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Facebook – Your Profile for Sale

Not too long ago Facebook changed it’s privacy policy yet again, implementing an new feature that was designed to automatically share your profile information with third-party websites like Pandora. This, along with the fact that this is sharing is turned on by default for every user, has once again put Facebook under the gun from critics.

A recent New York Times report states that there nearly 50 settings and 170 different options that you have to manage in order to properly control who gets to see your information. At 5830 words, the 2010 privacy statement is longer than the US Constitution (not including amendments), and the more in depth Privacy FAQ that Facebook offers tops in at over 45,000 words. In comparison the Privacy policy for Twitter is only 1203 words.

This hash of cryptic privacy settings and options that would almost take a Harvard law professor to understand, has prompted a growing chorus of sites offering “how to…” guides and videos for controlling your privacy settings or even how to quit Facebook all together, like this video from the Huffington Post.

Add on top of all this, the apparent disdain that Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg showed toward Facebook’s users shortly have he launched the site, and you have to wonder if having a Facebook account is actually worth it.

Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don't know why.
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb fucks.

And while Facebook tries to downplay the crisis like meeting it recently held, several high profile Tech bloggers have even deleted their Facebook accounts. Leo Laporte for example deleted his facebook account during a live Podcast. Peter Rojas, co-founder of the gadget site gdgt.com, also deleted his account, telling ABC News he quit because he
was spending more time managing my account than actually using my account.
Now, I do have my own Facebook account, but I’m beginning to have second thoughts about it. The downside of course, is that Facebook, along with Google, has literally invaded every nook and cranny of the web. Hell, even the Disqius comment system that I use on my blog allows you to log in using your Facebook account. And outside of Facebook and Google there seem to be few alternatives, even though some, like Diaspora, are starting to open up.