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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RE: Zuckered again
By Schrag4 on 1/16/2012 10:39:41 AM , Rating: 2
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?

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.

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