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Print 18 comment(s) - last by Schrag4.. on Jan 17 at 11:28 AM

Will also analyze demographic data in run-up to South Carolina primary

Last week, Facebook and Politico announced a partnership that would gather Facebook user posts deemed "political" by an algorithm for further study by Politico.

Politico is an Arlington, Va.-based newspaper and media outlet that hopes to use Facebook's wealth of user data to measure opinions of Republican presidential hopefuls.

"Politico has joined forces with Facebook to offer readers an exclusive look at the conversation taking place on the social networking site about the Republican presidential candidates ahead of South Carolina’s crucial primary on Jan. 21," the website analyzing the first round of data reads.

The move puts a spotlight on privacy, a subject to which Facebook is no stranger [1] [2] , amid concerns that the data is culled from users' private posts. Both companies claim the data remains private, and that no employee of either company will read posts. Rather, user data is processed through a "sentiment analysis tool." Every post mentioning a presidential candidate will be subject to the tool and compiled to illustrate broader national sentiment.

Politico will also have access to demographic information, including age and location.

"Facebook has been instrumental in expanding the political dialogue among voters and we couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to offer our readers a look inside this very telling conversation," Politico editor John F. Harris tells Mashable.

The techniques in the venture have been compared to Google's reports on search trends based on aggregate activity.

Sources: All Things D, Forbes



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Zuckered again
By JimboK29 on 1/16/2012 7:58:52 AM , Rating: 3
When will people finally get it that Facebook is evil? I laugh at those who signed up years ago thinking it was a way to connect with friends. Suckers. Have fun with that!




RE: Zuckered again
By jeepga on 1/16/2012 8:22:54 AM , Rating: 3
Facebook is a service for connecting with friends. Who's at fault here -- Facebook or the people that really think a service can be free? Facebook makes money on advertising and selling anonymous data for analysis.

I have a special email address for Facebook and I haven't received spam and I'm connected through my cell phone and I haven't received unsolicited calls or text messages. That leads me to believe that they are sincere about how they use data.

I keep all of my information private among friends on Facebook though. How they use data could be completely different if you have a public profile. But, if that's the case then how could possibly expect any privacy.


RE: Zuckered again
By JimboK29 on 1/16/2012 8:49:53 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Facebook is a service for connecting with friends


That is exactly what they want you to think. Do some of your own research on what they are doing, you might be surprised.


RE: Zuckered again
By JasonMick (blog) on 1/16/2012 10:16:13 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
That is exactly what they want you to think. Do some of your own research on what they are doing, you might be surprised.

I just think it's funny the differential "precious child" status Facebook is given due to the fact that people love its service.

The majority of American adults are on Facebook. More Americans use Facebook than Google. Aside from Microsoft there is no equivalent in terms of ubiquity in the American business world.

Now can you imagine the shitstorm that would occur if Microsoft announced it was going to be "anonymously" collecting data from your Windows computer to analyze what you might be voting?

I'm typically against government regulation of business on any grounds, but I think as a free thinker you can not be constrained by your preferred business model. I think that any service that's used by virtually all members of given nation (say the U.S. highway system) needs to be reasonably regulated to protect privacy and safety.

My hope is that states carry out this regulation, both as federal regulation schemes tend to bloat the cost to the taxpayer and because the Constitution says these kinds of responsibilities should be reserved for the states... I also hope that such regulation is formulated by invididuals with reasonable technical expertise (or by the retention of such experts) so as not to make poorly informed decisions that make the problem worse...


RE: Zuckered again
By BZDTemp on 1/16/2012 9:11:18 AM , Rating: 2
In the same way the product by a newspaper is news :-)

In both cases the product is not what you think because that's merely means to an end. What newspapers really care about is selling advertising and likewise with Facebook it's all about advertising and therefore the product they produce is people seeing the adds.

That you haven't received any spam or the like tells nothing about what the situation is for other users.


RE: Zuckered again
By foolsgambit11 on 1/16/2012 5:54:53 PM , Rating: 2
You're torturing the English language here. Say I go buy a bad of nails. It's not like that bag of nails isn't what I think it is just because the company only made the nails as a means to an end. And their product is still nails.

You can draw attention to how they make their money offering a free product all you want, but you don't have to ignore what words mean to do that.


RE: Zuckered again
By KrayLoN on 1/16/2012 9:58:21 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Facebook is a service for connecting with friends. Who's at fault here -- Facebook or the people that really think a service can be free?


Just because people use a service that is free, does not mean it gives those in charge of the service the right to take advantage of those using the service.

Would it be okay for a homeless shelter to put tethers on the homeless people that come in to use their service because they are offering it for free? Would it be okay for the shelter to administer drug tests simply to collect data on the people coming in for a free meal? Would it be okay for that shelter to administer experimental drugs on the people using their service simply because the individuals are using their service for free?

I think the answer to the questions are obvious so why should it be any different for facebook?

Facebook entices the general population with a service to allow them to keep in touch with their friends and families and then uses that service to exploit their privacy. I don't care how you spin it...what they are doing is wrong!

It is one thing to keep track of an individual's favorite color and it is another to keep track of their political views or who their friends are, or where they send their kids to school, or keep track of where they are located when they make blog about who they may vote for.

True, if you don't like it, stop using it right?

That is why I don't


RE: Zuckered again
By Schrag4 on 1/16/2012 10:39:41 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Would it be okay for a homeless shelter to put tethers on the homeless people that come in to use their service because they are offering it for free? Would it be okay for the shelter to administer drug tests simply to collect data on the people coming in for a free meal? Would it be okay for that shelter to administer experimental drugs on the people using their service simply because the individuals are using their service for free?

I think the answer to the questions are obvious so why should it be any different for facebook?


The answer to these questions IS obvious, but it's the opposite of what you think. If the shelter made it clear up-front that the drug tests and experimental drugs were part of deal and if the people signed a contract saying they're ok with it, then how is that not okay?

Look, I'm the last to defend FB, I don't even use it - I despise it! But it's not their fault that people are willing to give up their privacy just so that they can keep in touch with people without putting any effort into keeping track of phone numbers or email addresses.


RE: Zuckered again
By KrayLoN on 1/16/2012 4:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
So as long as everyone get's handed a disclosure... and everyone involved agrees to it, then it is okay. This is where the problem is. Everything today, good or bad is okay as long as someone agrees to a 100page disclosure written in 5pt font by someone with a law degree and law vocabulary...written to be read by those who do not have either.

So I can sell your kids candy that has rat poison in it and I am not responsible for any harm done to your kids as long as I get you to sign a disclosure.

Where is the moral responsibility Here?

My point is that the services being offered by FB is one that is so enticing that there should be a moral obligation on the part of the people providing that service as not take advantage of the people using it. I am not saying FB shouldn't make money advertising directly or indirectly. I am saying draw a line. If you want to advertise, go ahead. However data mining personal information for other people to use...there has to be a line for that.

What is


RE: Zuckered again
By Schrag4 on 1/17/2012 1:04:47 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, as long as there's disclosure, obviously it's okay. I think your point is that it's difficult for people to read the entire user agreement, is that it?

quote:
So I can sell your kids candy that has rat poison in it and I am not responsible for any harm done to your kids as long as I get you to sign a disclosure.


That's a pretty bad analogy. Having your posts analyzed by software isn't in the same universe as tricking parents into feeding their children rat poison.

I'll stand by my position that most everyone that uses FB knows they're giving up their privacy. Just like drug addicts know they're ruining their lives. To them it's totally worth it to get their fix.


RE: Zuckered again
By KrayLoN on 1/17/2012 9:55:33 AM , Rating: 2
yes it was a terrible analogy. I kinda wanted to pick the something extreme. Yes it is not quite on the same level as software scanning posts on FB, however the point i was trying to make is that companies shoudn't be given the freedom to do whatever they want as long as they provide a disclosure. Your analogy about the drugs was spot on. I guess this is a two part problem. The serviced and the servicers are equally responsible. It is however easier to regulate the servicer than the serviced for the protection of the serviced. My fear is that all this data being collected is going to get into the wrong hands for the wrong purpose and by then it will be too late.


RE: Zuckered again
By Schrag4 on 1/17/2012 11:28:02 AM , Rating: 2
I share your concern. It seems like your main point is that FB shouldn't be allowed to sell the data, but I'm not sure that should be your biggest concern. I'd be more concerned about hackers obtaining the data, and EVEN MORE concerned about our own government getting free-for-all access as well.

I still stand by my position that you can tell FB users about the dangers, perceived and/or real, about sharing such personal information, whether it might be sold, stolen, or given away, and they STILL won't care. They don't think their personal posts will come back to haunt them in their future career(s). They don't think criminals can use the info to attack them, electronically or physically. And they think they have nothing to hide from our government so they don't care about Big Brother. I'll go ahead and put my tin foil hat on now as I suggest that while it may be true that what they're posting doesn't incriminate them yet, someday our government might change their minds about what types of posts warrant a closer look at the people who post them.


RE: Zuckered again
By wordsworm on 1/16/2012 8:26:19 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, go figure. People, who are social animals, like to use one of the world's greatest social aggregating web tools to socialize.

I'm not really sure why you think it's evil that FB is analyzing data on its network. It's not like we, the users, pay for it. I don't say anything on Facebook that I'm afraid will come back to haunt me. It is a public space. I treat it like that.

You might as well say that the Internet is evil. Because, there are people who use the Internet to analyze information as well. So, why don't you get off the Internet? And telephones, too. Apparently there is software and hardware out there that 'listens' to telephone conversations in an effort to find 'terrorists'.

FB isn't perfect, but I don't have a problem with them analyzing my political statements in an autonomous way.


RE: Zuckered again
By JimboK29 on 1/16/2012 8:53:01 AM , Rating: 2
If the government did anything remotely equivalent to the privacy of people there would be outrage and you know it. But it is OK being Facebook because users are stuck on it. You are the last to find out you've been duped.


RE: Zuckered again
By mackx on 1/16/2012 9:21:21 AM , Rating: 2
i don't think anyone would complain if the Gov ran a social networking website that was completely optional. why would they?

you choose to join, or you choose not to.


"sentiment analysis tool?"
By The Raven on 1/16/2012 10:15:17 AM , Rating: 2
How would it analyze the following excerpts?
quote:
Mitt Romney has the right tools...
quote:
Mitt Romney is a tool...

Or how about...
quote:
Mitt Romney is bad
quote:
Mitt Romney is bad[as in '-ass' 'Michael Jackson' or 'to the bone']!

I'm not sure about how it will interpret those but I do know one interpretation...
quote:
Mitt Romney for president! = 4 more years of Obama and an ever growing gov't!
And no, I am not attacking the man. These are just example hypotheticals ;-)




Facebook Team collects Data.
By Hollif50 on 1/16/2012 10:31:43 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it's oh,so innocent now. What about 10-15 years down the road; when they start making the lists of Republican...or...Democrat....or....Independent for "Special" consideration and processing?




Facebook....
By croc on 1/16/2012 7:30:47 PM , Rating: 1
Mark Zuckerberg is famously quoted early on as follows:

"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."

I heard the message, ZuckFace...




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