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Facebook Changes And Alter Egos

Posted by 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?

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I’m glad to see the “become a fan” gone, that sounded weird. “Like” is better and I can see how they can use it “globally” on more websites, it’s easier to like something than become a fan of it.

Regarding the advertisers – I don’t mind if advertisers can say “show this ad to xx years old male from xx that likes xx” and then I’ll see it. It’s a lot better than showing me ads for baby wipes. BUT – I don’t want my private information (and preferable not my “likes”) to be shared with advertisers. As I said, I don’t mind being targeted, but I don’t want the advertisers to do it directly, it will have to be done within the facebook “framework” so they cannot say “oh, that guy Klaus, what a loser!”.
.-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..Three New iPhone Ads – Backpacker, Dog Lover & Family Man =-.

April 22nd, 2010 | 4:09 PM

I agree, Klaus, I don’t think it’s a good way to go, but it seems if we want to be on Facebook it’s something we have to deal with, unfortunately. Hopefully they’ll step sending me those ads for trying to find someone to date, which I keep getting though my page says I’m married.

April 22nd, 2010 | 8:09 PM

Maybe those date ads are targeted at men who blogs about cleavage? 😀

By the way, I checked Google Earth – it suggests going north from Ithaca and then left on the 490 to get to Niagara Falls. I think I’ll do that one instead, as after Niagara Falls I’ll be going to Corning, so then I’ll be driving on the 390. Thanks for the tip though 🙂
.-= Klaus @ TechPatio´s last blog ..Three New iPhone Ads – Backpacker, Dog Lover & Family Man =-.

April 23rd, 2010 | 4:44 AM

That’s funny, Klaus! lol However, I was getting those ads way before then.

I figured if you popped directions in that it wouldn’t have you coming through Syracuse first, which would be kind of a backtrack for where you want to go.

April 23rd, 2010 | 10:54 AM

These are some interesting changes i kind of like the term like instaed of fan however give it time and see if this makes any difference.
.-= lawmacs´s last blog ..Simple Writing Tips For Beginners =-.

April 22nd, 2010 | 6:41 PM

It might, Lawmacs, since it seems silly sometimes thinking of ourselves as fans in this manner.

April 22nd, 2010 | 8:10 PM

I actually think this is a good feature for e-commerce websites. It’s great if a site visitor can “Like” a certain product and that Like gets published on that person’s Facebook wall so that others could see the products they like. It’s definitely better than Become A Fan, which was not specific to a particular product. In terms of privacy though, I think we have long since started on a slippery slope…

April 23rd, 2010 | 1:57 PM

I’m with you, Josh. Course, the message is now that you can go into your privacy application settings and turn that off, which I did. Not sure how extensive it is, but at least I’m taking my shot at blocking some of my information.

April 23rd, 2010 | 4:02 PM

Like you Mitch I don’t approve of them sharing my information at all without my approval. Still I’ve nothing to hide and I don’t spend all that much time on Facebook anyway.

The like button doesn’t bother me but I reckon if people overuse it that others may get a little annoyed.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Is Disqus Costing You Comments? =-.

April 23rd, 2010 | 8:30 PM

I saw it for the first time on a couple of sites I visited today; just seems so weird.

April 23rd, 2010 | 10:41 PM

I like “like” better than the previous be a “fan” thing also. Actually why would I be a fan of someone unless the person is a celeb of some sort:) To be honest, I am not a FB addict and I use it sparingly so all this hoolahbahlooh is really not that important for me. I did set my privacy settings to basically for “friends” only. Hopefully I won’t get bombarded with ads or interesting invitations that sometimes really annoys me.
.-= DiTesco´s last blog ..Google Releases Best SEO Tips Ever =-.

April 24th, 2010 | 12:53 PM

I’m not an addict, DiTesco, but I do stop by there several times a day to see if I have messages or if I need to make a move in one of the many derivations of Scrabble I play. And, of course, to check on my new business page now.

April 24th, 2010 | 4:43 PM

I noticed on the news yesterday that you have a senator or something who is trying to get Facebook to change that policy?
.-= Sire´s last blog ..How Commentluv And Keyword Luv Can Boost Your Comments =-.

April 29th, 2010 | 12:48 AM

It’s actually 4 senators, Sire, although I’m not sure how much power they have to push the FTC or FCC into doing anything.

April 29th, 2010 | 1:02 AM

At least they are trying Mitch, and getting it out there. Who know what could happen if only they got a lot of support.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..How Commentluv And Keyword Luv Can Boost Your Comments =-.

April 29th, 2010 | 1:22 AM

The thing is that we have two things clashing with each other, one being the right to commerce and the other being the right to privacy. I don’t think any of us really mind all that much that FB wants to make money. What we object to is that we signed up, gave certain information, and now FB is going to pass it onto someone we don’t know and suddenly we’re going to start getting all sorts of ads. And I’m not naive enough to believe those ads are only going to be on FB; spam’s going to increase at some point, and FB will say “sorry, we didn’t know they were going to do that.”

April 29th, 2010 | 1:57 AM

I think the problem is that they’ve not given us the choice of whether or not we want them to use that information. If the Government was going to make our info available to third parties there would be all hell to pay.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..How Commentluv And Keyword Luv Can Boost Your Comments =-.

April 29th, 2010 | 2:03 AM

Actually Sire, I’ve already blocked my information from getting out, though I have no idea how effective it will be. I’m now looking for a script that will block those ads that aren’t being blocked now by other scripts.

April 29th, 2010 | 2:08 AM

How did you do the first and let me know when you’ve worked out the second.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..Taking The Time To Think Before Clicking Submit =-.

April 29th, 2010 | 2:16 AM

On the first one, go to your account. Under Privacy Settings for Applications, if you click there, you’ll see “Instant Personalization.” Unclick the box and you’re all set; supposedly.

On the second, well, are you running Firefox and have you already installed Greasemonkey? If you don’t remember what that is, I kind of touched upon it here:

April 29th, 2010 | 9:59 AM

Thanks Mitch, that worked a charm. Greasemonkey looks pretty cool, I may install that at a later date.
.-= Sire´s last blog ..How Commentluv And Keyword Luv Can Boost Your Comments =-.

April 29th, 2010 | 6:54 PM

Good deal, Sire; glad it worked well. And both Greasemonkey and Stylish are my Firefox best friends.

April 29th, 2010 | 11:01 PM