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Facebook is reportedly negotiating with Chinese partners to launch the social network in China, where it is currently blocked from use. But expanding into China requires abiding by Chinese laws, which require web companies to censor everything from search results to status updates. Though Facebook says it is dedicated to making the world a "more open and connected" place--a mission that clashes with the Chinese government's frequent crackdowns on Internet expression--a spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that it is considering censoring the content that appears on its site in nations abroad. While he did not mention China specifically, Facebook lobbyist Adam Conner told the Journal, "Maybe we will block content in some countries, but not others."
In a series of interviews with USAToday, Facebook has finally revealed how it tracks users and non-users across the web, gathering huge amount of data as it does so. Says ABCNews/USAToday : Facebook officials are now acknowledging that the social media giant has been able to create a running log of the web pages that each of its 800 million or so members has visited during the previous 90 days. Facebook also keeps close track of where millions more non-members of the social network go on the Web, after they visit a Facebook web page for any reason.
In recent weeks, Facebook has been wrangling with the Federal Trade Commission over whether the social media website is violating users' privacy by making public too much of their personal information. Far more quietly, another debate is brewing over a different side of online privacy: what Facebook is learning about those who visit its website. Facebook officials are now acknowledging that the social media giant has been able to create a running log of the web pages that each of its 800 million or so members has visited during the previous 90 days. Facebook also keeps close track of where millions more non-members of the social network go on the Web, after they visit a Facebook web page for any reason. To do this, the company relies on tracking cookie technologies similar to the controversial systems used by Google, Adobe, Microsoft, Yahoo and others in the online advertising industry, says Arturo Bejar, Facebook's engineering director.
The UK government is considering the mass surveillance and retention of all user communications on social-networking sites including Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo. Home Office security minister Vernon Coaker said on Monday that the EU Data Retention Directive, under which ISPs must store communications data for 12 months, does not go far enough. Communications such as those on social networking sites and instant messaging could also be monitored, he said. "Social-networking sites, such as MySpace or Bebo, are not covered by the directive," said Coaker, speaking at a meeting of the House of Commons Fourth Delegated Legislation Committee . "That is one reason why the government are looking at what we should do about the Intercept Modernisation Programme, because there are certain aspects of communications which are not covered by the directive."
Updated 10pm Pacific with comments from Facebook. Entrepreneur and hacker Nik Cubrilovic reports that Facebook can track the web pages you visit even when you are logged out of Facebook. According to Cubrilovic’s tests, Facebook merely alters its tracking cookies when you log out, rather than deleting them. Your account information and other unique identifiable tokens are still present in these cookies, which means that any time you visit a web page with a Facebook button or widget, your browser is still sending personally identifiable information back to Facebook.
Important Update : Facebook has responded and issued a fix for this issue. See the follow up blog post "Facebook Fixes Logout Issue, Explains Cookies" Dave Winer wrote a timely piece this morning about how Facebook is scaring him since the new API allows applications to post status items to your Facebook timeline without a users intervention.
Facebook's Like button today was found in violation of Germany's strict privacy laws. Commissioner Thilo Weichert, who works for the Independent Centre for Privacy Protection (ULD) in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein, said the social network’s plugin, which allows Internet users to express their appreciation of something online, illegally puts together a profile of their Web habits. The ULD said if you visit Facebook.com or use a Facebook plugin such as the Like button, you should expect to be tracked by the company for two years: Facebook allegedly builds a broad profile for individuals not on the service as well as a more personalized profile of its members.
BERLIN (Associated Press)-- A German data protection authority is "unliking" Facebook's "Like" button. The state of Schleswig-Holstein's data protection commissioner, Thilo Weichert, on Friday ordered state institutions to shut down the fan pages on the social networking site and remove the "Like" button from their websites, saying it leads to profiling that violates German and European law. Facebook insisted Friday that is in full compliance with European data protection laws. On Friday, Weichert issued a statement saying technical analysis by his office shows Facebook violated German and European data protection laws by passing content data to the social network's servers in the U.S. "Whoever visits facebook.com or uses a plug-in must expect that he or she will be tracked by the company for two years," Weichert said. "Facebook builds a broad individual and for members even a personalized profile."
The German government on Friday declared the Facebook “Like” button, which appears on countless websites accessible all over the world, in violation of the country’s strict privacy rights — and thus illegal. An official from the German state of Schleswig-Holstein’s data protection center, Thilo Weichert, said the privacy violation stems from the Like button’s ability to track a person’s movement across the web, according to a report by The Local . In addition to violating German laws, Weichert claims the Facebook Like button also breaks European Union data protection laws.
Facebook’s ubiquitous ‘like’ button found on countless websites in Germany was declared in violation of the country’s strict privacy laws by a state data protection official on Friday.
When you own a domain you’re a first class citizen of the web. A householder and landowner. What you can do on your own website is only very broadly constrained by law and convention. You can post the content you like. You can run the software you want, including software you’ve written or customised yourself. And you can design it to look the way you want.
For those out of the loop, Facebook just introduced the Timeline at its recent F8 Conference . Besides the obvious changes in aesthetics thanks to the Sofa acquisition , Timeline alters everything from the purpose of the Facebook profile, to the way Facebook is pushing users to rethink their own privacy. TechCrunch recently published an article about Why The Timeline Changes Nothing . Well, they’re wrong. The timeline changes everything.