January 17, 2012

Facebook gives Politico access to Facebook's private status messages and comments.

But you're not supposed to mind because the process is automated.
[E]very 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 that spits out anonymized measures of the general U.S. Facebook population.

44 comments:

MadisonMan said...

Well, time to put a candidate's name in every message and status update, I guess.

Scott M said...

@MM - capital idea.

The whole thing kinda smells a tad, doesn't it?

Pogo said...

Of course, Politico will be completely open source about the data, right?

With Democrats, leastways.

Pogo said...

This makes me trust Facebook and Politico so much more.

Curious George said...

"Barack Obama sucks balls"

Lather rinse repeat

Matthew said...

MadisonMan -- I was thinking the same Santorum thing.

MadisonMan said...

Maybe I'll start a facebook group.

Mark O said...

What color are the shirts?

Matthew said...

Looks like they already got their pretty chart.

Old RPM Daddy said...

Another danged Facebook thing I've got to opt out of, on the off-off-off chance I say anything remotely political on Facebook.

WV = eatenti, which I would, if I knew what an enti was...

Maddad said...

Who else are they giving access to? Are they telling Frito-Lay you mentioned Doritos? Pepsi you mentioned Coke? The TSA you mentioned airport security?

I would bet the answer is "yes".

I'm not even paranoid, I just don't trust Facebook (or Google, but it was too late)

Kirk Parker said...

I sure don't think this is a good idea (and surely FB will get a lot of egg on its face over this)...

but...

Althouse you got snookered by the original report's very badly-worded statement. Politico is not being given access to anyones' status messages and comments. Rather, they're being given aggregate statistics about the frequency of mention of certain names that are presumed to be political.

And I love the idea, similar to goggle-bombing, of putting out a bunch of gratuitous comments and status updates just to mess this up. This runs in the grand old tradition of fooling around with phone pollsters; let's have at it, brothers and sisters!

MadisonMan said...

Are they telling Frito-Lay you mentioned Doritos? Pepsi you mentioned Coke? The TSA you mentioned airport security?

Oh, you can indeed alter the ads that pop up by mentioning, say, Coffee in your status. Up pops a Starbuck$ ad.

Joe said...

There are no private status messages on Facebook. That's the entire fucking point. Anyone who doesn't realize this is a moron.

John said...

I have never understood Facebook mania.

Why in the Hell would anyone think this belonging to Facebook is a good idea?

Why is anyone surprised that this is happening?

I heard about a woman the other night who lost her job because Facebook released info that she thought was private. Apparently the settings are so complex and ever shifting that it is almost impossible to know what is public and what is private.

I've had an online presence since 1989. My name, address, phone and other info has been available to anyone who wants it since then. I have written prodigiously in numerous e-mail lists and blogs on a wide variety of subjects.

I have always believed that I should never post anything, no matter how privately, that I could not live with having on the front page of the Washington Post.

I have always been very public online and have never had a problem.

But Facebook scares the bejeezus out of me.

John Henry

Chip Ahoy said...

On Facebook I mentioned douchebags and you wouldn't believe the ads that popped up. <-- contains lies.

Angela said...

Read this somewhere: If you're not paying for a service, then you're the product.

edutcher said...

And Politico being in the tank for GodZero has nothing to do with this.

Another reason why The Blonde refuses to "friend" any of her old buddies from work.

carrie said...

I hope they give the same access to a conservative source so that we can if the analysis comes out the same.

tmitsss said...

Angela,

A cartoon inspired by that though is here
http://seapegasus.org/?p=290

David Eaton said...

Facebook users are not Facebook's customers. Facebook users, and the data they generate, are Facebook's product.

I like being able to keep up with people that I know, esp family far flung across the US. But this is not a private place we all meet. It is a zoo we meet in, with drooling marketers looking in at us. Draw your lines accordingly.

gloogle said...

My duaghter (a Junior in high school) just de-activated her Facebook account. She realized it was taking up way too much of her time, and that too many of her friends were obsessed with updating their "status", etc. Guess she's growing up...

Rliyen said...

Reason #857 why not to have a Facebook. Too much BS like this to deal with.

I like being a FB Luddite, thankyouverymuch.

halojones-fan said...

A: I'm on Facebook because that's how I stay in touch with my friends and family who aren't living right next to me. I had the temerity to move out of the hive-cell I pupated in, which means that I can't just open my window and yell "HEY MA! WHO'S LUANN SLEEPIN' WITH TODAY?"

B: Facebook knows exactly as much as you tell it, and it believes everything you tell it. As far as Facebook knows I'm a ninety-two-year-old woman with three PhD's who lifes in Nome, Alaska and engages in walrus-riding on her days off.

C: Way too many people like the glibness of "if you're not paying for the service, then you're the product". It's fun to quote; hip, shocking, cynical, and--like most glib things--the people saying it have no goddamn clue what it actually means. To trash Facebook is to advertise it.

PatCA said...

I got off of Facebook because of these issues. It's like reading blogs of people who have nothing interesting to say! Or nothing at all to say. Waste of time and not worth the exposure to whoever. Why not continue to go to your favorite blogs like Althouse instead?

Oh, and nothing at all to worry about re data mining.

Erik Robert Nelson said...

I stay on Facebook to keep in touch with people, but I no longer post on it (or, at least, rarely), and don't say anything I care to keep private. That means no more uploading of photos, etc. I was never very impressed with it to begin with.

I've imposed a strict no-politics rule regarding Facebook, so they won't have an information from me in that regard.

Alex said...

Good thing I don't discuss politics on Facebook. What a disgusting company.

Mary Beth said...

I thought it would be fun to get people to post about a different GOP candidate each weekday - Gingrich on Monday, Paul on Tuesday, Perry on Wednesday, Romney on Thursday and Santorum on Friday (keep it alphabetical so it's easy to remember.) Also, you can set a post for "me only". I'm hoping that they track that too because that way I can make as many posts as I have time for without annoying my friends.

For serious posts I'm writing the names in Pig Latin.

Mid-Life Lawyer said...

Comrade Obama, Saul Alinsky, Lenin, Karl Marx, Barrack Obama, The Soviet Union.......

Vin St. John said...

I would re-read that article if I were you. Facebook isn't giving Politico access to ANY private posts, not according to that article at least.

*Facebook* is processing those posts to determine anonymous, aggregate quantities of opinions about political candidates (i.e. "67 pro-Ron Paul in the 18-24 age bracket) and then handing it off to Politico to "analyze" - a.k.a. turn the data set into readable articles.

Facebook crunches numbers like this all the time, and it doesn't put your data any more at risk than posting it to FB in the first place. This isn't a new step against user privacy or even a step against user privacy at all, again, insofar as the stated facts in the article.

Mary Beth said...

John @ 9:33, the privacy settings are not complex. You can set your status updates to be public, friends only, only me, or a custom group. Other people's status posts show the privacy level for their post. If you comment on someone else's public post your comment will be public regardless of the privacy setting you have chosen. Google + is the same way.

I agree that it's a good idea not to put anything online that you wouldn't want the world to see.

Alex said...

Facebook crunches numbers like this all the time, and it doesn't put your data any more at risk than posting it to FB in the first place.

Wrong. My private data is private and should not even be fodder for analytics. But then again I know Google is data mining my emails to tailor ads so there it goes.

netmarcos said...

As has been mentioned before, if you are not paying for it, you are not the customer - you are the product.

WV: confi: Why are you confident that your private data will be protected online by those who profit from selling your data?

Revenant said...

I wonder why possessed Facebook to agree to such a thing?

chuck b. said...

"I thought it would be fun to get people to post about a different GOP candidate each weekday..."

So your plan is to draw attention to yourself as an outlier? :)

Mary Beth said...

My plan, if I weren't too lazy to try to organize it and could get enough people to participate, would be to make Politico wonder what was making each candidate have a spike each day.

raf said...

I wonder why possessed Facebook to agree to such a thing?

I imagine they get paid. Selling data is one of their businesses.

Nate Whilk said...

Curious George said
"Barack Obama sucks balls"

Lather rinse repeat


If you want to screw up their statistics, you should really be saying the opposite of your actual opinion.

MadisonMan said...

My plan, if I weren't too lazy to try to organize it and could get enough people to participate, would be to make Politico wonder what was making each candidate have a spike each day.

It seems to me that a candidate could figure out how to rig things in his or her favor. Trending is important.

Scott M said...

My plan, if I weren't too lazy to try to organize it and could get enough people to participate, would be to make Politico wonder what was making each candidate have a spike each day.

Wasn't that Gary Hart's problem, and later, Clinton's?

lol WV - "colytis" bestiality with a particular breed of dog.

R. Chatt said...

Charlie Rose interviews Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, COO -- a very interesting interview (Nov., 2011). Their vision of the future of facebook.

R. Chatt said...

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11987

"Facebook, making the world more open and connected"

Ready or not, here we come.

"... every single service you use is going to be better with your friends, because you can tap into your friends..."

John said...

Alex mentioned that Google is datamining his mail.

yup.

And that is why I do not use gmail. I use good old regular email. I pay Web.com to host it for me. That way I am their customer, not their product.

And, to the one who asked, yes, I do know what I am talking about. Google, Facebook, you, me, everyone fiddles for the one who pays the piper.

I pay Web.com. I expect certain things from them and since 1996 have not been disappointed. They provide the service I pay for and do what I tell them.

Somebody else pays Facebook, Google et al. They are the customers. They are the ones Google et al has to please. Not you. All they have to do is deliver you.

For the one who wanted to stay in touch and thought Facebook was the only way: What about mail lists?

I've been using them since 1997 or so. I have probably set up 50 or so. Sometimes temporary such as for a class or a writing project. Others are open ended such as my NIOT list which now has 60,000+ notes in it.

What can you do on Facebook that can't be done with lists? And with more control over your data and info.

If you use Facebook, or Gmail etc you deserve whatever happens. You are not their customer. They don't have to please you. As long as you stay, they couldn't care less whether you are happy or not.

John Henry

wyo sis said...

I mention candidates I don't like far more than the ones I do. Just a service I provide.
So will that enhance the status of the ones I don't like just because of a mention?
This is high quality BS, but it's still BS.