Interview of Compromise: Facebook Employee Reveals All Internal Secrets

This entire issue comes off as one of those escalating affairs to me. First, it was the long drawn open letter by Mark Zuckerberg promising us that the privacy controls would be simpler lauded by most. However, in a few days’ time people realized that the apple had fallen quite far from the tree. Not only was your profile picture available to everyone around you, but the most private people found that searching for their profiles were open to friends of friends and could not be changed to only friends (this has been changed recently).

In response, Zuckerberg said in an interview that people have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. A lot of long-time users were quite agitated about this issue and while some control was given back to the users, most were still prescribing to the be friendly to every Tom, Dick and Harry on Facebook! Make it viral! Spread the color of your bra to everyone!norm. (The last part, not really!)

Facebook logo

So when a Facebook employee tells us that there is a master password that can be used to log in to any account and that in the past it has been misused, it comes off as disastrous.

The Rumpus interviewed the aforementioned unnamed Facebook employee who pointed out quite a few things that are stored on Facebook’s servers from the number of likesto the number and content of messages (the privateones) are all stored in the servers and are completely accessible to the engineers who drive the website:

Employee: We track everything. Every photo you view, every person you’re tagged with, every wall-post you make, and so forth.

More alarming is the fact that there was a master password (which, thankfully could only be accessed from the Facebook office’s computers, using their ISP). Here is the snippet of the conversation (emphasis added for effect):

Rumpus: You’ve previously mentioned a master password, which you no longer use.

Employee: I’m not sure when exactly it was deprecated, but we did have a master password at one point where you could type in any user’s user ID, and then the password. I’m not going to give you the exact password, but with upper and lower case, symbols, numbers, all of the above, it spelled out Chuck Norris,’ more or less. It was pretty fantastic.

Rumpus: This was accessible by any Facebook employee?

Employee: Technically, yes. But it was pretty much limited to the original engineers, who were basically the only people who knew about it. It wasn’t as if random people in Human Resources were using this password to log into profiles. It was made and designed for engineering reasons. But it was there, and any employee could find it if they knew where to look.

In fact, the cases of employees logging in to other peoples’ account became so frequent that the position of Chief Privacy Officer was invented, so to speak, to deal with the problem.

Rumpus: Are your managers really on your ass about it every time you log in as someone else?

Employee: No, but if it comes up, you’d better be able to justify it. Or you will be fired.

Rumpus: I would imagine they take this—

Employee: Pretty seriously. I don’t really f*** around, at all.

Rumpus: They invented a Chief Officer position for it, Chris Kelly, right?

Employee: Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, correct. Running for Attorney General of California.

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The rest of the interview is inherently fascinating as the employee talks about the massive amount of photos stored in the servers, easily calling Facebook the largest photo distributor in the worldand goes on about the engineers in employ as well as the bizarre and weird cases they had to field. Interesting indeed, but worrying too. If Facebook has an officer in chair to curb the amount of privacy abuse in their own offices, how much can we trust them when they change their ToS and privacy controls with misleading blog posts to account for?

This morning when I wanted to change my privacy settings with regard to search, I found this waiting for me:

PrivacyFacebook

My information is safe indeed. I think it is time I switched to a seriously privacy centric platform. Problem is, with its market penetration, slew of features and the inertia of existing users, I know I’ll be alone in the new socializing engine, if at all I do switch.

Techie Interview: Aravind Jose From AravindJose.com

After a brief (rather long) break, we are back with , where we interviewed several interesting bloggers from the tech world, we are once again open to receiving Techie interviews and you can submit yours by visiting this interview form, which we created using , and if you are interested here is how you can create online surveys using Google Docs.

So let us kick start this interview by introducing you to a Aravind Jose a young tech blogger from India, Aravind blogs at AravindJose.com so make sure to follow him through his website.

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Some of this info may be outdated, Aravind please feel free to update us, if you think that some of the info is old and we will refresh them right away.

Introduction

Can you Introduce yourself and your blog to our readers?

Aravind from Kerala, India. I blog at AravindJose.com giving out Fresh Thoughts and Insights, which are mostly tech/web related.

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Techie Interview: Abhishek Bhatnagar From Technix Update

Welcome to another episode of Techie Interviews where we interview some of the top Asian tech bloggers. In this episode we will be interviewing Abhishek Bhatnagar from Technix Update.

Introduction

Can you Introduce yourself and your blog to our readers?

abhishek-bhatnagar I am software engineer by profession and blogger by passion,   I love fixing computer troubles, has been playing with computers troubles for 4 years now.

I am a strong windows lover but also adopted Linux when it was available with command line interface only, in 2nd year of my engineering, I love exploring things and a early adopter when it comes to new software’s, technology and gadgets. I am a part time troubleshooting consultant for computer problems but for friends and for free :)

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Techie Interview: Siddharth aka Rockstar Sid From Blogote

Welcome to another episode of Techie Buzz interviews, where we interview some of the top Asian tech bloggers. In this episode we will be interviewing Siddharth aka Rockstar Sid from Blogote.

Siddharth is a great guy and I have known him for some time, he specifically asked me to use the avatar as his picture, that’s him :). So go ahead and enjoy the interview now.

Introduction

Can you Introduce yourself and your blog to our readers?

siddharth-aka-rockstar-sid Definitely I am not a smart,creative or genius guy around.Just a normal human being with simple dreams and no extra ordinary powers.Determined luck and dedicated GOD changes one’s life! Not a follower of "Hard work" and still I believe that everyone gets lucky someday! My blog – http://blogote.com,another blog about tech life which is yet to be known,currently in mom’s womb which is supposed to burst out within 9 months ;)

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Techie Interview: Karthik Ramadoss from Shankri-la

Welcome to another featured series at Techie Buzz, where we interview some of the top Asian tech bloggers. In this series we will be introducing you to some of the best technology bloggers who talk and walk technology. In today’s episode we are talking with Karhik Ramadoss who blogs at Shankri-la, a place where technology meets daily life.

The interview is divided into 4 different categories and tries to find the personal and blogging preferences of the top tech bloggers.

Introduction

Can you Introduce yourself and your blog to our readers?

karthik-ramodasI am Karthik Ramadoss and 30 years old. Born in Chennai and living in Michigan, US. I started out reading blogs like Lifehacker, Slashdot, etc and have always been fascinated with technology & Internet. I started playing with WordPress and created Shankrila.com as a personal blog. Soon, I realized I wanted to write more about my interesting finds in the Internet to share it with my friends and family and anyone else interested. Now, that has grown into a blog that is today and thankful to all my readers who made this possible. More Here.

Personal Preferences

Operating System Preference: Windows, Linux or Mac?

Linux & Windows in that order. Linux – the endless freedon you get with it. I have secretly known to lust after Macbooks but haven’t gotten by hands on one yet.

Continue reading Techie Interview: Karthik Ramadoss from Shankri-la