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Gay Students Accidentally Outed By Facebook Privacy Flaw

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by The Scarlet Pimp, Oct 16, 2012.

  1. The Scarlet Pimp

    The Scarlet Pimp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Two gay college students were outed on Facebook because of a privacy flaw in Facebook Groups.
    Users can be added to Facebook Groups by friends without the user's permission or approval.

    If you happen to be added to a Group that you don't want to be associated with, then your only
    option is to leave. This is obviously not an effective privacy control, as shown in the scenario below.

    The two University of Texas in Austin students had been careful to keep their parents from finding
    about about their lifestyles. However, when they were added to a Facebook discussion group for
    Queer Chorus, a choir group on campus, a notification popped up and informed all of their friends.

    The group's creator had the group set on "open" settings, so everyone could see it. ("Secret" group settings hide Facebook groups from everyone, while "closed" groups still allow the names of users to be seen, but not what they're posting in the group.)

    The two students had taken great pains to hide their Facebook profiles, yet their lifestyles were still revealed by this simple privacy flaw.

    "Our hearts go out to these young people," says Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes in a Wall Street Journal article. "Their unfortunate experience reminds us that we must continue our work to empower and educate users about our robust privacy controls."

    The problem here isn't educating users about often cumbersome privacy controls ? the problem is that the privacy controls regarding this issue with Facebook Groups is fundamentally flawed. Even if you were to educate all Facebook members that anyone can be added to a public group, what is to stop situations like this from occurring? It's outrageous for Facebook to blame the lack of user education in this instance!

    All condolences are too little, too late for these two students, who are now facing angry reactions
    from their families.
     
  2. ja1myn

    ja1myn Senior Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  3. ethanmitchel

    ethanmitchel Regular Member

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    That's kinda bad... but again, that kinda doesn't make sense. They could have just said someone added them and that's it. Honestly, it might be though for them now but it's not the end of the world and saved them a bigger pain in the future.
     
  4. abdada23

    abdada23 Newbie

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    awesome
     
  5. jonoryan

    jonoryan Registered Member

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    I really do not understand why anyone would detail so much of their life on a third party website where they have absolutely no control off. It really beggars belief. Maybe it is just me, I guess almost 1 billion people could not be wrong ??
     
  6. Stupid Smurf

    Stupid Smurf Regular Member

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    I agree with it not making sense, but it can be a very big deal. Their parents could disown them and stop paying for their college education (if they are paying for it) or other severe things. If they were hiding it from their parents, it is possible their parents are religious nuts who would react in illogical ways.
     
  7. -Jericho-

    -Jericho- Jr. Executive VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I hope Facebook burns down in flames. It has to be the most worthless POS site ever. Not to mention how they manage to infiltrate every aspect of people's lives and track it.
     
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  8. ryannull

    ryannull Senior Member

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    I agree, but Google does the same thing as well.

    I am sure Facebook is going to have a MAJOR lawsuit over this. This could be the end for them.
     
  9. Hadouken

    Hadouken Registered Member

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    If my parents would disown me for being gay, I would wear bright pink and film myself humping a dude in front of 10,000 people at a gay pride parade wearing angel wings and covered in glitter. Why? Because screw them, that's why. Parents are supposed to love unconditionally.

    If you can't love your child because they are gay, that child deserves better. I would rather pay for my own college and associate only with people who accept me, than have parents who don't still love me because I am in love with a man. Especially if they were religious nuts, I would throw it right in their faces and show up to their church with my lover and a big gay smile.

    I don't think these guys were outed by a facebook privacy flaw, they were outed because someone else knew they were gay, and probably assumed they were openly gay. My parents wouldn't just assume I was gay because I joined a gay pride group. If your parents REALLY believe you are straight, they just would assume it was a gag or you were doing it to support a friend. Parents would only believe you are gay, if they already assume you are.
    [FONT=Tahoma, Calibri, Verdana, Geneva, sans-serif][/FONT]
    I think "our hearts go out to these young people" is extremely over dramatic, and if I were gay, I would actually take offense to that. People knowing your gay isn't like a disease or a family member passing away. This could be the best thing to happen to them. They can finally stop living a lie. This is 2012, nobody should be afraid to be openly gay. The only way I could understand it is if you are living in a country where you are likely to be killed or beaten or even arrested for being openly gay.

    If you are in the gay choir, please, stop lying to your parents. If they don't love you, find new people in your life who will.
     
  10. Hadouken

    Hadouken Registered Member

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    Is this serious? Or a joke? I need to know before I reply. I hope you were joking.
     
  11. danizdeman

    danizdeman Regular Member

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    This is dumb.
     
  12. General Lee

    General Lee Regular Member

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    Querr chorus.....lol
     
  13. Piratematerial

    Piratematerial Registered Member

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    So if I make a group called pedophiles corner and start adding people their family will KNOW they are pedophiles? I don't think this is such a major flaw. Come on, it's even for a Queer Chorus... that performs Onstage... There goes their big well kept secret because of facebook.
     
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  14. assphuck

    assphuck Senior Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: May 18, 2016
  15. Piratematerial

    Piratematerial Registered Member

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    Never really watched the video before, :p
     
  16. Hadouken

    Hadouken Registered Member

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    Agreed 100%! The only way these guys parents would think their kids are gay, is if they already suspected it was true. I would assume my kid was being pranked or bullied if I thought they were straight, or maybe just supporting a friend. The last thing "Queer Chorus" tells me is "Omg, my child is a homosexual!"
     
  17. The Scarlet Pimp

    The Scarlet Pimp Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Taylor McCormick was outed after he was added to a Facebook group that automatically informed friends he had joined a choir, Queer Chorus, at the University of Texas, Austin.

    AUSTIN, Texas -- Bobbi Duncan desperately wanted her father not to know she is lesbian. Facebook told him anyway.

    One evening last fall, the president of the Queer Chorus, a choir group she had recently joined, inadvertently exposed Ms. Duncan's sexuality to her nearly 200 Facebook friends, including her father, by adding her to a Facebook Inc. discussion group.

    That night, Ms. Duncan's father left vitriolic messages on her phone, demanding she renounce same-sex relationships, she says, and threatening to sever family ties.

    The 22-year-old cried all night on a friend's couch. "I felt like someone had hit me in the stomach with a bat", she says.

    Soon, she learned that another choir member, Taylor McCormick, had been outed the very same way, upsetting his world as well.

    The president of the chorus, a student organization at the University of Texas campus here, had added Ms. Duncan and Mr. McCormick to the choir's Facebook group. The president didn't know the software would automatically tell their Facebook friends that they were now members of the chorus.

    The two students were casualties of a privacy loophole on Facebook -- the fact that anyone can be added to a group by a friend without their approval. As a result, the two lost control over their secrets, even though both were sophisticated users who had attempted to use Facebook's privacy settings to shield some of their activities from their parents.

    In Austin, Ms. Duncan and Mr. McCormick, 21, deliberately tried to stay in the closet with their parents, even as they stepped out on campus. Ms. Duncan's parents home-schooled her and raised her in Newton, N.C., where the family attended a fundamentalist church.

    Now a linguistics student, she told her best friend in the summer of 2011 that she might be gay.

    Mr. McCormick, studying to become a pharmacist, came out in July 2011 to his mother in his hometown of Blanco, Texas, but not to his father, whom Mr. McCormick describes as a member of a conservative church that teaches homosexuality is sin.

    In the era of social networks like Facebook and Google Inc.'s Google+, companies that catalog people's activities for a profit routinely share, store and broadcast everyday details of people's lives.

    This creates a challenge for individuals navigating the personal-data economy: how to keep anything private in an era when it is difficult to predict where your information will end up.

    Many people have been stung by accidentally revealing secrets online that were easier kept in the past.

    In Quebec, Canada, in 2009, Nathalie Blanchard lost her disability-insurance benefits for depression after she posted photos on Facebook showing her having fun at the beach and at a nightclub with male exotic dancers.

    After seeing the photos, her insurer, Manulife Financial, hired a private investigator and asked a doctor to re-evaluate her diagnosis, according to Ms. Blanchard's lawyer.

    Ms. Blanchard didn't realize her photos were visible to the public, according to the lawyer, who added that depressed people often try to disguise their illness to family and friends. Ms. Blanchard sued to have her benefits reinstated. The matter was settled out of court.

    This past September, the National Football League pulled referee Brian Stropolo from a game between the New Orleans Saints and the Carolina Panthers after ESPN found a photo of Mr. Stropolo wearing a Saints jacket and cap that he had posted on Facebook.

    It remains unclear whether the photo was intended to be public or private.

    An NFL spokesman said, "I don't believe you will see him back on the field."
    The NFL declined to make Mr. Stropolo available.

    More...
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444165804578008740578200224.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2012
  18. harry911

    harry911 Regular Member

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    How is that a 'flaw'? The privacy option was OPEN!!
     
  19. dastard

    dastard Registered Member

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    Facebooks privacy settings are so fucking convoluted its untrue. I fucked it off months ago and decided to spend the time I would have used on fb doing more constructive things.

    Shortly after I found BHW!
     
  20. ba_laz

    ba_laz Power Member

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    Dont't think its FBs fault...using them is an option not a have to.But today nobody seems to be responsible for their own actions