Facebook's greatest controversies and biggest foul-ups

Facebook's greatest controversies and biggest foul-ups

Summary: A run down of some of the most controversial decisions or actions by Facebook, including some of their biggest mistakes to date.

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  • Facebook has been in some cases over-zealous when it comes to government search and law enforcement requests, it seems. Instead of taking action like Twitter to at least inform its users of a subpoena, Facebook often gives away data without a second thought, or even challenging the request.

    Facebook's privacy policy says: "We may also share information when we have a good faith belief it is necessary to prevent fraud or other illegal activity, to prevent imminent bodily harm, or to protect ourselves and you from people violating our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. This may include sharing information with other companies, lawyers, courts or other government entities."

    A paper by J. P. Semitsu (31:1, 2011) says that under existing laws like the USA PATRIOT Act, there is no federal statutory or constitutional right that prevents law enforcement or government from issuing requests or subpoenas; amounting to "fishing expeditions".

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    For more on Facebook, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column, or Emil Protalinski's Friending Facebook column.

  • Who is Paul Ceglia? He was once a convicted fraudster for taking advance payments of wood pellets from a business he owned without coughing up the goods. However, he became embroiled in a lawsuit when he stepped forward claiming he owned a major stake in Facebook. 

    With news of his past came to light, many dismissed the case. But when he presented written evidence showing a contract between Ceglia and Zuckerberg, the case took a turn for the worst -- at least for the Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.

    If he does in fact own over 80% of the company, he could depose Zuckerberg as CEO and find himself in a serious lawsuit. Whether this would have a knock-on effect to users of the site, we can only speculate.

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    For more on Facebook, check out Zack Whittaker's iGeneration column, or Emil Protalinski's Friending Facebook column.

Topics: Google, Legal, Social Enterprise

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9 comments
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  • RE: Facebook's greatest controversies and biggest foul-up's

    Well what difference does it make if they tell us. They still have to give it to them from a subpoena anyway? What do you want them to do. Get consensus from 500 million users first? Its kind of common sense. This is not a controvertible or foul up on Facebooks part but a foul up on the writers part. Besides Facebook has a much larger problem with spams / scams and viruses. Besides if your a legitimate user on facebook then what the hell you scared of if the police search facebook. If your legit then your profile will get passed by. I'm no Facebook superfan but you don't win any pissing contests with misinformation.
    MisstreeGB
    • RE: Facebook's greatest controversies and biggest foul-up's

      @MisstreeGB Then why not just let them take everyone's DNA and fingerprints while they're at it. If you're a law abiding citizen then what's the problem there?
      America. The land of the free to have your rights trampled on.
      SoreHead
    • YOU + ARE = YOU'RE

      @MisstreeGB<br>"Besides if your a legitimate user on facebook"<br><br>If your WHAT is a legitimate user?<br><br>That's even worse than the glaring error in this story's headline.
      dgurney
      • RE: Facebook's greatest controversies and biggest foul-up's

        @dgurney "GOTTA LUV IT"!!! HILARIOUS!!!
        DollBadBaby
  • RE: Facebook's greatest controversies and biggest foul-up's

    They'll do it on request ... that is, without a subpoena. The issue is of privacy, not wrongdoing. Government is supposed to abide by rule of law (getting subpoenas and writs before putting a person under investigation or accessing records). They don't because no one holds them accountable to it, and they've reinforced that de facto surrendering of rights with the Patriot Act and subsequent issues. It's like copyright: if you don't challenge a violation, you have no claim to the right.
    scirath
    • RE: Facebook's greatest controversies and biggest foul-up's

      @scirath Its right in Facebooks TOS that they will cooperate with requests though so you are forewarned. Your right to privacy from law enforcement and others ends right there. If you don't agree with their TOS then you are not supposed to make a profile on Facebook. You only have to worry about privacy in my opinion if your doing wrong (bullying stalking child porn fraud etc) if your not doing any wrong then you obviously have nothing to worry about.
      MisstreeGB
      • RE: Facebook's greatest controversies and biggest foul-up's

        @MisstreeGB We're supposed to be the ultimate watchdogs of government. If we fail in that, well ... there's a reason people are concerned.<br><br>You may wish to read the article mentioned, BTW. It's long (92 pages), but it does give a clearer indication as to what the blog is specifically commenting on.<br><br><a href="http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1782267" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1782267</a>
        scirath
      • RE: Facebook's greatest controversies and biggest foul-up's

        @MisstreeGB Awesome kilts, BTW.
        scirath
  • RE: Facebook's greatest controversies and biggest foul-up's

    If you don't want facebook to give away your data, then don't give it to them. That TOS is enough to ensure I'll never post anything of any significance. Especially troubling is the line that says "This may include sharing information with other companies...". Companies? forget it!!
    dkerber@...