Wanna see a big phat privacy hole on Orkut? Go to messages. Click compose. Click “friends and friends of friends.” Click next. Copy & paste all of your friends and their friends’ email addresses.
Oh, but don’t worry, you can’t delete either your account, your photos or any of your friends! (update: i am wrong about friends.. see comments) So, do you really trust the friends of those friends who keep adding everyone and their mother to the network?
Don’t worry, when everyone gets the hang of it, you’ll get to deal with your Orkut inbox because everyone in any community you’re in, or any friends of friends can send you messages there. As if you didn’t get enough virus mail this week.
Note for those who explicitly emailed me to ask why i’m particularly cranky about Orkut, why not other sites… 1) I am notoriously critical of all of the YASNS sites; 2) i made the reference to Jar Jar for a reason…. when you hope something is going to be really good because you have respect for the company behind it and the creation comes out to be insulting to the core, you can’t help but walking out of the theatre feeling sick to your stomache. Sure, i realize that it’s alpha. But there are enough shitty YASNS out there for Google to join in and insult us through privacy violations, a dreadful ToS, non-functional software and poorly thought out social consequences.
Update: Chris posted a response from Orkut in the comments. They say that it is not a privacy hole because only the names of your friends that make their email addresses available are shown. On one hand, it is really good to hear that this is a known and intentional approach. On the other, this is not the perception that i would imagine people would have when they see that long list. This is a good example of actual privacy vs. perceived privacy. While one might think that users should just get it, this is an example where the owner should really be better about explaining what’s going on and giving people an option to opt-out.
Speaking of which, can i opt out of the friends-of-friends sending messages to me?