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Mark Scoble, previously banned from Second Life for letting his twelve-year old son use his adult account, found out recently that a script he was using to scrape his social networking data from Facebook caught the attention of its bots. Scoble was temporarily banned from Facebook, and all of his user information seems to have followed him into the nethersphere.

Keep this in mind, people. In their power-grab for data, Facebook’s managers seem to care more about retaining the information of their users as a group more than they care about keeping your identity on Facebook as an individual. Previous attempts to wipe individual profiles from the social networking site have been time-consuming, tedious, and fraught with inconsistencies.

Recent methods of deleting one’s profile have become easier of late, but remember that ‘deactivated’ is not the same as ‘deleted.’ There are ways to aggregate data without pissing Facebook off (see comment #8 here), but they aren’t well-known enough to make it easy or risk-free. There are several inferences one can draw from the escapades of those who attempt to control access to the data from which corporations make their money. None of them are pretty. In the not-too-distant future, Google and Facebook will have more showdowns, and the losers in the battle of privacy and access will be us — the consumers.

I think it bears repeating: whosoever controls the personal information rules the world.

Originally published at Folklore Fanatic. You can comment here or there.


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July 2010


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