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article imageReport: Facebook Staff Spy on Profiles and User Activities

By David Silverberg     Oct 29, 2007 in Internet
Called a ‘staff perk,’ Facebook employees can legally spy on profiles and what other profiles members are checking out. Facebook’s privacy policy allows its staff to see user accounts, even after they are deleted.
Digital Journal — The next time you stalk your ex on Facebook, realize the company’s staff might be watching what you’re doing. In an explosive scoop on tech blog Valleywag, Facebook employees supposedly look at profiles for fun and any profile a user has viewed. Within the company, it’s known as a job perk.
Valleywag illustrates the privacy violation with an example:
If Barack Obama's intern has been using the campaign account to troll for hotties, Facebook employees know.
In fact, Facebook’s own rules allow it to snoop on its members without question. As the UK Register found:
Facebook's terms and conditions do not rule out this happening: ‘Therefore, we cannot and do not guarantee that user content you post on the site will not be viewed by unauthorized persons.’ The privacy policy continues: ‘We are not responsible for circumvention of any privacy settings or security measures contained on the site.’Also, the Register points out that Facebook staff can scour content that has been deleted on the site, like a former user’s account information. As many Facebook users know, a member can’t find out who is seeing whose profile. Often, someone’s profile is only viewable to “friends.”
Is this the kind of privacy infringement Facebook wants to showcase just after Microsoft invested in it?
As Valleywag notes, "'s one thing to check profiles in the course of business, but these people are looking up records for kicks."
If Facebook wants to spin this the right way, good luck. A social network peeking into the private actions of its users deserves this kind of bad press, no matter how intuitive the technology is.
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