Facebook's own healthcare.gov-like debacle

You may recall how earlier this year Facebook settled a class action lawsuit brought by plaintiffs complaining of the use - unauthorized and uncompensated - of their names and likenesses in advertising.

(Venkat Balasubramani wrote the best post I have seen about this settlement. Here's the link.)

In Lanierian terms, Facebook's arrogance in pursuing a business model that treats users like cattle - if not to be slaughtered, then to be skinned for their likenesses - is part of the pattern by which those in charge of networks aggrandize property rights in data while denying that data has value for those contributing it.

But I digress.

3621423073_0a73e7f14a_zAs part of the settlement of the case, Facebook agreed to let users know when their names were being used to promote an ad, so that users could opt out of further distribution of the ad.

The New York Times has a story today, by Mark Mazzetti, stating that Facebook has yet to put this control into effect.

The article quotes a Facebook spokesperson, Jodi Seth, as saying the following: "The innovative controls we agreed to in connection with the settlement take time to build."

I don't buy it.

I'm going to ask several software engineers I know what they think about this answer.

This isn't healthcare.gov we're talking about here. Presumably very robust metric collection systems are already in place, to report on how user personalities are being monetized. The additional effort to give users a kill button, how hard is that effort, technically?

Photo:  Frédéric BISSON/ Flickr.

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