Social networks - sharing information?
Thread poster: Madeleine MacRae Klintebo

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:46
Swedish to English
+ ...
Oct 8, 2010

Until recently I’ve resisted Facebook. I’ve stuck with the more professional LinkedIn and a profile here at ProZ. However, recently I felt compelled to sign up as I want to keep an eye on my teenage son and also because one of my best friends is an avid FB user.

So I signed up to FB and sent friend’s requests to them. Tonight my best friend accepted to become my “friend” (as if we hadn’t been friends for years). Then I went to my account and was able to see a number of “People I May Know”. Not wanting to be friendless I started clicking on the “Add as friend” links.

At first the possible friends I saw were either current or previous in-house colleagues from the company I work at. So I clicked away, avoiding those I can’t stand. Then up came the photo of someone I know well from the ProZ forums, but as far as I can remember, have never interacted with. Before I knew what I was doing, I sent him a friend request. And in the panel on the right, more ProZians, including a ProZ group, kept appearing.

Only then did it click in my brain that FB must has some kind of agreement with LinkedIn and ProZ to share information. How else would FB know who I am connected to on LinkedIn or that I’m signed up to ProZ?

Although I, like most people, don’t read through T&Cs, I would have assumed that sharing personal information with another social network needed explicit sign-up. I joined ProZ in 2003, i.e. prior to the development/expansion of social networking, and am pretty sure I did not agree to ProZ sharing my information with other networks.

Edited to change LinkIn to the more correct LinkedIn


[Edited at 2010-10-08 23:26 GMT]


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Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:46
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Not necessarily Oct 9, 2010

Aside from the fact that FB's privacy policy is dubious (you might want to read more about it before using any of Facebook's functions because FB might have more suprises in store for you), they don't necessarily need to interact with other portals. All that's needed is a cookie on your computer, which you most likely have if you visited Proz/LinkedIn before.

A simple example: I recently looked up a book at a shop online. Afterwards, I kept seeing ads for that very book at completely separate sites.

It's all about cookies.

(And be cautious with the amount of information you carelessly enter into your Facebook account.)


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 02:46
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
"Not so fast, stranger!" Oct 9, 2010

I think there is a factor you must take into account: what will happen in the long run, when you have too many people in your network and would prefer to have less people?

My only advice is to keep the list to a very minimum, unless you really enjoy using this site. Lots of addresses will mean lots of maintenance. Some people might be low-maintenance, while others might be addicted to the net and could become high-maintenance...


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Alex Eames
Local time: 01:46
English to Polish
+ ...
It works by email address doesn't it? Oct 9, 2010

I think it works by email address. Had I known that, I might have used a less popular one when I signed up.

Facebook persuades people to upload their email address books and then flags anyone who has your address in their address book as a possible "friend".

I would never upload my address book, but quite a lot of "friends" were suggested to me by facbook when I joined (they must have done theirs). It also sometimes suggests friends of friends.

I agree with Tomás - use sparingly, and with care. I've had a few friend requests from people I've never heard of too.

Alex Eames
http://www.translatortips.com
helping translators do better business


[Edited at 2010-10-09 07:54 GMT]


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:46
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Not cookies or email address Oct 9, 2010

Simone Linke wrote:

All that's needed is a cookie on your computer, which you most likely have if you visited Proz/LinkedIn before.

Cookies can do a lot of things (my daytime job includes marketing), for example keep track of sites/pages you visit. What they cannot do is keep track of sites/pages you visited prior to the cookie being installed on your computer.

A simple example: I recently looked up a book at a shop online. Afterwards, I kept seeing ads for that very book at completely separate sites.

That's no doubt down to cookies. I was amazed at a dynamic ad I saw yesterday, each image in the rotating banner contained camera components I've viewed over the last few days. I.e. the flash banner was dynamically populated with information from cookies. So the whole banner was put together specifically for me.
Alex & Malgorzata Eames wrote:
It works by email address doesn't it?
Facebook persuades people to upload their email address books and then flags anyone who has your address in their address book as a possible "friend".

I already knew about this and therefore specifically did not upload my address book. And hardly any of the persons that I was invited to “Add as friend” are in my address book.

I'm pretty well sussed when it comes to cookies and marketing. I don't just localise my company's website, I'm also involved in the marketing side of things.

The information about who I'm linked to at LinkedIn is not stored on my computer, cookies or no cookies. This info is stored in LinkedIn's databases and unless FB has hacked these, the only way they would have access to this info is through some kind of business agreement with LI.

This is also the case when it comes to data about people on ProZ with whom I have never directly interacted. Their data can only have been pulled from ProZ's databases. Again, hacking is unlikely so there must therefore exist some kind of business agreement between ProZ and FB.

Whilst I was very careful about what data I entered on FB, name (slightly different than here on ProZ) and DOB only, there's a lot more info about me on ProZ and LI. I'm pretty sure there's something about the sharing of info with third parties in the T&Cs for these sites, but should these sites not provide the option to opt out?

I've got nothing against companies agreeing to share data, but I would prefer them to be more upfront about this. Particularly if this is a new type of venture which occurs some time after I originally sign up to their T&Cs (I joined ProZ in 2003, before FB was a major player).


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Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:46
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
How many friends already added? Oct 9, 2010

I think this can still be a combination of all of the things mentioned already. You've probably been to Proz/LinkedIn before signing up pn Facebook (unless you've cleared your chaches right before), so there you have the cookies.

And then you mention that you've begun to click on various friend links and added them. This will also lead to more people you may know being suggested to you because of the whole "people who know them also know XYZ" chain.

Maybe you've also specified a few interests on Facebook or similar - this will give them more factors to detect people you may know. There are also Proz groups on Facebook - more possible links that will lead to certain people being suggested as friends.

By the way, you can opt out of several data sharing options, but sometimes you'll have to do so explicitly (one of the reasons why Facebook is criticized so often). Also be careful with any apps/games/quizzes/surveys etc. you use via Facebook. Many of them require you to release more personal information.

And finally, notice that you can also share stuff from Proz via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, so there clearly is a connection in place (I wouldn't necessarily call it a cooperation.. it's just one site using the apps of another).

I haven't seen any suggested friends on Facebook that I know from Proz though and I can't report the same experience you have, so this really seems to be a matter of individual circumstances and probably depends stronly on where you clicked, whom you added as friends, etc.


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:46
French to English
+ ...
Coincidence? Oct 9, 2010

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:
At first the possible friends I saw were either current or previous in-house colleagues from the company I work at.


Just to be clear -- this is a translation-related company, then?


So I clicked away, avoiding those I can’t stand. Then up came the photo of someone I know well from the ProZ forums, but as far as I can remember, have never interacted with. Before I knew what I was doing, I sent him a friend request. And in the panel on the right, more ProZians, including a ProZ group, kept appearing.


So is it not just that the ex-colleagues/other friends DO interact with these people? Effectively to Facebook, they're just "friends of friends", nothing to do with ProZ.


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:46
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Cookies are still irrelevant Oct 9, 2010

Simone Linke wrote:

You've probably been to Proz/LinkedIn before signing up pn Facebook (unless you've cleared your chaches right before), so there you have the cookies.

ProZ yes, LI I rarely visit and when I do it's usually from another computer. But yes, they will have installed tracking cookies on my computer. Tracking cookies do exactly that - track, and if you allow it, they also save your username and password. They do not, at least unless they are malicious, connect to databases held on another computer/server.

And then you mention that you've begun to click on various friend links and added them. This will also lead to more people you may know being suggested to you because of the whole "people who know them also know XYZ" chain.

None of my LI buddies, which were the ones I first saw, are on ProZ.

Maybe you've also specified a few interests on Facebook or similar - this will give them more factors to detect people you may know. There are also Proz groups on Facebook - more possible links that will lead to certain people being suggested as friends.

No interests or other personal info added on FB, only my name (slightly different from here) and DOB.


And finally, notice that you can also share stuff from Proz via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, so there clearly is a connection in place (I wouldn't necessarily call it a cooperation.. it's just one site using the apps of another).

I've seen these links, but would never consider using them. A site like ProZ adding buttons you can click would probably not need any kind of special business agreement apart from ProZ agreeing to FB's, LI's, etc. T&Cs . However, ProZ sharing their databases with a third party, whether the actual data gets transmitted or is only fed through with no actual info being sent to and retained by the third party, is a totally different matter.


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:46
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Nope Oct 9, 2010

Neil Coffey wrote:

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo wrote:
At first the possible friends I saw were either current or previous in-house colleagues from the company I work at.


Just to be clear -- this is a translation-related company, then?

Nope, the company I work for is not translation-related, it's a finance company and out of roughly 850 staff only just over 1% of us work directly with translation. My LI buddies consist mainly of my in-house colleagues who work in a variety of fields - IT, dealing, sales, etc.


So I clicked away, avoiding those I can’t stand. Then up came the photo of someone I know well from the ProZ forums, but as far as I can remember, have never interacted with. Before I knew what I was doing, I sent him a friend request. And in the panel on the right, more ProZians, including a ProZ group, kept appearing.


So is it not just that the ex-colleagues/other friends DO interact with these people? Effectively to Facebook, they're just "friends of friends", nothing to do with ProZ.

I am 99% sure that none of my LI buddies are on ProZ, they are not in the translation industry.

However, the issue is not whether or not any of my LI buddies are also registered with ProZ. The issue is the access FB has to data that can only be held on LI's and ProZ's servers.

When I signed up to FB I gave them no more than my name and DOB. The surname I use on LI and FB is just "Klintebo" rather than the "MacRae Klintebo" I use here. I gave FB no information about being a translator or the company I work for or having an account at ProZ or LI.

FB could of course have some kind of spider that crawls the internet and pulls together a picture of me from data found at ProZ and LI. But if their spider is able to access all of ProZ and LI's databases without the agreement of these companies, I have serious doubts as to the security of these databases. As I mentioned in my initial posting, the ProZians presented to me were people I have never interacted with, except reading their postings, at ProZ.

[Edited at 2010-10-09 20:19 GMT]


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Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:46
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Confused Oct 9, 2010

I'm confused. On the one hand, you say you've interacted with people you've never interacted with on Proz. On the other hand, you suspect that Proz might be sharing your data.

Of course, if you're interacting with various people you do NOT know, chances will get bigger that FB will eventually find someone you DO know.

Also, I'm not sure if we're talking about the same thing here in terms of cookies. A quick excerpt from Wikipedia:

"This tracking is most often done by on-line advertising companies to assist in targeting advertisements. For example: Suppose a user visits www.domain1.com and an advertiser sets a cookie in the user's browser, and then the user later visits www.domain2.com. If the same company advertises on both sites, the advertiser knows that this particular user who is now viewing www.domain2.com also viewed www.domain1.com in the past and may thus more effectively target the user's interests or avoid repeating advertisements. The advertiser can then build up profiles on users."

The connection between you and Proz is more than easy to make if you have cookies on your computer.

You don't seem to be an inexperienced internet user but you seem to be pretty inexperienced when it comes to Facebook. Maybe you should read some more about it first? :-/


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Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:46
Swedish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Yet again, it's not about cookies but databases Oct 9, 2010

Simone Linke wrote:

I'm confused. On the one hand, you say you've interacted with people you've never interacted with on Proz. On the other hand, you suspect that Proz might be sharing your data.

If you read my postings again you'll see that I suspect both ProZ and LinkedIn to be sharing data with FB.

Of course, if you're interacting with various people you do NOT know, chances will get bigger that FB will eventually find someone you DO know.


Where did I mention interacting with people I do not know? Out of my LI buddies, I have met at least 95% in the non-virtual flesh and the rest I have at least spoken to on the phone. On ProZ I have not added anyone to any kind of network, definitely not those that were presented to me on FB, and have only had email contact with a very few colleagues.

And I do not need wikipedia to inform me about cookied/target websites - my company uses them to distinguish between new prospects and clients. We also use cookies to track from where clients arrive at our site. What we do not do is open up our databases to third parties.

The connection between you and Proz is more than easy to make if you have cookies on your computer.

Again, the issue is not about whether I can be connected to ProZ, or LinkedIn - just try googling my name and see the results. BTW, I regularly delete cookies and other web history as doing so can speed up your connection.

What really matters is whether or not ProZ, and LinkedIn, give FB access to their databases. If they do not, can you please explain to me how I, who have only non-translator buddies on LinkedIn, can be presented with details of people on ProZ? That is people I have had no more contact with than reading their postings on ProZ. And no, I have no signed up to any of ProZ's groups on FB or LI or anywhere else.


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Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:46
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Calm down Oct 9, 2010

You're stating the same confusing things again.. you say you're confronted with details of people from Proz you don't know or interact with (other than reading their posts) and then you use this as a proof that Proz (or whoever) is obviously sharing information.

In what universe does this make sense?

By the way, my posts are not meant to offend. You don't need to become defensive. But if someone describes how they begin to click on links and add people to their friends and THEN begin to wonder,"uh, what's going on?", then this sounds a lot like those people don't know much about Facebook.

As I said, you're giving quite confusing information and before you continue to suspect foulplay, it might be better to just read a bit about how the friend suggestions etc. are generated.


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