And even if you do take a principled stand and quit Facebook, American Public Media’s John Moe shows how the site makes that difficult. Also (emphasis mine):

Or you can go through a few more steps and actually delete your account once and for all. You’ll never see that data again. But Facebook will. They still have that information and will continue to use it for data mining.

Lastly, if you’re at all interested in this issue, you’ve got to follow Ryan Tate’s excellent coverage of Facebook. Make sure you read this one even if you think you’re not interested.

ALSO: Make sure you read John Gapper in the Financial Times this morning on Facebook’s “open disdain for privacy.” This is important—one of the best pieces I’ve read on the issue yet (emphasis mine):

What is indisputable is that consumers need to be given a clear, comprehensible choice about how their personal information is used, so they can decide.

By this standard, Facebook is failing dismally. It is arguably complying with the law (although several privacy groups have argued to the Federal Trade Commission that it is not) since no private data are being provided to advertisers, but it is being far from transparent.

Apart from the difficulty of keeping information private and the barriers to doing so, it is breaching former understandings by getting millions hooked on its services with a promise of strict privacy controls, and then informing them that stuff happens and they must adapt.

And:

As it is, Mr Zuckerberg, who turns 26 tomorrow, gives the impression of not caring a hoot about privacy. Whether by protest, legal action or regulation, he should be made to.

Indeed. Read the whole thing.


Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu.