Bing already facing privacy issues with Facebook integration

Bing’s Social Search Facebook integration arrives today, and the controversies have only yet just begun. In their announcement blog post, Bing points out an interesting little tidbit.

Assuming you have selected to share information with your friends inside Facebook, you will show up in profile searches in Bing, even if you have selected not to have profile information show up in public search engines. This is similar behavior to the way Facebook works. It’s important to note that you will not show up in web searches on major search engines including Bing, just in Facebook Profile Searches within Bing conducted by your friends or friends of friends.

Basically, if you decide that Facebook shouldn’t show your profile information to public search engines, Bing will proudly display the information anyways. Since Bing is so heavily integrated with facebook now, it apparently uses the same privacy rules as Facebook, and profile searches done in Bing will have the same rules as if you were searching directly from Facebook. While the information is only displayed to friends and friends of friends, if you say you don't want data given to public search engines, Facebook is still doing just that. This is bound to ruffle some feathers.

As the new wave of social search platforms begins to emerge, we’ll be seeing a lot of line-blurring between social networks and search engines. In an era where your social makeup consists of data in a database, the differences between a social network and a search engine become slighter and slighter. Privacy issues like this one will likely start coming to the forefront of the privacy news front, as people begin to see the consequences (both good and ugly) of public sharing.

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38 Comments

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SuperHans said,
If this was Google I'd be going mental! But it's Microsoft so it's OK.

Am I cool now Neowin?


Except Microsoft have done nothing wrong and this is not a privacy issue, whatsoever, as I have pointed out in my many comments above.

Calum,
You miss the point - Bing is like (or should be like) any other 3rd party App to Facebook.
I should have to authenticate it to my Facebook profile like any other app that needs access to my profile data.
Instead Facebook has made all of my friend network available to Bing under the hood without me having to do that 3rd party authentication.
They do provide a facility to Block Bing as an app later but most people will not know about this or find it.

So basically Facebook has chosen to give my friend network data to a 3rd party that I don't trust.
That isn't good.

Liassic said,
Calum,
You miss the point - Bing is like (or should be like) any other 3rd party App to Facebook.
I should have to authenticate it to my Facebook profile like any other app that needs access to my profile data.
Instead Facebook has made all of my friend network available to Bing under the hood without me having to do that 3rd party authentication.
They do provide a facility to Block Bing as an app later but most people will not know about this or find it.

So basically Facebook has chosen to give my friend network data to a 3rd party that I don't trust.
That isn't good.


No. You have given permission for Facebook to give Bing your data by not disabling Instant Personalisation.

Please read the following page, which I have already linked to: http://www.facebook.com/settin...ad003871fb2172b9e2a652697bb. If that takes you straight to the privacy settings, rather than the Instant Personalisation page, click on 'Edit your settings', underneath the 'Applications and websites' heading and click 'Instant personalisation' on the resulting page.

As I have already pointed out, Instant Personalisation is a different concept and feature to general Facebook applications; thus, the process is different. With Instant Personalisation, one does not authorise the 3rd party applications, they either enable Instant Personalisation or they disable it. If a user has enabled Instant Personalisation, any of Facebook's (currently few) IP partners will have access to certain information (explained in the page I suggested you navigate to). This doesn't just happen with Bing, it happens with Rotten Tomatos and a few others. Obviously, one can remove these applications afterward, if they don't wish them to have access to their data.

If anything, the issue is a general issue about Facebook's Instant Personalisation, as a whole, and how one doesn't authorise specific applications through it; however, the issue certainly isn't narrow to Bing's integration of this, as you, the article and others appear to be making out - the Bing team are just following a process Facebook have put in place.

Again, Facebook have given you a way to disable Instant Personalisation completely, so I don't really think you can blame them for giving your data to a source you don't trust. Facebook did make Instant Personalisation clear to users by placing a notice at the top of their News Feed when it was introduced. Perhaps they could make the feature more obvious, but it really is up to the user to check ALL of their privacy settings and the user really should not blame the company, when the company have placed the option there.

Edited by Calum, Nov 3 2010, 2:07pm :

lol @ "it's not an issue".
the issue is this:
you will show up in profile searches in Bing, even if you have selected not to have profile information show up in public search engines.
Facebook setting = do NOT show in public search engine.
and,
Bing = public search engine.
doesn't matter only "firends" and/or "friends of friends" can see it, it's still in a public search engine when i explicitly said NO in FB setting.
you can give it a fancy name like "profile search" instead of just regular search. but still you're not respecting my settings.

nice of them to tell me the truth straight up though.

likeAP said,
lol @ "it's not an issue".
the issue is this:
you will show up in profile searches in Bing, even if you have selected not to have profile information show up in public search engines.
Facebook setting = do NOT show in public search engine.
and,
Bing = public search engine.
doesn't matter only "firends" and/or "friends of friends" can see it, it's still in a public search engine when i explicitly said NO in FB setting.
you can give it a fancy name like "profile search" instead of just regular search. but still you're not respecting my settings.

nice of them to tell me the truth straight up though.


You are completely wrong. I'll explain the situation to you and why it isn't an issue The following is directed at anybody who believes this is a privacy issue, rather than specifically at you, because I have copied it from a posting of mine elsewhere.

For this integration, Bing is using Facebook's Instant Personalisation feature to show a currently signed in user relevant information. More information on that feature is [url="http://www.facebook.com/settin...ion&h=68404270db58";]here[/url]. As can be seen from that link, Facebook clearly explains to the users which information their partners will be receiving and all users have the option to turn Instant Personalisation off.

When users opt out of the Public Search feature, they visit [url="http://www.facebook.com/settin...270db587d71287f25bf346473ab "]this page[/url]. Firstly, nowhere on the above page does it specify that a user should disable Public Search if they "don't wish their data to be given to public search engines." But that isn't the point. The point is: Instant Personalisation is completely different to the Public Search feature.

If a user turns off Public Search, Bing will still provide the integration as long as the user still has Instant Personalisation enabled. This isn't crafty or a privacy overlook because the two features are different. There is no issue because Facebook and Bing are still completely respecting a person's privacy settings.

It's not about "not giving a user's data to search engines;" it's about the features and how they work.

Not only are both entities respecting a user's privacy and Facebook settings, but they also give users many easy ways of opting out and removing Bing as an application. However, that is all still beside the point.

People need to be clear; if they have disabled the Public Search feature, others will not be able to search for their profile, within Bing, if they do not have them added as a friend (likewise, if a user has restricted their likes from a certain person, that person will not be able to see that user's likes within Bing).

I hope none of that sounded rude. I'm just trying to explain in further detail why this is not an issue.

Edited by Calum, Nov 3 2010, 3:19am :

28 people have 'tweeted' this... Why? Bing respects one's Facebook privacy settings completely. There is no issue, whatsoever.

Owatonna said,
Calum do you affliate with Bing in someway? You have commented on this article multiple times defending them.

No, I don't. I am just a huge fan of both Microsoft and Facebook and dislike the fact they are receiving unjustified bad press, for something which is not even true.

I am defending them because it is unfair that people are lying about them (intentional or otherwise)

If they really did not respect users' privacy and settings, with this integration, I would be giving them bad press as well because they would deserve it.

I have commented on this article multiple times because there are many misguided commenters to respond to.

This is not an issue. You show up in that little Facebook card thing if your friend searches. your friend, that's already seen this same post that shows up on Bing.

Can any of you coppertops tell me what is Facebook's redeeming value? It treats its users as nothing more than sheep to be sheared.

schwit said,
Can any of you coppertops tell me what is Facebook's redeeming value? It treats its users as nothing more than sheep to be sheared.

What makes you believe Facebook treat their users this way? I strongly disagree.

schwit said,
Can any of you coppertops tell me what is Facebook's redeeming value?
How about the whole social thing it offers?

schwit said,
Can any of you coppertops tell me what is Facebook's redeeming value? It treats its users as nothing more than sheep to be sheared.

Coppertop?

If you have your profile set to only show to friends, it only shows on Bing searches done by your friends. I don't see how that is a privacy issue...

I'm more concerned about mylife.com. Somehow they have my age, parents name and age, and brothers and sisters, and age. I have no idea how they got this. My parents aren't on facebook or anything!

bguy_1986 said,
Somehow they have my age, parents name and age, and brothers and sisters, and age. I have no idea how they got this. My parents aren't on facebook or anything!
Census information?

"Basically, if you decide that Facebook shouldn't show your profile information to public search engines, Bing will proudly display the information anyways." that is completely wrong.

And it's not Friends or Friends of Friends, is however you've set it - so if only friends, it won't show to friends of friends.

dancedar said,
"Basically, if you decide that Facebook shouldn't show your profile information to public search engines, Bing will proudly display the information anyways." that is completely wrong.

And it's not Friends or Friends of Friends, is however you've set it - so if only friends, it won't show to friends of friends.


You are correct. Bing's Facebook integration honours one's privacy settings completely.

M2Ys4U said,
Facebook involved in a privacy controversy? I don't believe it!!

No kidding. Absolutely terrible security on that site.

M2Ys4U said,
Facebook involved in a privacy controversy? I don't believe it!!

Actually... this isn't a privacy controversy.

The Bing team make this perfectly clear - if a friend can search for you within Facebook, they can search for you on Bing (and see the information YOU share with them); however, your profile will not show up as a 'public search listing' inside any search engine, INCLUDING Bing, unless you specify you'd like that.
Both Facebook and Bing make this clear and it is also obvious that there are no privacy issues with Bing's Facebook integration.

I thought facebook had decided to simplify their privacy policies, but this is a mess. Even if they actually honour your "only friends" settings.

Julius Caro said,
I thought facebook had decided to simplify their privacy policies, but this is a mess. Even if they actually honour your "only friends" settings.

It is not a mess at all. The Bing team make this perfectly clear - if a friend can search for you within Facebook, they can search for you on Bing (and see the information YOU share with them); however, your profile will not show up as a 'public search listing' inside any search engine, INCLUDING Bing, unless you specify you'd like that.

Both Facebook and Bing make this clear and it is also obvious that there are no privacy issues with Bing's Facebook integration.

Article completely misrepresents this. This is not an issue. They explicitly stated "It's important to note that you will not show up in web searches on major search engines including Bing, just in Facebook Profile Searches within Bing conducted by your friends or friends of friends."
Searches by friends obviously respect your privacy settings towards the searcher.

omnicoder said,
Article completely misrepresents this. This is not an issue. They explicitly stated "It's important to note that you will not show up in web searches on major search engines including Bing, just in Facebook Profile Searches within Bing conducted by your friends or friends of friends."
Searches by friends obviously respect your privacy settings towards the searcher.

Correct!

If my Profile will appear in a search of a friend WITHIN Facebook anyway, and that RuleSet applies to Bing, then I have no issues with it.

Well I don't think it's that big of a deal, considering a lot more people use Google anyhow, and if anything, you'll only have to worry about your own friends on Facebook, or friends of your friends on Facebook being able to see.

Quikboy said,
Well I don't think it's that big of a deal, considering a lot more people use Google anyhow, and if anything, you'll only have to worry about your own friends on Facebook, or friends of your friends on Facebook being able to see.

And why am I still worried? Even if this wasn't mentioned, it doesnt mean that friend results won't show up in google as well..

Quikboy said,
Well I don't think it's that big of a deal, considering a lot more people use Google anyhow, and if anything, you'll only have to worry about your own friends on Facebook, or friends of your friends on Facebook being able to see.
Correct. It's not a big deal. If you don't want your info to be displayed, then just don't give it to them. Don't bitch and whine after you have already buried yourself in the grave you dug.

Well I don't think it's that big of a deal, considering a lot more people use Google anyhow, and if anything, you'll only have to worry about your own friends on Facebook, or friends of your friends on Facebook being able to see.

Quikboy said,
Well I don't think it's that big of a deal, considering a lot more people use Google anyhow, and if anything, you'll only have to worry about your own friends on Facebook, or friends of your friends on Facebook being able to see.

Exactly. Didn't matter if my profile will appear in Bing, if the Facebook Ruleset say I should appear in Facebook Searches anyway.

The issue therefore, is the ambiguity of "Don't make my profile appear in search engines". It should clarify that the option is for search engines that do Not use the Facebook Social Graph.