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Facebook doesn't care about your privacy, that's why it is worth $150bn

James Temperton
23 May 2014
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As Facebook slaps itself on the back over new privacy tools the social network unveils another way for people to share more of their lives online

Facebook has called its new privacy settings a "symbolic shift" with Mark Zuckerberg saying that his company was now committed to "loving the people we serve". Facebook now cares about your privacy, apparently.

The volte-face is overdue. Facebook's default public setting for all posts for new users was a blatant attempt to squeeze advertising revenue from users not savvy enough to only share with close friends and family.

Now, anyone signing up to Facebook will have all their posts shared with friends only by default. Facebook is also rolling out a new 'privacy checkup tool' (complete with cute dinosaur-type-thing) to "put power and control in people's hands".

Facebook privacy

Facebook has been repeatedly slapped around the chops over its dubious privacy policies. The website has undergone countless redesigns, often making privacy settings harder to find and more confusing.

The trick has worked and in the confusion people have coughed up more and more details about their lives. A quick browse reveals a procession of users who have unwittingly shared all their holiday photos with everyone and anyone. There sit the lives of total strangers open for all to see.

This full-force marketing campaign by Facebook to make it look friendlier and more privacy conscious is all well and good, but it is a massive scam.

One day before it announced its new privacy settings Facebook lifted the lid on a new feature that allows it to "listen" to what film you're watching or what music you're listening to. The feature will be available in the coming weeks on Android and iOS in the US.

The new optional feature will give people a "new way to share and discover music, TV and movies".

Facebook is constantly trying to get people to share more about their lives – every drop of data you are willing to share with Facebook is a chance for the social network to squeeze another penny from your life.

Or, to put it another way:

"That means if you want to share that you're listening to your favourite Beyoncé track or watching the season premiere of Game of Thrones, you can do it quickly and easily, without typing."

New Facebook sharing feature

There's no denying that Facebook's new features are technically impressive but it is yet another skid down the slippery slope that so many online services are taking.

People already willingly share where they are, who they are with, what they are doing, what they like and where they live and work with Facebook. As the line goes – if you're not paying for something, you're the product.

How much people are willing to share with Facebook comes down to personal choice. Our lives online are big business for companies we have little or no reason to trust. Facebook will insist it is making our lives easier and more sociable but ultimately it is making us shinier nuggets for advertisers.

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