Facebook v. YouFace: A Privacy Faceoff

Posted October 24th, 2012 at 12:29 pm (UTC-4)
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“YouFace Is Looking Less Like A Joke On Privacy

Ross Slutsky | Atlanta GA

Have you heard of a social network called YouFace? If you’re a “30 Rock” fan, that name probably sounds familiar. For those less addicted to comedian Tina Fey, “30 Rock” is a hit TV program in the US, and in a previous season, “30 Rock” had a running joke about a social network called YouFace which served as a broad parody of Facebook in particular, and social media in general.

However, YouFace doesn’t only exist in the 30 Rock universe. As some in the tech community may already know, YouFace is a real Uzbek social network now boasting over 150,000 registered users.

This last summer, Youface received a considerable amount of negative press. But YouFace founder Ayyub Abdulloh says he’s tired of being misunderstood. Ayyub told us, “I started the YouFace network with a friend purely out of an interest in programming. I never expected it to get any attention in the Western press, let alone negative attention.”

With regard to privacy violation allegations, Abdulloh says, “The press accusations that we have somehow misused user data or violated user privacy are completely unwarranted. I did not touch the user’s data and have no right to do so. In my mind, user data belongs to the people. To use their personal belongings without their permission is criminal.”

In light of recent developments, one could reasonably conclude that in important respects, YouFace offers users greater control over data privacy than Facebook.

As Digital Frontiers previously reported, Facebook has frustrating limitations in terms of user control over contact information.  Let’s do a head to head comparison.


On Facebook, you have three different settings for how you display your contact information (everyone, friends of friends, or just friends). However, no matter what, you must make said information available to other members of the social network. Facebook does not enable users to store their contact information while keeping said information private. Let’s check out the alternative:


Unlike Facebook, YouFace respects the fact that some people might not want to publicize their contact information and gives users the option to not make such information available to other members of the social network.

For all of the grief people have given Ayyub, Facebook just might have something to learn from YouFace.


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What’s Digital Frontiers?

The Internet, mobile phones, tablet computers and other digital devices are transforming our lives in fundamental and often unpredictable ways. “Digital Frontiers” investigates how real world concepts like privacy, identity, security and freedom are evolving in the virtual world.

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October 2012
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