook account or be a social outcast.

                Actually even if you don't have a Facebook account they collect

            • Pfft, hating M$ and F-UB are SO mainstream.

              I hate slashdot.

          • by gatkinso (15975) on Monday January 16, 2012 @03:19PM (#38716354)

            I hated AOL way before you owned a computer.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      But would they properly aggregate posts about Mittens?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 16, 2012 @02:47PM (#38715960)

      This is completely different.

      Google is taking data that users are providing them, and doing statistical analysis on that data. There's no issue with this, because it's not leaving Google.

      Facebook is taking data that users are providing them, and sending it off to a third party to do statistical analysis on it. This is a terrible invasion of privacy, because Facebook users never intended for their private data to be shipped off to other companies.

      If you can't see the difference here than you're either dumb or an anti-Google shill.

      • by gnick (1211984)

        Google is taking data that users are providing them, and doing statistical analysis on that data. There's no issue with this, because it's not leaving Google.

        Umm... Sure it is. In fact, you can go look at anonymized aggregate search trends from Google yourself. For [google.com] free [google.com].

        I am a huge Google fan, but don't think that anything you do with them is kept private unless they specifically tell you so.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          You have missed the point. You gave that data to Google when you searched via Google. Google is doing the analysis itself and then presenting the findings itself. At no point does it leave Google. Plus, no identifying info leaves Google as it is all scrubbed down to pure numerical form before it is presented.

          With this new Facebook/Politico thing, Facebook is giving the data to Politico to analyze. There's the problem. They are taking what I put on Facebook and giving it to someone else without my permission

          • by TechGuys (2554082)

            With this new Facebook/Politico thing, Facebook is giving the data to Politico to analyze. There's the problem. They are taking what I put on Facebook and giving it to someone else without my permission. That would be like Google taking your emails and giving them to a 3rd party to look at.

            That is entirely false. Facebook is not giving Politico any private messages. They will run the statistics tools themselves.

      • by Bucky24 (1943328)
        There IS a difference, but I wouldn't say it's COMPLETELY different.
      • by blueg3 (192743)

        It's not, actually. While the summary is misleading, Facebook is performing the analysis themselves and providing Politico with the summary results. It would be more correct to say that Facebook is sharing the results of analysis performed on private data with Politico, as they're not sharing the data itself.

      • Facebook is taking data that users are providing them, and sending it off to a third party to do statistical analysis on it. This is a terrible invasion of privacy, because Facebook users never intended for their private data to be shipped off to other companies.

        Facebook never intended for users to give them data that they considered private. If you want to keep something private, common sense dictates that you not give it to other people. Heck, it's not even common sense, it's tautological -- data that you give to other people isn't private (anymore) unless there are specific safeguards (attorney-client privilege, HIPAA comes to mind) that create a positive duty on them not to share it.

        Seriously folks, if you've sent it to someone else, it's not private. If you've

      • by Viewsonic (584922)

        How are they possibly making money off 'big boobs'?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Google does not give it's data to anyone else. Facebook does. The difference is clear.

      Oh also fuck you DCTech/cmdrpony/ge7/tech4. Get a life.

    • by Penguinisto (415985) on Monday January 16, 2012 @02:51PM (#38716014) Journal

      Small point: There is a vast difference between some half-cobbled search term pecked in, and a statement of personal ideology. I mean, something like "Sen. Congresscritter criminal record" on Google has a lot more variations of context that could be applied than a Facebook-borne "Senator Congresscritter is a friggin pedophile/terrorist that stomps on puppies and then enjoys beating up old ladies while forcing his wife and kids to watch. If it wasn't for his money and status, he'd be enduring 30 years fo hard sodomy at the nearest federal penitentiary! Oh, and he cheats on his taxes - I have proof!"

      Otherwise? While it would likely begin as just numerical data, I can see how the Facebook setup could be very easily abused. You're still parsing the words, after all, and those can easily contain the owner's name, or at least enough references to infer it quite easily.

    • by Baloroth (2370816)
      This is fine so long as Facebook only gives Politico the numerical results and not the actual information itself. TFA is a little skimpy on the details about who is actually running the analyzing tool: if it is Facebook, fine, but if Politico has access to the private data, that would be a problem.
      • by jcreus (2547928)
        Well it's fine; but for a reason. Because all you Facebook members accepted the terms of use! (Some of us don't have that problem.) Even if it is in the terms of use (which I haven't read), you know, it's not much ethical giving out private data to third parties.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by TechGuys (2554082)
        Yes, the summary is badly worded. Facebook themselves clearly say that it is Facebook who will run the statistics software [facebook.com].
        • by Baloroth (2370816)
          Ah, thanks. Facebook has the data either way, so I don't really see this being a privacy problem. So long as they do it right, of course.
    • The comparison to anonymized data in the summary is stupid. Facebook publishing any of those messages, they're just doing analysis on them. There would be good point in this article if they actually published those messages because then anonymizing doesn't work, but it's a moot point because they aren't making anything public. Only the aggregated search amounts.

      The articles I've read about this don't specifically say as to how much aggregation Facebook will provide. I'm guessing that it would be a really coarse grained distribution of Facebook users' opinions and no different than the level of granularity most other political polls provide. However, if they provide breakdowns on very fine grained age ranges, geographic regions, ethnicity, gender, political views, etc, identifying specific people may be possible. I recall a similar study [chronicle.com] done with aggregated Fac

    • Even the article mentions it:

      This is similar to the way Google offers reports on search trends based on its users’ aggregate search activities.

      In fact, all of this is public information too. You can look at search amounts for specific searches here [google.com].

      "Number of Global Searches" and "Number of Local Searches"? That's not a lot of information.

      So you're telling us that Politico won't be getting Facebook's users age/birthday, gender information, party affiliation, and zip code, along with the number of times they mentioned a candidate's name positively or negatively?

      Now I agree that this slashdot headline is mostly just for click-bait purposes, but personally, I would still love to see the specific report Politico was getting. The same goes for Google, if G

    • by ilguido (1704434)
      I don't think that I'm offtopic if I ask you how you could read the FTA and write the first post (citing the FTA btw) in less than a minute after that the story was published. I'm not offtopic because the answer could invalidate all your points.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Oh, he's just an another part of CmdrPony/InsightIn140Bytes/DCTech/DavidSell sockpuppet (forgive me for not enumerating each of his throw-away accounts, I'm skipping 4 or 5 of them). He's got an account with subscription to see when the story's coming up and a new account every week to get first post with anti-Google tripe.

        Check his posts history and see. He's always like this, once there's a chance to bash Google - he's right here. Here, there was even same scenario, an article about FB with his first post [slashdot.org]

    • I think the expectation of privacy is considerably different between submitting a query to a search engine and posting a message marked "PRIVATE" to a social network. A bit like the difference between making a call to 411 for directory assistance (where I expect the call may be recorded) and making a private telephone call (where I expect only the government to be able to record it, and only with a warrant, though perhaps I'm being a bit nostalgic in that regard).

    • by http (589131)
      A one hundred sixty word response, complete with link, less than one minute after the story goes live, from a seven digit UID. Uncanny.
      May I hire your services? I need to disrupt freerepublic next month.
    • by tomhudson (43916)

      First, it is NOT the same. Google analyzing your data in-house and sharing the trends is not the same as giving your data (including private posts) to a 3rd party for the 3rd party to analyze.

      Second, as the links I provided in the submission show, there is no such thing as "anonymized data" - given enough data, you can pretty much connect anyone to a series of facebook posts.

    • posts that mention candidate's name and if the associated words are positive or negative

      All the other candidates have the wisdom of youth and the energy of age. Ron Paul, however, is the shit. Obama, too, has a certain pulchritude. I offer him my contrafribbilarities.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      They're probably just counting hits to the URL filter. When I post links I always wait for the full preview to appear, yet sometimes when I click to post the link disappears. Facebook took "via Links" off the bottom of such posts so there's no longer any visual clue that a link is missing except context. This happens to me only when I post some political content that is going around, or when I post some other content from a site that commonly carries it. If I post some inane drivel it always (and I mean alw

  • by alen (225700) on Monday January 16, 2012 @02:44PM (#38715920)

    i LOVE our glorious President. he's the Dearest Leader i've ever had

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 16, 2012 @02:44PM (#38715922)

    We just have to troll the data by posting nothing but Ron Paul links on Facebook. /looks at Facebook feed

    See! Everyone's already doing it!

  • I'm learning that when the fundamental dynamics of something seem wrong, you should usually go with your gut regardless of what the crowd does.

    With a little thought, it's easy to spot problems that the mainstream media, and public at large, are simply ignoring. Perhaps they take cues from each others' lack of concern?

    • housing bubble - Easy to see the debt:income ratios for buying a house were becoming impossible to manage. I didn't understand bond markets and CDO's at the time, but I could tell something w
    • I forgot to mention lawsuits against file sharers. Whenever I even contemplated file sharing, I thought about how easy it would be for ISP's and websites to log my actions and tie copyright infringement to my computer/house.

      Again, all the basic dynamics are in place for getting sued, but lots of people for some reason ignored them.

    • by vlm (69642)

      Another fan of thehousingbubbleblog and zerohedge? Those two and /. seem to go together a lot.
      Other than shock sites those are the three that seem to go together the most.

  • Yup, there we go ... "Facebook To Share Private Data" ... it doesn't matter who at this point, because eventually it becomes "everybody".

    Facebook is going to share your private data eventually. They're going to do it as often as they can get away with, and for as much money as it nets them.

    Their privacy statement is meaningless, and they don't care about such things ... so, if anybody has the private information for Zuckerburg and the other trolls running Facebook ... start putting it on every public forum

    • by Kenja (541830) on Monday January 16, 2012 @03:06PM (#38716216)
      If you gave the data to Facebook, it was never private in the first place.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Exactly. Do people really not get this by now, given it's been in all the mainstream media?

        If you give your info to FB, whether directly or indirectly by (say) loading their "like" button from another site, then what you give them is not private. You gave it to an organization whose entire purpose is to distribute it to anyone who wants to buy.

        • by Jawnn (445279)

          Exactly. Do people really not get this by now, given it's been in all the mainstream media?

          Clearly, they do not. That, or they just don't care enough to think about the consequences. The latter is, to me, the more troubling explanation by far. I guess that the civil rights reaming we've been taking from the government actually makes the violations by Facebook, et al, just kinda slip in unnoticed.

      • by gstoddart (321705)

        If you gave the data to Facebook, it was never private in the first place.

        Valid point, but there are some places which have data privacy laws Facebook will be bound to ... and those laws likely say that there's limited things Facebook can do with certain data. I think in some countries, this would likely run afoul of that.

        However, for the rest of us, it might be fun to game the system and flood it with a bunch of stuff to drive things crazy ... "Romney wears womens underwear", "Barak Obama wipes his nose o

    • by forkfail (228161)

      Big Brother may have gotten his start in the public sector, but he's shifted to the private one these days.

      Our government is the tool of the corporations and the big money. So, yes - this is an Orwellian trend, but nevertheless - look at who pulls the strings.

  • Its not private data (Score:2, Interesting)

    by nurb432 (527695)

    If its placed in a public database. Now if i was *paying* for service id be in a bad mood if there was not a US warrant first. FB is free, its public. its how this stuff works.

    • by forkfail (228161) on Monday January 16, 2012 @04:42PM (#38717446)

      You do not buy rights. If you did, they'd be privileges.

      We all know that the user is the product on Facebook. However, there are limitations on how Facebook can sell its product, and those are determined by the EULA, terms of service and privacy policy documentation.

      I can't imagine a less correct statement concerning privacy in general and Facebook in particular than yours.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      FB is free, its public. its how this stuff works.

      All you've proven is you don't know "how this stuff works"
      Service charges have absolutely no bearing on whether data is public or private.

      By your logic, since Hotmail and Gmail are free services, I should have no trouble getting hold of their databases and start reading all their users emails right???

      More to the point, if FB users data is 'public' as you claim, then why are the FTC doing privacy audits on Facebook for the next 20 years? After all, if the data

  • Seriously? What's the big deal? If you don't like it, don't use Facebook. I don't. I quit several months ago and deleted my account. Same with Twitter after I learned they were giving their entire archive to the Library of Congress.

    With FB, I am convinced it's really nothing more than a giant waste of time with little or no real benefit. Yes, I will grant that I met my wonderful wife courtesy of Facebook, but beyond that, I cannot see how my life is any better due to the time I used to spend there.

    Not

    • by BLT2112 (1372873)

      Yes, I will grant that I met my wonderful wife courtesy of Facebook, but beyond that, I cannot see how my life is any better due to the time I used to spend there.

      Spot the irony in the above sentence!

      • by CCarrot (1562079)

        Yes, I will grant that I met my wonderful wife courtesy of Facebook, but beyond that, I cannot see how my life is any better due to the time I used to spend there.

        Spot the irony in the above sentence!

        I met my equally wonderful husband in a smoking section while *gasp* having a smoke. Does that mean that smoking was the best thing to ever happen to me? Should I have continued to smoke for the sake of sentimentality?

        IMHO, FB is bad medicine. Some of us can sample and quit, and some never start in the first place...

  • by whereiswaldo (459052) on Monday January 16, 2012 @03:30PM (#38716472) Journal

    If I put on my I-want-your-data hat for a second, I think giving a data set is the wrong approach. Give Politico a search interface to perform research on. Then I get to collect data on the things that Politico cares about and do my own tertiary data mining. Maybe that's a bad idea, I don't know. I'm not very good at being evil. ;)

  • by blair1q (305137) on Monday January 16, 2012 @03:40PM (#38716590) Journal

    Let me see everything written by any Politico employee, published or private. You can anonymize them if you like.

  • After looking at these wonderful unlabeled graphs for years, I hope they've learned how to visualize data:

    http://www.facebook.com/developers/chart.php?type=at_total_time
    http://www.facebook.com/developers/chart.php?type=at_error_count
    http://developers.facebook.com/live_status/

  • Come on, this is getting old. If you don't want your words or pictures to be made public don't put them on Facebook. How difficult is this? Assume that anything you write there will be public information because it's, well, public.
    • by forkfail (228161)

      It won't get old until Facebook says on their privacy page, "We don't value your privacy. Everything you say will be data mined and sold to anyone who gives us enough money. And we might even give it away for free."

  • Coorelation. If you combine enough data, you can identify the people that make it up. For example, the malls that were tracking people via cellphones. Combine that with sales data from merchants, and you can see what individual people were buying and filter out window shoppers from legitimate shoppers. So who is willing to go the distance on this and delete their facebooks?
  • ... Skapare on Facebook.

  • Well, we all heard that phone calls get recorded if you say specific messages like president and bomb in the same conversation.

    What about facebook messages? Does it suddenly become not anon if they see phrases like that?

    What if it was, 'I love Obama, he is the bomb'. What happens?

  • The only thing this says is that Politico is stupid. Something most of us know already.

  • So who's doing the analysis? Facebook, or Politico?

    If Facebook is doing the analysis and handing Politico a graph (or rather the numbers that can be made into a graph), then big deal. Facebook already has access to the information, and nothing personal is going public, even anonymized.

    OTOH, if Facebook is grepping for candidates' names, stripping off the usernames, and handing *that* to Politico, *that* would be a breach of privacy.

  • Does that mean that any time someone discusses that "byproduct" it will be linked to the presidential candidate? :O
    That would be awesome! Will the comments be more negative than positive... which social groups?

    Next president... Lincoln Free Beer!

  • by Lawrence_Bird (67278) on Monday January 16, 2012 @05:48PM (#38718318) Homepage

    Dear Politico,

    There is no need to pay Facebook for infomation regarding political sentiment of their user postings and messages. For free I can tell you the answer:

    RON PAUL

    I am available for hire as a political consultant.

    Thank you

    LB

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