December 27, 2012

How was your Christmas/break/holiday/southern solstice celebration? Did you experience merriment and/or mirth? Did you turn off the iPhone and ‘get back in touch’ with ‘what really matters’ for a few days? Did you stop following the news for a while, if only, for just a few brief moments, to recapture some misremembered nostalgia for a time when interpersonal connections were carried out in physical space? That’s weird. Here’s some stupid news about social media you missed in the meantime.

Facebook and ‘human decency’

Earlier this week Randi Zuckerberg, of the internet Zuckerbergs, posted a photo to her Facebook wall. Normal enough behavior, one might say. But then something dastardly and untoward happened: that photo was used in a way she didn’t specifically intend it to be used. Follow the entire soggy ordeal here. Long story short, when a subscriber posted the private photo, meant only to be seen by her close network, Zuckerberg took it as an opportunity to lecture the world on ethics in an era of digital sharing, tweeting: “Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend’s photo publicly. It’s not about privacy settings, it’s about human decency.”

The irony of that statement coming from the sister of the founder of Facebook doesn’t need to be explained, but if you want to see someone do so at length and with sufficient fury, Dan Lyons at Read Write has you covered:

Yes, Randi Zuckerberg, speak to us about human decency.

Because a photo that you posted on Facebook got shared on the Internet.

How awful this must have been for you! How… invasive. What a violation. How terrible that someone might take something that belongs to you and use it in ways that you had not anticipated, and for which you had not given explicit permission!

 Everyone knows what you’re watching on Netflix now

Speaking of online privacy, Netflix, the entity you likely spent more time with over the holiday than your actual family members, (except for the great Netflix blackout of Christmas Eve ’12 #NeverForget), will now begin sharing the details of what you watch with the world. Mother Jones has the details:

Last Tuesday, the Senate quietly altered a key privacy law, making it much easier for video streaming services like Netflix to share your viewing habits. How quietly? The Senate didn’t even hold a recorded vote: The bill was approved by unanimous consent.

Let me just go ahead and get this over with to save you guys the trouble of ever looking at what my viewing habit data trail reveals for some reason: “Luke O’Neil watched ten minutes of 30 Rock to stave off ‘the fear’ by insinuating himself into a false sense of camaraderie with fictional characters before falling asleep in bed. Again.”

Netflix would like to be able to share this information to integrate its service with…you guessed it, Facebook, as Ars Technica points out. I wonder what Randi Zuckerberg has lined up in her queue?

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