Facebook Changes And Alter Egos
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Apr 22, 2010
Facebook has been busy lately. There’s all sorts of changes going on, some controversial, some seemingly unnecessary, and all generating a lot of buzz and noise. Let’s take a look at some of it.
The first thing they’ve done is announced that they’re going to be sharing our personal information with some of their advertising partners so those advertisers can “better serve our needs.” Frankly I don’t like this one bit, and the only thing I’m thankful for is that I have Firefox as my browser, so I have a script running that blocks almost all ads already. Still, the idea that they’re sharing my information, such as it is, with anyone else is irritating.
The difference between this and Beacon, if you remember that, is that you won’t be tracked all across the internet, which is what Beacon was going to do. So, you now have to make more decisions as to what you’re sharing on Facebook with others. I’m fairly secure; I have my business information, some stuff about books, and I occasionally post something either business related or funny; anyone tracking me isn’t going to know what to make of me.
The second thing they’ve announced is that they’ve partnered with thousands of sites to add a “Like” button somewhere on those sites. This means if you’re surfing and you see something that’s interested you or that you were intrigued by, you can click on that button and it will show up on your wall so your friends can see what you like. Once again, this is a choice you get to make, so I don’t have a major problem with that, since I can’t see this being anything I’m going to use that often. I say it that way because I’m known to go to Twitter and post links to things I’ve read that I find intriguing, so you never know. And, once again, if the partners are tracking my wall they’re going to be confused as sin.
Next, you saw my post about creating a Facebook fan page for my business a few days ago. Well, Facebook is now changing “become a fan” to “like” as well, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since I’ve always cringed a little about the fan thing. However, they’re also going into what’s known as “real time search”, which means anything you hook on to or say will be immediately searchable on Google, Bing, etc. Now, your words and actions will be able to be tracked on the search engines whether or not other people are on Facebook or not; ouch! For me, I have no problem with the groups I join, but for some, joining a group with a name such as “Big Breasted Babes In England” showing up on the internet if they’ve applied for a job and HR is researching their information isn’t going to be something they’re going to be able to get away from.
What all of this has prompted is some outrage, and some people having a bit of fun at their expense. Has anyone checked out Lamebook, the Facebook parody site? There’s over 100,000 people who are following it; just amazing. If you look at it, you’ll notice that it has a couple of things that are also on Facebook, such as “comment” and “like”, but it has something else called “dislike”. It turns out that many people are wishing Facebook would add a Dislike button, and indeed this guy has created an application for Firefox called Facebook Dislike Button. What people will think of, right?
What’s my opinion? We can’t be surprised anymore by some of the things Facebook is doing. They deserve to make money, and they’re still not going to a paid model like Ning. If they’re sharing your information with advertisers, well, if you put stupid stuff on there that’s on you. Something I’m surprised about is how many websites you can go to where they’ll allow you to sign into your Facebook account to comment, and even if you haven’t signed in if you’ve signed in on your browser and haven’t signed out, you visit sites and you’ll see people who are your friends on there and what they’re saying in their news stream, as well as other Facebook people who have intentionally signed in to comment on something on the page you’re on. In other words, we’re already being tracked to some degree, and we didn’t even get to see any terms of service on it.
So it goes; how are you liking social media?