Opt-in vs Opt-out: the cardinal rule
The choice to opt-in vs opt-out was well considered and the backlash was anticipated. The notice of the changes does not really inform how to opt-out, and the opt-out check box provided on the privacy settings will not be enough to stop the sharing of your information with Facebook partners. Even if you opt-out, Facebook will STILL share your information with its partners until such time as you individually block each of their applications.
…so says the EFF and the user license. (What? Did you miss that part? If a digerati like you misses it, what hope does a lowly end user have?)
Given the multiple levels of deception that the company put up to frustrate the exercise of privacy preference by its users, I don’t have much sympathy for hurt feelings in the PR department. Pity for the guys in Legal maybe, because there’s probably a class action in the works.
Facebook users sign a contract to use a service, and that contract informs how they use the service. When Facebook retroactively changes the terms of the contract it has effectively defrauded its users by redefining the terms upon which it was entrusted with information.
I understand that what I publish on the net is public, but I also understand that what I publish behind a firewall is behind a firewall. If someone uploads my hard drive to the net without my permission, I have every right to be pissed off. And yes, that’s what Facebook has done. It may be profitable, but it’s still wrong. In fact, you might even say that it is wrong precisely because it is profitable: they stole their user’s intellectual property when they sold it to partners.
What we’re seeing here is premeditated, fraudulent malevolence taking the form of the commodification of personal identity by fraud. I think it’s ok to call the villains what they are, even if “it’ll make the web more FUN!!1!”