eponymousarchon: (Default)
A-ha. Solved it. Maybe. Partly.

Facebook does indeed keep your email list once you've uploaded it - but just doesn't like to admit it.

Really! To find out that they do this, go to the "Suggestions" Page, click on the tiny link in the tiny text note: "Facebook will not keep your password Learn More" (Really, it's teeny)

If you click on that, the window that opens also tells you that it keeps your addressbook data too: "We may use the email addresses you upload through this importer to help you connect with friends, including using this information to generate Suggestions for you and your contacts on Facebook"

Not that I mind that it tells you about not keeping your password, mind - but slipping in that it will also keep your uploaded contact data is at best accidental obsfuscation and at worst, straightforward corporate nastiness.  Worse: There's actually an implied suggestion that they are not intending to re-access your data in the statement that they don't keep your password.

Once you have found your way this far, however, it does also give you a link to an opt-out mechanism. Clicking on the button takes you to http://www.facebook.com/contact_importer/remove_uploads.php which offers to actually remove your contact data from their system but warns that "Note that it may take some time before your name will be completely removed from Suggestions.". And indeed, these suggestions haven't gone away yet. We'll see what happens.

Searching the help system for explicit help on the Friend Finder points you at information on the Friend Finder, but gives you not a sniff of any of this, by the way.

So this looks like the most likely solution - and we'll see if doing that has any effect. Of course, while memory is a funny thing, I'd still swear that I didn't see those two names in the half-dozen suggestions Facebook came up with when I uploaded - or that those names appeared in my uses of F'Suggestions' since then until today - and as those names are meaningful to me, I'm pretty certain to go *boink* upon seeing them in a odd context, just like I did today in fact.

So half a solution, perhaps. :/

eponymousarchon: (Angled)

Okay - this is freaky [Update, I think I've partly figured this out - but it's still scary and possibly worse - see below]

One of Facebook's more-fun features (I find) is the 'Suggestions Friends' page, wherein Facebook looks at your friends and who they friend and looks for patterns that suggest people that you might know and want to friend. When it works, it's really good - and when it's bad, it is occasionally amusing. So like I say, it's fun.

Recently, they've also added a 'Suggestions' box to the main Facebook page which simply displays one of the recommendations in the same format and changes it when the screen refreshes.

Okay, that's enough background. Today, hand-coding for partially script-generated HTML pages was breaking my brain, so I was taking a five minute Facebook break (as people do) when the following popped up on my main Facebook page:

At this, I went *boink* but then thought for a moment. "Now, this is surprising, but not impossible" You see: Angela Melick draws a webcomic called Wasted Talent that I'm a regular reader of (really - it's very good) but I'm pretty sure Facebook doesn't know that. Eeek.

Okay - deep breath. I have other friends who are into or actually create, webcomics. It's not impossible that one of them has friended her and that that's what Facebook is picking up on. Okay, check this - go to Ms Melick's profile and check for mutual friends.


Now that qualifies as spooky. I know that she has a seperate group for followers of the comic and keeps her main page to people she knows in real life - so I'm not actually surprised that there's no overlap. And I'm not a friend of her group or any of the other fan groups on there.

So how did Facebook make the connection?

Perplexed, I refreshed the page a couple of times to see if this was a freak error. A few refreshes later:

Now I know Facebook is screwing with me. Samantha Cherolis draws another webcomic: Random Assembly (Also very good - really, you should check these guys' comics out) Again, we have no friends in common:

...and she doesn't even have an 'followers group'. Facebook really doesn't know that I follow this person.

So how the hell are they pulling out this connection?

By this point I was seriously re-evaluating the semi-paranoid rumours I've heard about the alleged link between Facebook and the American FBI. Did I dare go down that mental  that rabbit-hole, was it true? But if so, then why would they make it obvious? It made no sense.

Then the penny dropped and it rasies different questions.

One thing both comickers have in common is that I've corresponded by email with them in the purchase of books and similar. And I let Facebook look at these once a few weeks back as part of its "Find people you know on Facebook via their email' feature. But that's supposed to be a one-off deal: It checks the list against the (normally hidden) emails and then dumps the list.

If it isn't dumping the list, it needs to flag this in b-i-i-i-g letters. If Facebook didn't keep the list, then how is it connecting us now? 

Hm, Except... Except that if Facebook did keep the list, then why did it only find them now and not at the time? These two guys are showing up pretty frequently in my 'Suggested' box, I'm pretty damn sure that they didn't show-up in the list of suggestions from Facebook that were generated as a result of the email list and I've checked my full page of suggestions (including the extras that don't appear until you start removing suggestions from the list) a few times since then (Look - it was a lunchtime at work - okay?)

Suggesting that Facebook kept my email results and two people that I know, and are in the same field, both decided to update their emails at roughly the same time and they both added emails that they've advertised on their respective websites for several years, but apparently hadn't added to Facebook a few weeks previously...

...is stretching credulity more than a bit. But that's the only answer.

I'm almost certainly missing an important piece of the puzzle, but I'm otherwise ferklempt here.

[ Update: See next post - Aha! What's actually happening: http://eponymousarchon.livejournal.com/121522.html - (Hint: Naughty Facebook, no cookie.)]

eponymousarchon: (Default)

And now I'm also being followed by 'denyreligion'. that's an unexpected 3 to 2.

Do I need an 'atheistbot' tag to go with Woobot? :)

[Edit: The spiel at http://denyreligion.com/ is quite, er, interesting. It includes an page of counter-argument to put into hotel-room bibles. I must admit that I'd not think of being that, er argumentative myself. ]

eponymousarchon: (Default)
Ah-hahahaha! I've been rumbled!

Today at 10:45. I cast another lure (all in the name of experimentation):

By 1pm I was getting ready to admit defeat. However, at 15:48 - Ding!

So, who have we got?

From Michael Nugent's twittter profile:

Michael Nugent

...I've been rumbled!

So apparently it's not just the purveyors of Woo that grep the timeline!

As an added bonus, his photo is whole orders of magnitude less scary than the previous two:

eponymousarchon: (Angled)
That's truly remarkable!

After being followed twice on twitter by scary new-age users (See posts here and here) promoting their dubious wares, I decided to run a small experiment today. At least one of the followings seemed to be triggered by references to fairly obscure new-age pseudoscience in my twitter, which lead me to suspect that such terms were being searched for in the public timeline. Time for a test!
Read more... )



eponymousarchon: (Default)

July 2009

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