April 16, 2012 at 12:14 PM ET
Information on your Facebook profile via the socialnetwork's Download Your Information feature now includes a full list of everyperson you've ever tried to friend – whether that person accepted your offer ofFacebook friendship or not. And as Ars Technica points out, knowing who isn'tinterested in being your Facebook friend can be just as valuable as knowing whois.
"Friend requests you've sent that havenever been accepted, or vice versa, are an interesting form of data in and ofthemselves; they highlight relationship inequalities on a platform wherefriendship must, by default, be mutual," writes Ars Technica'sCasey Johnston. "While a never-accepted friend request may just indicateunequal affections, two people with heavily overlapping social circles who arenot friends with each other could suggest an active dislike — a piece of datathat Facebook could track and use."
(Facebookhas not returned requests for comment.)
As we reported, Facebook announced additions to your available Facebookaccount history last week, a service it introduced in 2010. Previously, theDownload Your Information featured allowed you go access your history of photos,posts, messages and a list of friends and chat conversations. The addedinfo listed on the social network's Facebook and Privacy page includes IP addresseswhere you've logged on and previous names you've used on the site, as as yourFacebook friend requests (accepted or not).
"Big deal," you may be thinking. "Who careswho I'm not friends with?" While Facebook is likely not obsessing on yourrejections any more than you probably should be, it is another bit of vitalinformation for Facebook's social graph — a map of how everyone is connected.Using information on what you do (or don't do) online, and who you do (or don'tdo) it with, Facebook optimizes its service for you, third party developers,and of course, advertisers.
That's what Sen. Al Franken D-Minn. was talking about in his recent speech for the American Bar Association's Antitrust Section, when he said that "accumulating data about you isn’t just a strange hobby for (Facebook, as wellas Google). It’s their whole business model. And you are not their client. Youare their product."
-- via Ars Technica
Helen A.S. Popkin goes blah blah blah about online privacy, then asks you to join her on Twitter and/or Facebook. Also, Google+. Because that's how she rolls.