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The New York Times is requesting permission to do the following
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Robert Charlton

 8:44 am on Oct 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

Generally, when I click the "F" next to an article I want to Recommend on Facebook, I don't encounter a major contract. On several occasions when I've wanted to recommend a New York Times article, though, I've been presented with the following, which, on the surface, anyway, seems forbidding....

Request for Permission

The New York Times is requesting permission to do the following:

Access my basic information
Includes name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends, and any other information I've shared with everyone..

Send me email
Which address would you like to use?
- Facebook Contact Email
- An Anonymous email address

Access my data any time
The New York Times may access my data when I'm not using the application.

Access my profile information
Likes, Music, TV, Movies, Books, Quotes, About Me, Interests, Groups, Birthday, Hometown, Current City, Website, Education History and Work History

Use of this data is subject to the The New York Times Privacy Policy

I'm wondering...

a) whether the Times is simply being more thorough and up front than other publishers, and that this is the access everyone is getting... but that they unfortunately chose a lawyer to write their notice....

- or...
b) whether the Times actually wants more access... perhaps to target my Friends for their advertising (which actually might be an improvement over what ads they're seeing now).

In my case, I haven't shared my list of Friends with Everyone, just with my Friends, so I don't know whether in fact the Times would be getting anything private from me. (Maybe I need to hire a lawyer to tell me that. ;) )

I assume they want access to my photo, eg, just to run it on Facebook with my Comments, just like all my other Comments... and my email just to alert me that someone has commented on my post, etc etc....

I'm also wondering whether this kind of request is so daunting that it drives referrers away. It's so far caused me to back off from recommending anything from the Times. Is this the way to do it, or not to do it?



 12:06 pm on Oct 8, 2010 (gmt 0)

The word that comes to mind is "layers", as in "layers of issues, concerns and deals".

Issues: harmonizing corporate privacy policies to (possibly, legally) allow the sharing of data, compliance with federal and State data privacy law, harmonizing terms of service or agreements with users to enable the re-use of data by entities with whom individuals have not yet entered into agreements about data sharing

Concerns: bad buzz or public relations, loss of trust or affinity

Deals: personal data = valuable data = marketable commodity = every possible effort to a) "control" (maintain exclusive rights); b) "usurp control", and, c) to "slow cook" consumers out of their privacy.

Surely these are ("may you live in) "interesting times".


 5:57 pm on Oct 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'm thinking that NYT simply wants more metrics concerning its content getting disseminated on Facebook.

Most of us publishers don't have access to metrics on how many men versus women are sharing links on Facebook, or how many California residents versus Texas residents. But it sounds like NYT has the resources and credentials to get something like that out of Facebook.


 12:44 am on Oct 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

They can also get it if you copy the link and post it manually it seems, or at least it comes up in the sidebar of some sites if you do it like that.


 4:06 am on Oct 31, 2010 (gmt 0)

I'd certainly back away from that. They want to be able to send me email because I did them a favor and put a link to their website on Facebook? That seems like way to much information they want access to but anymore you never know what people have access to especially via Facebook.

It seems like more and more sites are accessing or trying to access that type of thing. Ended up on Buy.com when looking for something and got some kind of a popup about going shopping with my (Facebook) friends. Um, no thanks.

Robert Charlton

 7:50 am on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

Following up on my original question, I just came across this in the NYT privacy policy, and I'm not sure I understand it....

When you share or recommend (with or without adding your own comments) any NYTimes.com articles or content to your Facebook profile, that action is governed by the Facebook Privacy Policy. We do not track or store a record of those comments or actions.

It suggests that it's not the Times that's collecting the data suggested the Time's "Request for Permission", but rather it's Facebook, and that doesn't make intuitive sense in view of the wording of the Time's request. Perhaps they're talking about a different kind of "privacy" when it comes to the specifics of the comment, vs privacy issues regarding the list of friends and personal information, which they are using to indicate that I Liked the article.


 8:54 am on Mar 27, 2011 (gmt 0)

I get the same kinds of warnings when I choose to respond to some action by someone else that has a relation to my profile. Stuff like answering a question or something and opting in to some app or other. I just click no and back away from Facebook. Flashback AOL circa 1998.

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