Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed July 10 2013 15:50:18

eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

By: Ina Steiner

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After eBay moved its community areas to a new platform from Lithium Technologies, users are reporting that previously private conversations in closed Groups are now visible to anyone. "With their new boards rolled out, eBay has just committed a massive violation of user's privacy," an eBay user wrote to EcommerceBytes. Other users reported that eBay did not migrate photo albums to the new platform.

The user who wrote to EcommerceBytes said that since the move to the new platform, the thoughts that members had shared in private, "secure in the knowledge that the general public had no access to them," were now visible to other eBay members and by "anyone who wanders through."

"Members dealt with the deaths of loved ones, and that's now disclosed. A member related the saga of trying to get help through the welfare system for an autistic child. That's now public. Members shared details about their pregnancies and posted pictures of the baby after he or she was born - all now revealed. Members organised Christmas Card exchanges, posting their real names and home addresses. All of that has now been revealed to the public at large.

"People relied on that promised privacy to share intimate details of their lives and feel safe doing so. Now eBay has unilaterally and without warning removed that privacy and thrown all closed groups open to public viewing. This is an extreme violation of these people's privacy."



The user went on to say, "What's worse is that eBay doesn't seem to care. Despite the problem being brought to their attention, they have done nothing to fix the situation. They refuse to even acknowledge that it exists. They have violated these people and the damage hasn't begun to show. already the trolls that eBay allows to operate unchecked on the boards are mining all of those groups and posting about their findings."

In one discussion, an eBay member described another ramification: "Some of these groups also discuss wrongdoing and now it would seem that all and sundry can read about it, or read about themselves. This is just another example of the gross incompetence with which this change has been introduced." (Some members of closed Groups discussed bad experiences with their trading partners, for example.)

It appears some eBay group members have learned how to return their groups to closed status, but others - at least initially - had problems, as described in this thread, where an eBay moderator also confirmed that photo albums within Groups were not transferred to the new platform. Users also reported problems with the new eBay Groups on the Ecommerce EKG board.

Yesterday we asked what you thought of eBay's new discussion boards - now let us know what you think of eBay's new Groups.




Comments (21) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: askalice59

Wed Jul 10 17:16:45 2013

Wait until eBay gets it's day out in the sunshine where everyone can see their innards exposed. OMG! I am setting up my new website today. It's time to bail out, sinking ship or jail, whichever you prefer.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jul 10 21:17:42 2013

What else would one expect?  Once again, the management at Amazon.com must be simultaneously laughing and applauding.

It's like eBay are run by the Keystone cops.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

by: JenS This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 10 21:22:19 2013

incredibly unprofessional and scary for sure.  I don't like the new groups at all.  Used to I was free to say what I wanted in a private group not it appears that is going to be moderated as well.  someone actually got in trouble for the word "sob" as in cry and apparently some idiot mod thought it was SOB son of...but with the context it was clearly meant cry.  But it was a PRIVATE group anyhow so why should it matter?  those used to be moderated by the group leader. :(  I'll have a group somewhere else.  And if mods are that clueless about the context of words will probably offer less help to other members on the boards.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jul 10 21:47:14 2013

eBay has obviously betrayed the trust and confidentiality their members expected when they posted private details on what were once limited access boards.

By intentionally making these once private boards totally public, the contempt eBay management has for their members is laid bare for all to see.

If eBay had any concerns for their members privacy, they would simply have deleted all the confidential content rather than opening it to the eyes of everyone.

Now even eBay cheerleaders will understand why eBay manipulated their user agreement to deny the vast majority of users the ability to sue eBay for their deliberate exposure of confidential information.

Given the lack of business ethics at eBay, this breech of confidentially should come as no surprise to anyone.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jul 10 21:49:40 2013

You think the rejection of "sob" is funny; the Wall Street Journal comment dialogue won't accept "paypal" (that, I can understand) or "POS" (point of sale) ...

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jul 10 21:53:01 2013

I'll give eBay the benefit of the doubt in this matter and assume that it is not deliberate; I suspect that it's simply one more demonstration of their general incompetence ...

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Jul 10 23:25:56 2013

Privacy on ebay is largely an illusion except when it's in ebay's best interest (like when you report a stinker buyer).

What we buy on ebay is public information. Is this true in brick and mortar stores and most retail websites?

No. If you a credit/debit card, the bank will know how you spend your money but your neighbor won't.

Ebay keeps track of what we buy and then sells that information without your affirmative case by case approval to retailers that flood our mailboxes with catalogs.

Our seller/business information is also sold to B to B businesses without case by case affirmative approval.

Sophisticated cookies are placed on our hard drives without case by case by affirmative approval.

These cookies tell ebay each time we log how long we've been on ebay, how much on average we spend per purchase, what category or categories we normally use search for, and other marketing information so Cassini can determine what to show you as a buyer.

These same cookies tell ebay how deeply to bury your listings when we list.

There is NO privacy on ebay, and no one should ever have any expectation of privacy.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu Jul 11 07:57:40 2013

Ming says: ''There is NO privacy on ebay, and no one should ever have any expectation of privacy.''


Or more accurately these days: There is NO privacy anywhere and no one should ever have any expectation of privacy.

The news this week even has a guy popping out of a porta-potty a girl was using. Hopefully it was not NSA related.


Soon the question will be Privacy? What's a Privacy?

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Jul 11 10:38:39 2013

When it comes to eBay-f-ups, nothing surprises me any more!

Something else that won't be surprising: You'll never hear a single peep from eBay about this. Not one word. ~~ No public announcement, no private emails alerting the affected users... NOTHING!

They'll just pop their heads inside their collective asses and pretend as if it had never happened. (Who? Us? Mistake? What mistake?)

They'll just wait for the uproar and hoopla to blow over... just as they've done so many times in the past.

I don't even think that our faithful ''Seller Advocate,'' Griff, will have anything to say on the matter.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 11 13:10:13 2013

Did anyone expect anything less than a new episode of the Keystone Kops???

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 11 16:49:05 2013

Let's take a second to consider the personal subjects being disclosed in ''eBay groups'' and ask why anyone would transmit private matters to an eBay group in the first place. Don't people have other support groups for death, bankruptcy, etc.? I try not to put ANYTHING private on eBay's/agent's servers. There is no legitimate expectation of privacy in those communications.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jul 11 20:11:28 2013

''Seller Advocate,'' Griff

Annie, thank you for putting that one in quotes.  If he's a seller advocate  I'm Sheena Queen of the Pygmies.  

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Thu Jul 11 21:06:34 2013

I'm inclined to agree with RCL. There must be a lot of desperately lonely people out there. That anyone would discuss their most personal matters on an eBay forum, or any forum, with people who they cannot know is incomprehensible to me …

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

This user has validated their user name. by: kirk_detweiler

Thu Jul 11 21:26:23 2013

I think any of us with some common sense realize that ultimately nothing is private, just watch a ''Law & Order'' where they access everyone's e-mails and phone records.

And privacy gets breached and hacked, it's a risk. But people didn't expect eBay/Lithium to make a major failure like this when they had already tested the platform.

And moderating in Groups, what could be the goal sticking their new noses in there other than to sell information a 'la Facebook.

This shouldn't be swept under the rug, it should open inquiries as to other privacy concerns.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 11 22:05:37 2013

Who really thinks it was an accidental mistake?  Kind of the same as IRS getting caught - tea party crap and by mistake all donors to tea party type organizations had their social security numbers posted along with names etc..Mistake, accident sorry.  
BS

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

by: cayenna This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 12 00:06:42 2013

Well I can think of all kinds of things that eBay doesn't care about that are important, such as my photos that are copyrighted and included with my trademarks being stolen and then used against me to get people to not buy the items by putting a big red x across my photos and reusing them to sell their items. eBay never did one thing...no matter how many times I persisted. eBay's list is building and proving that they support harmful business practices, and that they are unethical. There's many other places to go to sell and buy and we need to start doing that; otherwise we are supporting eBay's practices.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 12 01:19:46 2013

All mishaps that are offensive to users, buyers and sellers had happened at ebay. Each time, at the expense of others. Ebay surely could protect itself but none of us is being protected by ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 12 10:05:11 2013

This is ebay, they have both feet in the New York Stock Exchange and that is all that matters they acquire other companies to make up for the loss on ebay marketplaces due to ignorant policies. The executives at ebay are not qualified to operate a retail business and could care less about the privacy of the groups.
Blunder after blunder, what is Amazon doing? well we need to do that to attitude.
Privacy concerns they do not care, it is only enforced when it benefits them. The hell with the users.
The policies and ignorant moves keep mounting. They have Paypal, GSI Commerce, and the advertising click money keeping ebay afloat and the loss on the actual marketplace has to be staggering.
This privacy violation is just one more nail in the coffin.
I cannot imagine the complaints that are received against ebay to various government agencies. Why is it that they are not being regulated and told to stop by our government?

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

by: JenS This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 12 20:23:16 2013

I'm not sure why sharing information on some help boards is ok but in an eBay group is sad?  Have those who are saying that seen an eBay group?  It's people who have gotten close or made friends because they have similar issues so it works the same as going to any other special board to discuss issues.  

Perminate Link for eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups   eBay Users Report Privacy and Photo Problems with New Groups

by: spirit-of-shiloh This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 21 22:03:19 2014

I HATE the Lithium moderators. They are allowing a well know troll who upsets the boards to remain. He posts drival constaantly and posts to one thread a dozen times. He also baits and bullies other posters yet gets away with it? Well,I got weak and posted to him that he bronw noses the mods and go ahead and report my post since he is a habitual reporter. Well,I am now banned forever. I have been on eBay since 2000. I think Lithium acts like nazis...very heavy handed and turns a blind eye to those who sould NEVER be allowed to troll :(

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