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Facebook: the case against

UPDATE: this article is freaking brilliant:

no longer "news"... or is it?  you know, the whole thing about Edward Snowden and the PRISM project:

see the bottom of this page for more about PRISM and Snowden.


watch this short video: and the REAL meat of it doesn't kick in until at least halfway through, so if it seems boring/self-evident, give it a chance.

important! after being online since 2007, the albumoftheday website has finally been taken down.  would love to know why ;-)  luckily it  was mirrored by some kind soul.


UPDATE (Feb 2015): DAMN, this one has been taken down too!  I think Zuckerfuck and his cohorts are cleaning up any remaining copies ;-)  Either that or NOBODY CARES!  I will see if I can find another backup of it.  I should have mirrored it myself, and I will do that once I find it again.


The information from the video appears in text form in these articles, to various levels of detail (but the story is essentially the same):
(interesting note: two years ago, I had six links in this list, four of them are now bad links, entire domain names are missing now, in some cases... did they just decide to fade away? or were they somehow forced out of service? ;-) Yes, articles sometimes get moved around within sites, but if their search engines are working, I should have been able to find the new location.  It seems that the story was entirely removed, not just relocated.  Ask me for the links if you want to do some detective work.  I have also backed up the New Zealand Herald article, just in case it gets taken offline:

In particular, the brainsturbator story gives a very unique and critical perspective on the known facts and the conclusions that some have drawn... and in spite of its skepticism, still leaves me with a distinct sense of unease.

(another link I found recently that relates to this story: also see and be aware that it's a forum post on a conspiracy theory website by an unknown contributor, not a "legitimate" news reporter, so check all the facts given as best you can!)

Overall, I think the issue of who may have funded the project in the first place is the scariest issue of all.  You know what I am talking about.  If not, watch a second time, particularly the second part.
well actually, this is kinda scary too: honestly i think that a lot of people are in denial and don't WANT to know... or pretend that they don't care once they hear it. or they really actually DON'T care, because Facebook is suddenly so important to them, or they think they are somehow safe because "well, i never fill in any personal information". so what if you don't? if the people linked to you are stupid enough to admit their political affiliations, it could cause you grief somewhere down the road (what if America swings far to the right in the next election?  or like this: )... and even if you never join, you are in the same boat as me: Facebook knows exactly which people have me in THEIR address books, and if they ever say something stupid in their profile, they are still linked to me, whether i want this known or not. the whole thing sucks. I admit that all social networking sites carry similar risks, but the ties that Facebook has to some very scary places, and the fact that some people are now using it for ALL their electronic communication, well... that takes it to a whole new level.
also scary: the people who say "anyone (or at least a determined and computer-literate government agent) can find out anything about you by searching the internet already, even without Facebook, so what's the difference? privacy is dead, just deal with it." - the difference is that all other info about you is scattered over many different websites, in private emails, postings to obscure forums, etc. However, if people use Facebook as their number one communication tool, and a substitute for email, blogging, a personal web page, and everything else... then the info about you is ALL IN ONE PLACE in a single database, and that takes it to a whole new level, totally unprecedented in human history.  Maybe not every user has access to all of this (though the level of snooping that can be done on FB even by a determined private citizen is pretty scary in itself) but remember, THEY have access to everything you have ever written on FB.  and will have that access forever.  Do you think they purge that stuff?  Hell no!  (see if you don't believe me). That's what "data mining" is all about, being able to go through extremely large databases and draw conclusions from it.  Trust me on this.  I'm not a luddite, I'm a web database developer and I know fully well what they are capable of doing.  EVERYTHING you write or do on Failbook is sitting in a privately-owned database, forever.

Oh, and of course that data is being sold to advertisers willy-nilly!  I hope that isn't news to you.  If it is, or if you don't believe me... please read this: and this:
How about that facial recognition technology?  Has it occured to you that maybe every time you tag someone in a photo (or confirm or deny a facially-recognized suggestion for a tag)  you are helping out the government?  Please don't tell me "oh this totally respects your Facebook privacy settings, and you can only tag friends, and so on".  I am not worried about random strangers having tools to recognize you in their photos.  I am worried about Facebook's funders having the largest facial-recognition database of the citizens of the First World that has EVER existed, by far.  Do you think the "privacy settings" matter to them?  Please read THESE before you tag any more photos of your "friends":

People talk about how "Facebook can save the world by giving people a chance to start social revolution online" and I say BULLSHIT, we didn't need Failbook to do that!   All we needed was already there... plain text email and simple forums were breeding social change long before Failbook came along.  People change when they want to change, and having the tools available isn't enough to provoke that... statistically, most people use Failbook for pointless blather and gossip.  Besides, if you were doing something bordering on civil disobedience and possibly illegal by the rules of your country... would you talk about it openly on Failbook, and risk being investigated by your own government?  if anything, have a trusted friend set up a webserver (which ain't that hard to do) and a website with simple members-only forums in Drupal, phpBB or something similar... and now you can communicate WITHOUT The Man listening in! 

(ASIDE: if you are concerned about the lack of privacy even with plain-text email, I hear you, that's a separate issue in itself.  But here's a possible solution to your woes, I've used this myself and it's pretty slick: )  

Also... if you want to pat yourself on the back and say that your socially conscious Failbook activity and all the activists in your friends list are proof that you are making a difference... here's a reality check: here's a quote:

When you log in on Facebook as an activist, it might feel like you're part of a mass movement. Social justice issues are front and center — as if that were the main thing people used Facebook for. That's how web personalization works on Facebook. When you click on a lot of posts about gay marriage, you will start seeing more similar posts. When you check out certain people's profiles, they'll show up more often in your newsfeed. If these folks think a lot like you do, you'll see a lot of stuff that reinforces your worldview.

and that's just the downside of the activism that Failbook DOES permit.  what if Failbook decides they don't like your cause?

I say it again... just say no to Failbook!
peace and love,



here's a quote from the above:

Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world. Some of these so-called whitehat infosec firms are working for authoritarian governments, such as those of Egypt and Syria. 
Everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook regardless of your "privacy" settings, and deleting your account is impossible, even if you "delete" your account, all your personal info stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time. Changing the privacy settings to make your Facebook account more "private" is also a delusion. Facebook knows more about you than your family





ps: believe it or not, here's a true story from my friend Jen... doesn't this make you wonder a bit?
"I decided that I would conduct a little experiment and changed my status tag line to read, "Jen is wondering if anyone else is worried about Facebook's Privacy Policy?"
Within 10 minutes my profile was mysteriously "unavailable" I logged on as my partner, as I check his account from time to time at his request because he has no internet at his house, and found that my account was also "unavailable" to him. For a day or so, I could not retrieve my account and then it was suddenly back from the hole it fell into and nothing appeared to be altered...
Very odd...."
pps: here's another thing.  People sometimes say to me "why don't you get a "fake account" so that you can at least join groups and read event postings?"  Well, a few years ago i was dating someone who was always on the road, and for some reason her cellphone could do Flailbook but not regular email.  she insisted that I get an account so that we could communicate that way.  After much reluctance, I did.   
Well, after not using that account for a few months (ie: after our breakup) I tried to log back in and got a message saying something like "We have determined that you are not who you said you were, and your account has been terminated".  the ONLY info I gave was a fake name (a very common one, not "John Smith" but something similar), a fake age, and said that I lived in Toronto... and I signed up for this account with a fake hotmail address (last time i checked, hotmail was the only main webmail provider that didn't require you to give a real address as a backup, and therefore the only one where you could create an account with totally fake and untraceable information.  and yes, I made sure that the little info I did give to hotmail was the same as what I gave to Flailbook)
So what happened?  Did they cross-reference my account against all John Smiths in the phone book for Toronto, and determined that every John Smith already living there had a valid and in-use Flailbook account, and therefore I must be an imposter?  I'd be very curious to know how they figured it out.  More importantly, the fact that that they even BOTHERED TO CHECK is the scariest part!  They don't WANT "anonymous users", they want to know who you REALLY ARE.  To what end?  You figure it out.

UPDATE: the above story is a few years old, and of course many of you know that since about mid-2014, Facebook has been doing everything they can to crack down on people whose account is not their "real" name.  Why?  Because they don't like the idea of an old-school "on-line handle" like we used to have on forums and BBS in the old days, where there was some separation/privacy between your online self and your REAL self.  Facebook wants to know WHO YOU ARE.  So that they can sell your information to adverstisers, and/or provide it for free to the NSA.  It's really that simple.

ppps: after all this doom and gloom, here's some humour.  Only it wouldn't be funny if it were TRUE, would it?  hmm....,19753/


following text is from from an Avaaz petition in July 2013, regarding Edward Snowden:

Hi all,

This 29 year-old analyst just gave up his whole life -- his girlfriend, his job, and his home -- to blow the whistle on the US government's shocking PRISM program -- which has been reading and recording our emails, Skype messages, Facebook posts and phone calls for years.

When Bradley Manning passed this kind of data to Wikileaks, the US threw him naked into solitary confinement in conditions that the UN called "cruel, inhumane and degrading".

The authorities and press are deciding right now how to handle this scandal. If millions of us stand with Edward in the next 48 hours, it will send a powerful statement that he should be treated like the brave whistleblower that he is, and it should be PRISM, and not Edward, that the US cracks down on:

PRISM is profoundly disturbing: it gives the US government unlimited access to all of our personal email and social media accounts on Google, Youtube, Facebook, Skype, Hotmail, Yahoo! and much more. They're recording billions of our messages every month and the CIA can now or in the future use the information to prosecute, persecute, or blackmail us, our friends or our families!

Edward was horrified by this unprecedented violation of individual privacy. So he copied large amounts of files, sent them to the Guardian newspaper for publication and escaped to Hong Kong. His bravery not only exposed PRISM, but has started a domino effect around the world, shining a light on secret spy programs in Canada, the UK and Australia in just days! Now he's trapped in Hong Kong, waiting to be arrested. A global outcry could save him from extradition to the US, and encourage other countries to grant him asylum.

We can't let the US do to Edward what they did to Bradley Manning. Let's urgently stand with him, and against PRISM:

Sometimes the things our governments do are simply breathtaking. When heroic individuals like Edward have risked their own freedoms to bring scandals of this scale into light, the Avaaz community has come together to demand fair treatment -- and won. When half a million of us joined with other organizations and activists calling on the US government to stop its cruel treatment of Bradley Manning, he was relocated to a medium-security prison and taken out of solitary confinement. If we act quickly, we might do better for Edward, and help him win the fight he's bravely taken on, for all our sakes.

With hope and determination,

Ricken, Emma, Oli, Mia, Allison, Ari, Dalia, Laura and the whole Avaaz team


Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations (The Guardian)

Edward Snowden Contact Glenn Greenwald Should Be 'Disappeared', Security Officials 'Overheard Saying' (Huffington Post)

NSA PRISM program taps in to user data of Apple, Google and others (The Guardian)

Prism scandal: Government program secretly probes Internet servers (Chicago Tribune),0,301166.story

PRISM by the Numbers: A Guide to the Government?s Secret Internet Data-Mining Program (TIME)

Anger swells after NSA phone records court order revelations (The Guardian)

Data-collection program got green light from MacKay in 2011 (Globe and Mail)

Greens unveil plan to require warrant to access phone and internet records (The Guardian)