today: illegal graphology ; tomorrow: illegal facebook query

Join two dots and obtain a line.

The first dot. A few days ago, on the blog of an italian journalist I've found a reference to an old article about facebook originally from the guardian (even equipped with an italian translation, just in case ...).

The article is quite long, but I found it a worthy read. (Well, at least it is one assuming you can skip over the initial rhetoric about "social networking = autistic geeks". Similar arguments were as annoying as untrue already 10 years ago about the Internet, and even more so 20 years ago about role playing games.)

In the article you can find interesting facts about who are the creators of facebook and even more interesting ones about who has been more than happy to finance it more recently. All is topped with a fun re-reading of facebook's "privacy policy".

The second dot. This late afternoon, speaking with Ralf in the lab, I got introduced to the practice of some companies to ask for an hand-written curriculum vitae as a regular practice to be considered as a candidate. Why so? Well, because they can then ask a graphologist to draw a psychological profile and take a more "informed decision" about whether to hire you or not (assuming you believe in graphology, of course).

Sure, it's illegal.

But still it seems to be common practice in Japan and a not yet completely vanished practice in specific employment fields in France.

The line. Guess what? Tomorrow it will become easier (and already is for all the places where the facebook penetration is sky-rocketing): instead of paying a graphologist for a (possibly inaccurate) profile, you can just pay the faceboook guys to get a record of a lot of your private life wanderings, pictures, past relationships, ... Sure, it will be illegal. But still ..., and it will be way more efficient!

I'm every passing day more and more proud of having closed my facebook account more than 1 year ago (and trust me: closing a facebook account ain't easy).


Now, anyone of you can drop by on my homepage, spot a shiny linkedin logo, and call me a cheap talker. I'd concur that in a sense every social networking has bad privacy implications, but that's trivial, we all know that. Still, I think linkedin is somehow better. Why? Because it is specifically geared toward professional information. While giving information to them, I'm usually thinking about my professional "figure" and I've high barriers that are likely to inhibit me to leak personal information, or at least make me think about that.

On the contrary, with facebook you have low barriers and you are encouraged to provide personal information, and that's exactly the point of the facebook owners. (And here I'm even assuming you do have some barriers while providing information to facebook, which I'm convinced is not the case for most of its users.)

I see a parallel with the early days of blogs, where the euphoria of blogging made a lot of people mistaking their public blog with their personal diary; stuff which will strike back. While experienced bloggers develop defenses against the initial foolish attitude, people do not develop similar defenses on facebook, because that defenses will defeat the purpose of the network.

I agree on two points: 1- Facebook is a poisoned lovely-looking pie presented freely to the people who are too much into communication fads - and the people who love them. 2- Closing a Facebook account is not easy, and I'm looking for a reason

Comment by Ziad Sat 03 Jul 2010 12:52:19 AM CEST