In September, Facebook removed one of the simplest, smartest, and most important features it had for privacy and security: the "View As" button.

It was supposed to be temporary, but nearly three months later it's still gone. It's a big deal, and users are upset about it.

"View As" allowed Facebook users to temporarily see what their profiles looked like through the eyes of other Facebook users. It was very useful if you wanted to be sure you hadn't accidentally say, posted photos of your kids with a public setting, or inadvertently left up an incriminating college party photo from years ago, while you're in the middle of a job search.

Or if you just wanted to do a basic security checkup on the data you've shared over the years.

But attackers hacked "View As," Facebook reported in a blog post almost three months ago, which "allowed them to steal Facebook access tokens which they could then use to take over people's accounts."

Almost 50 million accounts were affected, and one of Facebook's responses was to shut off "View As" "temporarily  ... while we conduct a thorough security review."

That was almost three months ago. Nothing has happened since then that the public can see. A Facebook spokesperson told me via email only that: "We will share updates when they are available."

In other words, for now, no timeline. That's hugely embarrassing for Facebook, or at least should be.

Because in a time when it's almost impossible to keep up with the privacy and security news about Facebook -- say, the new photo-related data leak from last week that affected 6.8 million users, or the insanely creepy patent Facebook sought for technology that lets them predict where users will travel before the users themselves know - this "View As" business stands out to me as shocking.

Failing to fix and return "View As" functionality is the equivalent of Facebook flying a white flag.

If it can't keep your information private while you're literally using a function designed to hep you control privacy, how can it expect users to have faith in Facebook's ability to do anything else?

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Here's what else I'm reading today:

The CEO of HQ Trivia and co-founder of Vine has died

Colin Kroll was 35 years old, and was reportedly found in his apartment, dead of a reported drug overdose. He'd been co-founder of at least two business viral sensations: Vine, the six-second video app Twitter bought and ultimately shut down, and HQ Trivia, which was at one point hovered in the top 10 most downloaded apps on on iTunes, but has hit rockier times of late.
--TMZ and The Daily Beast

The most hated Youtube video of all time includes a big surprise

In just eight days, more than 11 million people "downvoted" a yearend wrap-up video on YouTube. Even more embarrassing: it was YouTube itself that produced it and posted it to its official channel.
--Bill Murphy Jr., Inc.

Here are all the worst innovations of 2018

From robot bartenders to extremely hackable child trackers to a TV that's also a wall, they're all here.
--Kevin J. Ryan, Inc.

Inside the new 23,000-square foot Starbucks

It's huge, expensive, has a bar, has table service--and is across the street from another Starbucks.
--Sophie Downes, Inc. 

An open letter to Elon Musk

A fan of the "genius" CEO has a message for Musk after reports that he demeaned employees: "We need you to be a role model, not just another workplace bully."
--Geoff James, Inc.

Published on: Dec 17, 2018
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