Facebook Messenger: New privacy SNAFU

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is under fire for privacy problems yet again. This time it's the new version of Facebook Messenger, which leaks additional information about you -- some is compulsory. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers can't quite believe that Mark Zuckerberg didn't learn from the last 37,905 privacy flaps.
[Updated with yet more condescending criticism of paper-billionaire Zuck and his soon-to-be-public 'anti-social' network]
By Richi Jennings: Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention: Yelleportation...
Christina DesMarais reports without commenting:

The social network is rolling out some new features...you can see if someone has read your text message...tell if someone is typing and where they're located.
Another great feature is this: When you use it on your phone Messenger logs your chats. ... One thing is certain -- Facebook is serious about improving its mobile offerings.   

Josh Constine hints at the ****storm that is to come:

Facebook Messenger “read receipts” are even easier to understand than [on BBM], and they work for group messaging too. ... Today’s updates [will] start by appearing in the standalone Messenger apps, and slowly roll out to Facebook’s primary mobile apps and the web interface.
Beyond read receipts, you’ll now see [where] a message was sent...if your conversation partners have location enabled. ... And Facebook...[is now] showing in-line the name of who’s currently typing a message to you.
Some may worry it will be harder to ignore people now. ... There’s no way to turn off read receipts, but Facebook does let you...hide your location.   

Martin Brinkmann stirs the pot:

[The] new features...will surely cause some controversy. ... [The] read confirmations...may sound like a great idea...[but] it may also make the privacy alarm bells go off in the head of some users, who prefer not to reveal [that].
[S]ince it is enabled for all friends, some Facebook users may also see this as a creepy way of revealing information that they would not want to.   

Freaked out yet? Edgar Cervantes is looking at you:

We can see many of you freaking out over this. ... [Users] will actually know if you have read the message or not. [That's] bound to start a good deal of arguments, for sure.
[But] if you want the stalking to start, go ahead and download the update.   

And Kevin Krause notes yet another privacy wrinkle:

Pro tip: location tracking is turned on by default when installing the latest update.   

But Jennifer van Grove isn't phased:

Sure, you may sacrifice a little privacy...but the exchanges are with people you presumably like, so maybe more information is better.   

However, David Ruddock wishes to register another complaint:

[T]hey're just calling [it] "texting" in order to confuse / lure the less technically inclined into using it. Shady much?
And, of course, you'll still have two Messenger icons. ... Gee Facebook, thanks for clogging my app drawer.
[T]hey're trying to trick your mom into thinking it's equivalent to SMS...and by placing it right next to the stock...Messaging app. Thanks, Facebook - you stay classy.   

Meanwhile, Joe Svetlik exhibits typical British sarcasm:

[Now] you know...someone's got your message, and [when]. So you can start questioning exactly why they're taking their time. What could they possibly be doing that's so important?
Facebook...[is] thought to be a factor in a third of all British divorces.   

Update: Sharif Sakr sakrastically sums up the privacy concerns: [You're fired -Ed.]

Your friends just don't get it. While they're still bumming around...your life has recently become more serious. That's why you sometimes need to hide from their constant, mindless barrage...[and] why you probably won't install the newly updated Facebook Messenger...[with its] instant and compulsory "seen by" read receipts.
So, in addition to knowing how aloof you've become, they'll be able to track you down and slap your face.

And Finally...

[hat tip for the title: Ronald Jones]

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher

Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. He's the creator and main author of Computerworld's IT Blogwatch, for which he has won ASBPE and Neal awards. He also writes The Long View for IDG Enterprise. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.


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