I have been data-mined

13 08 2010

A while back, as you probably know, Facebook changed how it handled the various favourites sections (favourite TV shows, books, movies, and so on). Instead of just providing a text field in which you could list your favourites, Facebook has created pages for each favourite. If you specify, say, The Great Gatsby as one of your favourite books, Facebook links you to a special The Great Gatsby page that can viewed by anyone who searches for it on the web. This page lists all of the people who have linked to it, which is a breach of privacy.

For this reason, I got rid of all my favourites lists. But, clearly, Facebook has stored them somewhere. Lately, its Recommended Pages section has been suggesting pages that have obviously been generated from my old lists. However, they haven’t got it quite right: they’re randomly generating page names from my list, even if those page names don’t exist or even make sense. For instance, today’s recommended pages include “Doing Stuff With Photoshop” and “Early Genesis” (my list of favourite music included “early Genesis” – in other words, before Phil Collins took over the group). Plus I am still getting random recommendations, such as Andre Arruda, whom I have never heard of. I wonder how their algorithms came up with that?

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