Wednesday, May 05, 2010

privacy, what privacy? do I look like I care? the jury is out.

I've recently added the much talked about facebook "like" button to this blogger blog. (For those that are interested the code is at the bottom of this post)

And as I was doing it I wondered how to gain access to the stats this will inevitably collect. I don't have the precise answer to that one yet, but I did find some interesting things on the Facebook Query Language page.

Just for example, this link will show you how many times that blog post has been shared on facebook.

Why don't I care that this information, and a whole lot more, is in the public domain? Mainly because I assume that if I use facebook everything is available to everyone and I should be careful what I say, we need to educate each other, as we do with our kids, not to post things online that give away the secrets of our private life.

But also because facebooks attempt to predict the result of the election (here) has predicted a victory for the lib-dems.

This is something that is clearly not going to happen, but is also something that a quantative approach to predicting the election will always come up with. Why? Hopefully its because we lie to pollsters, even if that includes lying to ourselves. We're not rational or very sane, and as long as we don't publicise information that can be used to harm us predicting future behaviour using facebook data is no better or worse than using any of the other sources of information available.

Why should I be worried? The one doubt I have in my mind is that it would be possible to track all of your associations, and you may not want me to know who your friends friends are, or what interests you share, particularly if your friends achieve notoriety or your shared interests reveal your social circles in an unfavourable light.

That fb code:

1st put these in the top of the template html, I had to put them directly under the opening "head" tag to stop blogger from removing them.

<meta content='your site name goes here' property='og:site_name'/>
<meta content='your app id goes here' property='fb:app_id'/>

Then put this beneath your posts, look for div class='post-footer', you may need to "expand widgets"

<div id='fb-root'><div/>
  window.fbAsyncInit = function() {
    FB.init({appId: 'your app id goes here', status: true, cookie: true,
             xfbml: true});
  (function() {
    var e = document.createElement('script'); e.async = true;
    e.src = document.location.protocol +

<fb:like action="like" colorscheme="dark" expr:href="data:post.url" layout="standard" show_faces="true" width="500">


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I know nothing, I'm not a fortune teller, and you'd be insane to think that I am. This disclaimer was cribbed from an email footer I once received. It is so ridiculous I had to have it for myself.

Statements in this blog that are not purely historical are forward-looking statements including, without limitation, statements regarding my expectations, objectives, anticipations, plans, hopes, beliefs, intentions or strategies regarding the future. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward looking statements include risks and uncertainties such as any unforeseen event or any unforeseen system failures, and other risks. It is important to note that actual outcomes could differ materially from those in such forward-looking statements.

Danny Angus Copyright © 2006-2013 (OMG that's seven years of this nonsense)