Facebook wins ‘privacy villain of the year’ award

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook CEO

Photo via Alessio Jacona/Flickr

Mark Zuckerberg might not hang this one over his fireplace.

Everyone knows revealing personal information is built into Facebook‘s business model, but now the company has the award to prove it—not that it will want to show it to anybody. 

The European Digital Rights (EDRi), a coalition of civil rights organizations, awarded the social media giant its “privacy villain of the year” award on Thursday.

“We nominated Facebook for the award because their default settings are noxious for privacy,” Joe McNamee, executive director of EDRi, said in a statement. “To understand what privacy you are giving away when you use Facebook… well, that is impossible. Data algorithms that can make new assumptions about users are being constantly developed—even Facebook today would have difficulty knowing how they will use your data tomorrow.”

Facebook did not immediately respond to our request for comment.

Facebook has come under fire for violating privacy virtually since its inception in 2004. The company has repeatedly added privacy control settings to allow users to fine-tune who sees their posts. But it has also expanded its advertising reach outside of Facebook itself, meaning even if you aren’t on Facebook, you could still get caught up in its reach.

Even if you have your share settings dialed in, there’s a whole other set of options when it comes to Facebook advertising—and that’s where the real data collection happens. If you want to see how much data you’re really sharing with Facebook, how that information is being used to categorize you, and to tweak the things you don’t like, head over to Facebook.com/ads/preferences. You might see why “privacy villain” is an appropriate title.

Andrew Couts

Andrew Couts

Andrew Couts is the former editor of Layer 8, a section dedicated to the intersection of the Internet and the state—and the gaps in between. Prior to the Daily Dot, Couts served as features editor and features writer for Digital Trends, associate editor of TheWeek.com, and associate editor at Maxim magazine. When he’s not working, Couts can be found hiking with his German shepherds or blasting around on motorcycles.