Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

Summary: A look back at some of the major controversies to grip the world's largest social network over the past few months. Is Facebook teetering on the edge of collapse?

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  • Users are increasingly finding that the vast array of privacy settings is difficult to not only manage, but to edit too.

    Almost half (48 percent) surveyed by Which? Computing said that they struggled to keep track of all the security and privacy changes that have been made in the social network. Respondents changed most of their settings 'only twice', even though Facebook has issued a number of updates and fixes to its privacy platform. Many may find that their settings are still set to 'everyone' or 'public'.

    If so many people are not changing their privacy settings, this alone could be why so many people's data is being harvested by socialbots or other socially-engineered attacks. 

    Mark Zuckerberg came under fire for encouraging others to post more information about their lives under the new 'Timeline' feature.

  • Facebook finally, after a slew of privacy changes and amassing a great deal of anger from the users of the social networking site, for changing privacy settings or adding updates to the service without informing them.

    What was worse is that some of these changes were automatically switched on, and users had to opt-out of the feature if they did not want it.

    But the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is set to agree to new changes whereby Facebook would make these 'opt-in', giving users the choice of whether they want to use the feature or not. Not only will this suit the U.S. FTC, but also other governments around the world, like Germany, which deplored the move when Facebook rolled out facial recognition software.

    Once again, Facebook gets itself in trouble with the government. That is never a good sign, and I speak from experience.

  • And, speaking of government controversy, let's explore the Germany 'facial recognition' saga more closely.

    Facebook rolled out a tagging system that would recognise your friends' faces, and tag them on your behalf. A seemingly normal thing, with a touch of possible artificial intelligence, maybe? It seemed cool to some people, but Germany thought it was anything but.

    Germany came out and said that Facebook has violated German privacy laws, for scanning the faces of its citizens who use the site, Germany’s top data protection official, Johannes Caspar, wrote to Facebook to demand that its facial recognition software does not infringe German users’ privacy, and to delete any related data.

    Germany could impose fines of up to €300,000 ($430,000), but is looking also to sue Facebook to prevent it from doing it in future.

Topics: Security, Collaboration, Data Centers, Legal, Social Enterprise

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17 comments
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  • Beginning of the end for the social networking giant? No.

    the vast majority of the over 800 million people who use it don't care about anything in the news about Facebook. Those that are would (rightfully) assume any competing product is just teh same.

    No, I can't see any mass exodus or anything. People in general don't care.
    William Farrell
    • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

      @William Farrell
      I absolutely agree. On average, people just don't care.
      lass23
    • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

      @William Farrell

      "the vast majority of the over 800 million people who use it don't care about anything in the news about Facebook."

      And the vast majority of the 7 billion people in the world don't care about Facebook.
      cracker@...
    • I would have to agree with you.

      @William Farrell
      I would argue that most people have not suffered anything personally from any issue with Facebook, and since it is doing what they need it to do, they do not care.
      :|
      Tim Cook
    • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

      @William Farrell
      Considering Facebook and Microsoft still exist after all their anti-competitive behaivour and privacy abuse, you might have a fair point.
      anono
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    I won't miss them if they go away.
    CobraA1
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    I doubt this is the beginning of the end. You could make a very similar list for Google and Microsoft.<br><br>Facebook is too entrenched. People like to use the downfall of MySpace as an example of how fickle users can be. The primary difference is that MySpace wasn't a platform. There was no way their developers, even if competent, could keep up with the hordes of applications that come out for Facebook everyday. Just this week both Skype and Paypal have released applications for Facebook. Google+ got "Pages". Neat.
    Rich Miles
    • Sorry ... but Facebook is no Google, much less a Microsoft

      @Rich Miles Google is a company created by providing a product that was desperately needed.

      Microsoft is a company with many products and longevity. It also was a company built on a product desperately needed.

      On the other hand, Facebook is a company that provide a simple service that is easily replaceable. All it takes is for somebody else to open a more user friendly service .... and people will drop out faster than flies during an insecticide fogout.

      Facebook is like MySpace and Geocity. A temporary "fad" that already reached is peak and is already on a spiral decline.

      There is absolutely NOTHING that Facebook can transform into. Facebook is a real one trick pony company who's primary earnings are based on (legally) stealing private information and selling it to the highest bidder. That kind of business only last for a few years.
      wackoae
  • Good logo

    But are you implying that facebook is a scandal-ridden disaster of Enron proportions?
    tkeller@...
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    No - if anything people are finally realizing the social "networking" is flat boring and sad... I mean look at Google+ It has a user base, but of my 400 friends 3 are on it... and that was after they opened it up to everyone.
    ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

      @ItsTheBottomLine
      No one is saying it's the end of Facebook. But the question is, is it the beginning of the end?
      anono
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    Lol, "beginning of the end" riiiiiiiight.

    Not sure what the point of this article is except to highlight a few "issues" Facebook has met this year and no one really cares about. 99% of users on Facebook are completely unaware or simply don't care about the issues mentioned.
    spaulagain2
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    This article would be more persuasive if it weren't full of grammatical errors.
    Fred H
  • Facebook should get what it deserves.

    The Facebook user application turned into a cluster_____. It has no regard for its users and I've never trusted the privacy settings. Three months ago I deactivated my Facebook account for the third and final time. By the way, it won't let you delete your account data!
    M142222
  • Uhh.. What?

    Facebook needs to get their act together, but I don't see them going away anytime soon. Social networking isn't a fad. People want to keep in touch with old and new friends and Facebook delivers a very easy way to do it. If a new social network site that was as easy to use as Facebook was to popup, then I can see FB fading away. I have to laugh every time I see articles comparing everything to Google on ZDnet.

    Also.. I have to laugh at the pretended motto of Google as "don't be evil"... Those guys really hate it when I bring up Germany and other privacy concerns that has been announced in the news the last two years. lol... ZDNet has a long history of Google fanboyism. Remember articles posted here calming that Google was going to take down MS with their new OS? lol.. (this was before Vista shipped).
    Qix77
  • RE: Facebook's bad year: The beginning of the end?

    http://qqurl.in/HjdMYZ

    http://qqurl.in/HjdMYZ

    http://qqurl.in/HjdMYZ
    chzhrr
  • Myspace / Facebook/ next one

    looking for help combining Myspace with facebook to create "realspace" unlimited uploads to allow free speach and free sharing of ideas music and freedom just like the founders of this great country
    Garrison Bulkley