Auto-Pilot Program. :-(

Account -> Privacy Settings -> Applications and Websites -> Instant Personalization Pilot Program: Edit Setting. Uncheck the box.

Facebook didn’t ask our permission before signing its users up for this. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

For the moment, we’ll just have to have faith that Pandora.com, Yelp.com, and Microsoft’s Docs.com are going to play nice with the information about us that they now have. What if (yeah, right, “if”) Facebook decides that one of its future “trusted partners” will be someone that we really shouldn’t trust?

I’m not surprised that this happened, but I am disappointed. Even though Facebook seems to loosen their privacy policies at every Hallmark holiday, I had hoped that they wouldn’t go this route.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published a helpful little chronology of Facebook’s changing privacy practices. Remember, on the Internet, “we will not” means “we will wait until you’re not looking.”

I think it’s time to seek a new alternative to Facebook – some company that doesn’t want to infiltrate the entire Internet.  LinkedIn is a possibility, but they’re trying to focus on being a professional networking tool, not a social one. Google has Buzz, but in some ways Google’s already further down the path to joining the Illuminati than Facebook is. Twitter is great for what it does, but even with the added benefit of sites like TwitPic, Twuffer, and URL shortening services, it can only do so much.

So, here’s the topic: replacement site for Facebook. Go.

EDIT 9:33a.m. – even if you opt out of Facebook’s “Instant Personalization Pilot Program,” if so much as one of the people on your friends list doesn’t opt out of it, all Facebook’s “trusted partners” have access to your information. Just so you know.

Oh, and yeah, it’s just your “publicly available information,” not all of it. Except that Facebook keeps changing which parts of your information are considered “publicly available.”

Oh, and apparently unchecking that box I mentioned isn’t enough – you have to actually block the application. And you have to actually go to the Yelp, Pandora, and Microsoft websites to do it! [EDIT 10:04am: Sorry, that was incorrect – you have to go to the application pages on Facebook.]  Naturally, Facebook doesn’t make that fact obvious. Thankfully, the EFF have posted a helpful video that explains what you can do. Here’s the companion post for people who would rather read.


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