Seeking Social Media Alternatives: Is Facebook Spying on You?

  • Eben Moglen, a Columbia Law School professor and the founder of the Software Freedom Law Center, observes that Web technologies that help us stay connected include the ability to spy on us. Facebook is his example.
  • How much does Facebook know about you? An Austrian law student used an Irish court to force Facebook to turn over everything it knew about him. The result was 1,222 pages of data that included information he never agreed to give them and data he had deleted.
  • Some 40,000 other people have asked for their own records. In Europe, Facebook’s users are increasingly sensitive to the violation of personal privacy.
  • Developers are beginning to work on alternatives to Facebook which are open-sourced and can be used in a private manner.
  • “I think it’s possible that Facebook will still be around in five years, and even in 10,” Boyer says. “But I’d like to see it recede into only being used for that single, simple purpose that it ultimately serves very well, which I continue to use it for: finding that person that I met a million years ago. The rest of it, we can do better.”

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