Facebook: the most congenitally dishonest company in America

If you are not paying for it, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.”

Did you know you have a Facebook email address? Maybe you did and maybe you didn’t. But if you have a Facebook account you have a Facebook email. And that email is now your default email on FB.

WTF? You didn’t do that. NOBODY would do that. As Kashmir Hill writes at Forbes, it’s a lame attempt by our friends at Facebook to force their service on you. Gervais Markham is even more pointed:

In other words, Facebook silently inserted themselves into the path of formerly-direct unencrypted communications from people who want to email me. In other contexts, this is known as a Man In The Middle (MITM) attack. What on earth do they think they are playing at?

It’s not like Facebook trying to sneak something past us is new. It happens every three or four days, seems like. They redesign, they roll out new features, and in each case they pretend they’ve “made things easier” for us by hiding their latest attempt to invade our privacy, sell our data or hijack our preferred way of using the Internet. They always get caught and there are always articles being posted on how to change it back or protect yourself. And there’s always a bullshit statement from the company explaining how they announced a couple months back that they were going to be making changes to improve your experience blah blah blah and that this is therefore 100% on the up and up.

Who do they think they’re fooling? You know, aside from the nearly a billion users who keep putting up with it and the elected officials who keep not doing anything about it, I mean.

Companies are always trying to make their customers happy. They add features, release new products and services, etc., and when they do they trumpet the news to the high heavens. New ways of improving your world (or your perception thereof) simply DO NOT sneak up on you.

This latest, though, this isn’t a feature. (Many Facebook “features” aren’t.) Instead, it’s yet another example of a fundamentally dishonest company, a company with no integrity, playing whack-a-mole with their users. They don’t change things every few days because it’s better for us. Notice how every time they update things they move where settings used to be? It’s not user-friendly, it’s user-hostile and it violates every core fundamental of user interface design, which is all about making a site or an application easier and better for the user.

Facebook does this intentionally to mask their real intent. Which is to package and sell the user, to deceive users into behaving in ways that they wouldn’t otherwise. The message is ugly, but simple: We’re not good enough to entice you to want our services, so we’re going to make you to take it. If we get busted, we’ll issue a statement and try again the next time we think you aren’t looking.

Write this down: when companies roll out changes under cover of the dark, when they “improve” things without making a huge deal of it, when they continually behave in ways that require them to remind you that you knew about this and that you like it even when you’re pretty sure you don’t, you’re being lied to.

How would you react if a store in your neighborhood tried to shortchange you every time you went in? What if you ordered top-shelf vodka and caught the bartender slipping you the well stuff that’s made in New Jersey? Would you buy a used car from a dealer who had a reputation for rolling back the mileage on the odometer?

That’s who Mark Zuckerberg is. That’s who his people are. That’s what his company is. They’re America’s most prominent corporate weasels – yes, this is saying something – and the day a viable competitor arrives to put them out of business can’t get here fast enough.

28 comments on “Facebook: the most congenitally dishonest company in America

  1. Over the past six months, I’ve used FB less and less. I rarely put anything personal on it; I distrust these MFers too much. Changing my email back to what I prefer is an annoyance that gives me yet another reason to lessen my use of FB.

    I think you were too kind to these sellers of our data. Try not to restrain yourself so much next time … *wink*

  2. From the AP:

    “Facebook Inc.’s stock rose more than 3 percent Tuesday to close at its highest price since May 21, its second day of trading.

    “The stock gained $1.04 to close at $33.10. The stock has been up on 14 trading days and down on 13 since its initial public offering.”

    Any bets on what it will be week’s end?

  3. The same day the email change went it effect they also rolled out a “Find Friends Nearby” app that would locate users near you regardless of whether they were your friends or not. It was quickly branded the “Stalker App” due to the obvious and it was quickly rolled back in, accompanied by some lame ass excuse about it being in testing and not intended to be pushed out to everyone.
    I understand get the benefits of Facebook in terms of keeping in contact with friends and being able disseminate information, however their constant game playing with my privacy rights, ownership of my own personal content, and at times my personal safety, has me in a position of totally loathing it and resenting the fact that I have to waste time and energy being vigilant in keeping up with their backroom screwing around.

    • Anon: Don’t think we aren’t aware of the irony. And don’t think we haven’t considered walking away. It remains a frustrating reality of our world at present, and not one we’re all that comfortable with.

  4. Might be interesting for you:

    “If you are looking for a secure way to connect to your friends however, !Freenet is probably the best option for you” → http://www.forbes.com/sites/wenjiazhao/2012/06/25/3-open-source-alternatives-to-facebook/2/ (alternatives to Facebook)

    and

    !Freenet auf #forbes: does not need more than an installation program to set up, and no web server is required → http://freenetproject.org

    via http://identi.ca/notice/94954168 and http://identi.ca/notice/94952760

  5. My response to Facebook these days is to simply stop using it. I had thought about deleting my account, but unfortunately deleting a Facebook account is impossible… I actually had deleted my current Facebook account about 7 years ago after trying it out and not liking it. Then, last year, after my family kept begging me to get on facebook, I remembered my old account which I had thought was gone. My login credentials still worked – it was llike nothing had ever happened. So, it is pointless to delete your account.

    Today, I keep the account. I try to never use it – except to set my privacy settings whenever they change something, which is often. I don’t post on timelines, I don’t upload pictures anymore, I don’t click Likes, I don’t use apps. Nothing… My account is simply taking up space for them. The value of our private information will become useless to Facebook if we simply leave our accounts there but stop using it.

  6. Take a look at Quora as well. It was launched by Facebook Brats and quickly turned into a sewer due to a corrupted voting system and systemic censorship. The apple does not fall far from tree.

  7. It’s not just all that. If anyone has ever used your computer to access facebook, you’re on their list. Every time you go to any site with a “like” button, your movement is tracked. I hear that the cookies responsible don’t even go away with a simple clear command.

    I’ve never had a Facebook account and still need multiple programs to keep Zuckerburg out of my private life.

    But i do find some humor in it all, because it exemplifies 21st Century America. For 50 years we railed against the all pervasive totalitarian state of the USSR, and then as soon as it was gone, we all signed up for systems to know and track us better than the KGB could have ever managed. We were free to choose, and we chose unwisely.

    We deserve everything we get.

    • People don’t seem to care if it’s worse, as long as they’ve chosen it…
      I think a lot of us think and will think we have control on it, until it eventually proves to be wrong, and then it will probably be tough to go back.

  8. Pingback: Facebook’s bad year just got worse | Scholars and Rogues

  9. Pingback: Facebook’s bad year just got worse « Black Dog Strategic

  10. Pingback: Privacy: A Relic from the Past | Christopher di Armani.com

  11. Pingback: “Honesty is the best policy” | gauthierscrapsncrops

  12. Just look at all the sites that provides FB login along with the classic registration.
    Now we are giving off our privacy and security, ’cause that’s so convenient !

    Some give access to the comment section ONLY through a facebook account, I wonder when we’ll have sites that require a fb identification (which is supposed to use your real life information) to even browse the content.

  13. Pingback: Goodbye, Facebook. Supporting anti-gay marriage, anti-human rights candidate was finally too much. | Ars Skeptica

  14. Pingback: Goodbye, Facebook. Supporting anti-gay marriage, anti-human rights candidate was finally too much. | Scholars and Rogues | Progressive Culture

  15. Pingback: Finally just pulled the Facebook plug | Scholars and Rogues | Progressive Culture

  16. Pingback: Finally just pulled the Facebook plug | Ars Skeptica

  17. I deleted my Facebook account when Fuckerberg took Facebook public.
    As soon as he did that he became beholden to shareholders not his own account holders.
    Anf, if I’ve learned anything since the Financial crisis its this, corporations like Facebook cannot be trusted.
    And honestly, I haven’t missed the inane Facebook posts one bit.
    In fact, not being tied to Facebook has been quite liberating.
    Delete your Facebook account today and reclaim your life and, at least, a modicum of privacy.

  18. Pingback: Razones para NO usar Facebook | victorhckinthefreeworld

  19. Pingback: Facebook’s See Less: the new “feature” that DOES. NOT. WORK. | Scholars and Rogues | Progressive Culture

  20. Pingback: Facebook’s See Less: the new “feature” that DOES. NOT. WORK. | Lullaby Pit

  21. Pingback: Facebook’s See Less: the new “feature” that DOES. NOT. WORK. | Black Dog Strategic

  22. People just don’t get it…for years now I’ve told everyone, “I will NOT ‘do’ facebook, no way, how…” yet, they think I am nuts for not using it. I’ve tried to politely explain its horrors. I’ve tried to gently say they just use people for their own sinister gain…on and on, yet people are so brainwashed and so “beholden” to that dung heap it’s like a rampant stupid virus took root and no one can kill it!

  23. Pingback: The Digital Narcissist – Mechanical Sympathy

  24. Pingback: Facebook’s See Less: the new “feature” that DOES. NOT. WORK. | Content / Writing / Strategy | wordSmith

Leave us a reply. All replies are moderated according to our Comment Policy (see "About S&R")

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s