Tag Archives: facebook privacy

seven words you can’t say on facebook. . .

all stories about suicide, adultery, drunkenness, addiction, failure, unrequited love, bad financial planning, greed, envy, impotence and incontinence begin with the words “i have this friend”  which is code for “me”.  but really, i have this friend.

on facebook, there’s a lot of concern about privacy.  people have told me they won’t use facebook because they’re concerned enough that–regardless of the privacy settings they might place on their accounts–facebook is watching.  and using their information.  storing their information.  sharing their information.   there is even concern about potential employers asking for passwords to facebook, myspace, linkedin, and other social media accounts as a condition of employment.

remember when your cousin tagged you in a picture in the album “just another friday night in the hood”? mr. boss man will not click “like” and that’s why some states have passed social media protections so that employers are not allowed to ask for passwords. i’m sure they’ll figure out that your password is “studly” and they’re going to find this anyhow.

i live by the rule that nothing is private on facebook.  of course, there isn’t a lot a just over the border of fifty years woman is doing that’s scandalous.  like, okay, i get tagged in a photo from the album “woman’s board organizational meeting”.

but my friend.  i was starting a story about a friend and it’s really about a friend.  really.  absolutely really.  it’s about the words you can’t say on facebook.

on george carlin’s 1972 comedic album “class clown” he delivered a monologue about the seven dirty words — shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.– that you can’t say on television. the monologue and its presentation on the radio (uncensored) led to the supreme court setting new limits on the federal communications commission.

so my friend has a way of expressing herself.  and twice in the past week she expressed frustration over her email account not working and the second time over the olympics opening ceremony.  her lexicon including “kill myself”. . . and facebook took notice.  when she opened her facebook account there was a message from the team.


A friend is concerned about your well being. Facebook has an agreement with Samaritans and we have sent them your email address so they can contact you within 24 hours. You can speak to them in confidence. You can find out more about Samaritans atwww.samaritans.org.They can also be reached by email at jo@samaritans.org or by phone. In the UK dial 08457 90 90 90 or in the Republic of Ireland dial 1850 60 90 90.Thanks,
The Facebook Team

User Operations

then my friend was required to click to reach her message box.
I have read the message above
Samaritans Home Page
Samaritans provides confidential emotional support 24/7 to those experiencing despair, distress or suicidal feelings.
the friend who expressed concern is mr. algorithm.  the same mr. algorithm that seems to know that i want to see ads for wrinkle cream and ways to get rid of belly fat.  when i open my facebook account, the ads are on the margins, reminding me of my mortality.
so my friend was upset when her email account wasn’t working and who wasn’t as impressed with the olympics opening ceremony as director danny boyle would have liked her to be.  and we both learned that the seven words you can’t use on facebook unless you want the good samaritans of the u.k. or the u.s. to contact you.  sometimes you’ll have to add the word “myself’.  julio from the facebook team will be sending you a note of concern.
kill, shoot, off, hang, seppuku, do. . . in.

maxwell smart had a cool phone in his shoe in the 1960s series “maxwell smart”. . . but you carry surveillance equipment with you all the time. let’s face it, your phone allows the government to track your location, your spending habits, your interests, and your habits. smart? yeah, your phone is smart!

my friend’s experience was pretty creepy.  but have you had an experience with this?
and just in case this catches you at a bad moment, the samaritans really are here to help.  their homepage is http://www.samaritans.org/

facebook nation’s baby steps towards democracy

my nation has 900,000,000 citizens and, as near as i can tell, they can all fit in my laptop.  my nation has its own form of money, a movie about its beginnings* and a handsome prince and princess.

prince mark zuckerberg and bride priscilla chan honeymooned in italy just after the much anticipated facebook i.p.o. insta-millionaires were gravely disappointed as the share price opened at $42 and has plunged to $27. but every great nation has initial problems.


this past month, facebook held an election on proposed privacy amendments.  i don’t know about you, but i figure i have no privacy on facebook. but some students in ireland disagree with that notion and filed a complaint with the irish data protection commission which is in charge of regulating facebook in europe.  the students claimed “hey, that picture of me drunk on the couch that my ex-girlfriend posted and then i made her take it down, that’s my privacy we’re talking about!”

on may 23, 2005 tom cruise declared his love for katie holmes as he trampolined on a couch on the oprah show. i’m sure HE’D like to say he owns that and then he would burn it. tom is known for being very reserved, secretive, almost like a scientologist. oh, right, he IS a scientologist.


so facebook held a vote on amendments to its privacy policies.  the amendments allow for what items are automatically public on facebook, what items facebook owns (anything you post) and what happens when you deactivate your account (facebook keeps all of it in perpetuity).  the data is important because it allows for facebook to target advertising.  and get revenue.  which might help that stock price slide. i’ve seen a lot of posts complaining about privacy and facebook policies.  if i had known about a chance to vote on this, i would have.

three hundred and fifty thousand people voted, just four percent, and overwhelmingly they were opposed to the privacy amendments. the company had said that it would consider the vote binding if more than 30% of its users voted.


*the social network chronicled the brave prince mark battling to free people everywhere so that they can connect.  and actually, i believe that is exactly what mark zuckerberg actually intends.  as he has been quoted as saying, “we don’t build services to make money–we make money so we can build better services!”