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"crush meme"

Anyone know anyone under 18 who took the LJ crush meme quiz? If even one such minor took it, I suspect that the guy who's perpetrating this thing is breaking federal law...

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm still not sure where I sit on this whole privacy issue. There was no privacy policy in the original quiz, and they're under no obligations to keep the information I fed to them secret, I guess. It's incredibly slimy that he won't take people's info out of his database... but.

No, it's just wrong. Don't care how impossible it would be to get people to answer these things truthfully... Don't care if it's one way to do the social engineering to make this kind of thing work. The results he put together were the wrong ones. The right ones would have been little notifications that say "You have a mutual public crush with 2 people, and mutual secret crushes with 3. Pay $4 to automatically inform both you and your mutual crushes." If people answered the quiz without worrying about this other kind of evil being perpetrated... it might have been a useful service.

On the other hand, it would be possible to put together that service wholly in the open... Though then, some people, knowing the schtick, would put crushes on all the people they thought might conceivably crush on them, and then sit back and watch the fireworks. The thing that makes that service not work is people going "Oh, I just said I crushed on everyone."

Hmm. This... doesn't work at all. But if someone were to do something like this in the future, I'd expect people to avoid it unless it has an explicitly-stated privacy policy. Which I suppose might make it ok.

All in all, it was a bad abuse of trust. The crush thing has ruined many types of quizzes for the future now, making people step back and say "hmm, how can this be abused?" And think about it, even image tags in an LJ can be used to track who's reading your lj, and from where...

Click here if you want to see me lying down in an orchard. I'll take a look at who looked at this image in my logs later on, though. :) It really is me in that pic, though. *shrug* Experiment number one.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
fyfer
Oct. 14th, 2003 03:20 pm (UTC)
I sort of see it as a good thing that this finally happened, since people might actually think about who's seeing their information when they fill it out. (I didn't fill out the quiz because I didn't want someone having a list of who I like, and I often don't actually check the radio boxes on online purity tests for the same reason; I just keep track on my own.) Hopefully no serious negative things will result. I think it's amazingly slimy of the guy, and I have a pretty low opinion of anyone who takes advantage of the naivete of the average user, but people just usually don't think about privacy at all, as far as I can tell.
avacon
Oct. 14th, 2003 06:51 pm (UTC)
Education of people and a reminder to be more careful in the future is one of the few possibly useful outcomes...
obra
Oct. 14th, 2003 06:57 pm (UTC)
There are ways of defeating "click on everyone who might have a crush on me." I spent some time on that sort of problem ;)


That said, I'm shocked that nobody has mentioned friends-only posts yet ;)
cfox
Oct. 14th, 2003 07:49 pm (UTC)
Tracking via images is done a lot
I know SIPB's helped users with setups that count hits on 1x1 images and zephyr the info.

For a while I used mozilla's "accept images from originating server only," which does cut a lot of web junk.

I can't remember why I turned it off, which I'm guessing is a reason to try again for a bit.
geekosaur
Oct. 14th, 2003 11:12 pm (UTC)
Re: Tracking via images is done a lot
I turned it off when weather.com started serving pages from www.w3.weather.com and images from www.w2.weather.com, or vice versa (they flipped sites around for a bit; it also broke my desktop-weather-map perl script when the text page kept switching between w2 and w3...).

That's the only site I'd visited in the past $N months where it mattered, though. ($N something greater than 6, but I don't recall exactly)
jered
Oct. 15th, 2003 04:12 pm (UTC)
Are you referring to COPPA regulation?

Tha only applies to 13 and under, and only applies to personally identifying information like full name, address, phone number, and email address. LJ handle probably doesn't apply.

It also only applies if you have "actual knowledge" of use by a child, as long as you're a general purpose website. Given that LJ is subject to COPPA, he might be able to ride that.

And even so, COPPA is bad law, so it's morally dubious to support using it against people you don't like.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )