Fedbook: Blatanly the Fed’s Book

June 24, 2010

By: Caroline McCarthy

Facebook announced Thursday the hire of Marne Levine, as its first-ever Vice President of Global Public Policy. She’ll start at the Palo Alto, Calif.-based tech company next month but will remain based in Washington, D.C. Currently, she serves as chief of staff for the White House National Economic Counsel; previously, following a background in the online payments space, she worked in the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Legislative Affairs and Public Liaison, and was chief of staff to former Treasury head Larry Summers when he was president of Harvard University.

“I’m excited that Marne is joining my team as Vice President, Global Public Policy,” a statement from Facebook vice president of communications Elliot Schrage read. “With over 70 percent of our users living outside the United States, her unique mix of government and Internet industry experience will be invaluable to help Facebook address some of the most interesting questions at the intersection of technology and public policy.”

As Facebook draws ever closer to the half-billion-member milestone, the company increasingly finds itself dealing with international governments and legislative bodies both inside and outside of the U.S. Part of Levine’s job will be to help build public policy teams in Asia, Europe, and the Americas; Facebook’s existing D.C. branch head, Tim Sparapani, will continue to manage the company’s relationship with the U.S. government.

Part of Levine’s background–connections to Harvard University, the Treasury Department, and Larry Summers–sounds a whole lot like that of another Facebook executive, chief operating officer and former Google sales exec Sheryl Sandberg, who was Summers’ chief of staff when he was at the Treasury Department. Sandberg was one of Facebook’s first prominent employees to come from a government background rather than Silicon Valley.

Facebook’s existing D.C. connections also run deep thanks to Donald Graham, chairman of the Washington Post Company, who serves on Facebook’s board of directors. The Washington Post was also the outlet for an op-ed penned by CEO Mark Zuckerberg after the company’s most recent privacy controversy, indicating Facebook’s desire to further permeate the close-knit world of D.C. influence and dealmaking.


Interact: Test Yourself

April 22, 2010

This is the easiest and perhaps most interesting and critical test you could do this month. Never mind your exams. We’ve tried this the last few months and are disgusted with the results.

1. Do this: Search your “First & Last Name” + “Facebook” – and don’t use Google, that ‘s like failing the test before even starting. Use Scroogle and keep track of the results.

A. How is your online presence represented? Overall how do you come off looking?
B. How much do you appear in the public forum?
C. Is what you’re doing in the public forum something that you’d get shit for if the TSA started using Google’s public forum to screen you?
D. Would you delete your full profile right now if Facebook made everything in your profile public today?

2. Tell us in a comment what you expected to see and what the results were.

It’s frightening to see one thing, let along 12 when you’re using a network that was promoted to be closed and then opened up against your wishes. What will they share about you next? It’s safe to bet it could be as shitty as what is on your police or CIA record… except worse because it would be full-out public where it’s hard to prove shit like employment and economic/income discrimination. No one likes to be singled-out. It’s a dog eat dog world out there, and there are a lot of shitass dogs. Why make yourself more vulnerable than you already are?

We’ve got a lot to go in and clean up ourselves and we suggest you get to it too.

Happy “Deleting!”

Share: 6 Ways To Tell Your Employer To Stay The F*ck Out Of Your Personal Life

April 12, 2010

Last week Yahoo! “news” posted some queer ass excuse for a news story called “6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes.” The topic was actually on something even lamer than the Yahoo! “news” site called Invest-something or other. BTW, that’s how you know you’re getting duped, OK?

1. You’re reading Yahoo’s excuse for news and…
2. You’re reading something written for a publication with “Invest” in its company name.

Has anyone ever thought about how close Incest is to Invest, by one letter!? I digress. Today we are going to point out how Facebook and privacy have yet again met a new personal privacy challenge. Should your employer have anything to say about how you live your personal life?

It’s a critical question really. Should your shitty HR Rep be able to clip a photo of you beer bonging it at some party you crashed and use it against you? Think about it carefully. Is this a yes or no question? Could the answer be, “it depends?”

In our ideal world here at Facebook watchdog, to us, the answer should be no. In the most technical sense, no.
Your personal life is yours to do with what you want to do with it, regardless if someone posted a picture or story of any event, and your employer should put lid on it.

We thought a lot about the “yes,” “maybe” and “no” before we went with “no.” Let us explore the other two avenues of thought to shed some light on why we choose no.

Yes your employer should be able to stick their needley aardvark nose into your pile of personal life, and control you at that level as well.

Why? Because you are a representative of the company’s image and you’ve gone ahead and posted, or not posted, where it is that you work on your profile thereby perhaps threatening an unintentional defamation of your “oh so moral-ful bastion of ethereal goodness, sin free and excessively loving” company. They are pure, like Jesus. Why do you want to make Jesus cry?

You, YES YOU alone could be the only reason; THE VERY FIRST STAIN of horrendous proportions of which your helpless damsel of a company, will never be able to wash from her chaste bosom. Ahhh me. Tragedy in the making.

Sarcasm? Noooo us? Never. Just remember though – whatever it is that you’re doing outside of work, you’re still doing it for your company. Please be careful how you chug your beer, eat your sandwich, listen to your favorite music, give advice to your children, put your shoes on, take your shoes off, pet your cat, walk your dog, take a nap, or wipe your ass. All of that is rightfully the intellectual property of your employer if they so choose it. Don’t forget to kiss the mandatory portrait of your CEO in your home every time you come or go, and most importantly don’t forget to stand at attention before bed and recite your lifelong dedication to the cause of Capitalism in your very own private bedroom. Sounds like a dream! Where do we sign up?!

Maybe your employer should be able to control your personal life as well as your professional one.

Why? Well OK so maybe you are being careless about whatever it is you put up online. Maybe you should tone down your slutty porn videos and the photographs of your rainbow party. Maybe it isn’t the best idea to put video of your pierced genitalia online. Maybe posting whatever the hell it is you want to post, as freely as you want to post it, is honestly having a global effect on how assholes in “decision-making suits” perceive your right to privacy. All of the above is true enough to warrant a maybe.

If you can’t control yourself then maybe you do need your employer to babysit you and that’s sad.

Why we choose no.

We certainly don’t believe your employer should have a God damned say in what the fuck it is you do with your own time. Where does that invasion of privacy end? Surely you can’t believe them if they say, “Oh it ends at Facebook or MySpace.” Once that sort of invasion begins, and is considered to be all right-a-roony, where the hell does that sort of invasion stop?

Your company is a mini North Korea. There’s no democracy inside your company. When you walk through the doors of your office you leave all that wonderful fresh air and democracy outside. Thank goodness you live in the USA and have the freedom to find solitude in your private affairs, for now.

This is just another example of corporations taking every advantage they can to overstep their boundaries. And most importantly, do you want to pay for more complex rulings and laws to define this issue in, or most likely not in, the people’s favor? Maybe not.

Ohhhh maybe, you fickle thing you. Of the billion people in the world, how many don’t live life responsibly? I’m sure you know perhaps one or two out of 100 friends right? Well do you feel like your whole life should be controlled and watched based on the mistakes of a small percentage of genetically deficient? We didn’t think so either. Maybe has no place in this debate.

So in light of the topic, “6 Ways To Tell Your Employer To Stay The Fuck Out Of Your Personal Life,” we will finish up this opine with just that:

1. Inappropriate Pictures: “Look at them or don’t. What I do with my time surely will bite me in the ass when my mother see’s them but it sure as fuck isn’t any of your professional business. In fact don’t look at them you morally inept but easily offended tight ass. ”

2. Complaining About Your Current Job: “Yea that’s right. The way you manage the company into the ground doesn’t sit right with me and I’m sure if your share holders knew how fucking irresponsible and greedy you were, they’d probably complain too. In fact you might want to check their Facebook accounts to see if they are complaining and then go eat a dick.”

3. Posting Conflicting Information on Your Resume: “Why the fuck are you checking a Facebook account against a resumé? Is this how you check all company facts? You may as well run the company based on the HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS article on Wikipedia then. Seriously WTF? Aren’t you supposed to know how to do your job without referring to inaccurate records? Try this on for size – call the fucking references on the paper resume in your stupid hand! ”

4. Statuses You Wouldn’t Want Your Boss to See: “Unless my boss is my mother, IDGAF.”

5. Not Understanding Your Security Settings: “And? I’m more concerned about my security settings so my psycho ex’s don’t find me. If my employer is actually spending their 9 to 5 clicking through my profile in hopes that I forgot to hide something, like my psychotic ex’s do, then I think the issue is more why are people at your company stalking other people on Facebook during work? And if they’re doing this at home on their own personal time, that’s even more messed up. Settings are to control stalkers. Come on Capitalism, stop being a stalker. “

6. Losing by Association: “See all the above.”

And so…
I know we’re being snarky and assy in our 1 – 6 list but ultimately it’s meant to grab attention to the point.

The point being that any professional who openly admits to holding a Facebook post or account against a job applicant, is admitting to a serious invasion of personal privacy and ought to be sued. This sort of discrimination is illegal. We create resumes, portfolios and reference lists for a reason. There are laws in place that prevent your employer, or potential employer, from asking personal questions in a conversation with the list of referred. Facebook or any other sort of personal information beyond what we’re supposed to hand in at the interview, is legally barred and shouldn’t be held against you. End of story.

Shame on Yahoo! “news” and their butt buddies over at Invest-o-rama for missing the real point and “reporting” more garbage.

Happy Facebooking!

General Fail #3: Dear Facebook I Loath Your Change

April 8, 2010

On a side note: Facebook Watchdog doesn’t necessarily care about the physical interface changes.

Except for January 2010, the last few changes were visually and functionally sound. This most recent change is not functional, limits your access to information, and at the very least looks like crap and gives you a visually induced headache. Facebook Watchdog didn’t bother to worry or complain about all the prior years of visual changes made to Facebook but in 2010, Facebook Watchdog officially takes a stance against the new interface. Facebook took their years of perfect aesthetics and functionality and threw it out with the trash. Most importantly, they removed a chunk of the user’s ability to search through and control their information. To date, the 2010 change was by far the worst thing Facebook could’ve physically done.

Fedbook: Facebook’s Interface Hates You

April 2, 2010

En route to going back all 6-years of posts on Facebook, poor Selma ran into a bold-faced lie.

There are no posts after March 09, you say?
Even though you’ve been posting since early 2005?!

Greedy Facebook sure doesn’t want to make managing your personal information simple.

Happy posting!

Fedbook: Taking Away Your Access

April 1, 2010

It’s clear where Facebook stands in respect to business ethics and their user’s rights. They couldn’t care less.

First there was Beacon in 2007 where Facebook’s user activity was openly shared with outside companies unbeknownst to the user. A lawsuit was filed and eventually Beacon was canceled in 2009.

Coincidentally in 2009, Facebook made some unannounced changes to its privacy policy on general search engine accessibility to its user’s Profiles. Once hidden Profile details, Photo albums, Groups details, and Page details had been reset to unhidden, or in other terms made live for search engines to crawl over and store in their own databases.

This means people’s private information was made available online for anyone searching for them.

i.e. Pictures from high school, parties, intimate moments, etc… were now searchable by any interested party.

“Facebook estimates that 20% to 30% of users change their privacy settings. Facebook selected the default privacy settings to reflect what they thought users want.”

(Make sure to write Facebook [ ops@facebook.com and abuse@facebook.com ] and thank them for making such a thoughtful decision to invade your privacy on behalf of only 20 or 30 percent of it’s hundred million users.)

At the top of 2010 Facebook completely changed its user interface in a spectacular overhaul of how user’s information is managed and viewed. The change was so excessive and took so many people by surprise that it was met with a great dissatisfaction from its users across the globe. At that same time Mark Zuckerberg also announced that privacy is no longer relevant. Meanwhile Facebook is staying private about its affairs.

Moral-less Capitalists argue that Facebook shouldn’t be obligated to handle user information responsibly since the service is “free” but that argument is more of a narrow-minded, self-preservationists ideal rather than the real issue. Time and personal information are both extremely valuable commodities of which users are paying with, to use the Facebook service. It isn’t “free,” users are paying.

Overall – this timeline represents a small fraction of how Facebook has misused its user’s personal information. These are just the stories that have been thoroughly proven enough to make it to the mainstream media. And while some stories make it and others do not, the common thread in the reports and the business practice of Facebook is an endeavor to limit your access to your own personal information:

  • You filled out personal details, they took it away.
  • You posted on friend’s walls and want to look it over two-weeks later, they’ve kept that information unsearchable.
  • You once had search fields to traverse the events, groups and pages, listings – those search tools have been revoked as well.
  • Facebook once started out as a simple and functional way to keep track of co-workers, friends, classmates, and family. It is no longer simple and accessible, and therefore is no longer a tool of functionality. In the past five-years Facebook has intentionally morphed into a frustratingly inaccessible human data farm unless of course, you are a corporation in need of profit generating statistics.

    Happy sharing!

    Applications Fail: Who the F*** is PEEPING You!?!?

    March 30, 2010

    Today I think is a good day to get back to submissions. From time to time I’ll post consumer rights related stories and such, but the main point of the Facebook Watchdog group is to publish people’s direct frustrations with Facebook. Preferably frustrations related to their personal information being mismanaged. Frustrations like Sally Facebookuser’s down below:

    My friend was able to post something from this “Who is peeping at my profile?” app to my wall that already has 366 comments and 163 “likes” from people I don’t even know. First I haven’t looked at that person’s profile in a very long time so the “Rank #2” is fake and second this shitty app shouldn’t have access to my wall without at least asking, if it can post to my wall first. This is a violation of profile etiquette and personal privacy and I’m expecting Facebook to tell the developers of “Who is peeping at my profile?” that. I know Facebook wont but it would be nice if they regulated their abusive apps from time to time.

    Sally has a point. There are tons of abusive applications that people report on which never get regulated through Facebook. Take Farmville for instance. Zynga runs a very aggressively abusive application on Facebook and they’re still there. Users sometimes aren’t even given the option to complain to Facebook about it, or Facebook makes complaining about the application very difficult to report on. Never-the-less, TODAY we have to give Facebook some credit because I just did an app search for this “Who is peeping at my Profile?” application, and it seems to be gone from their database. They did respond to users complaints on this bad application.

    Now if only someone would start a Zynga Watchdog group.