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The Death of Privacy
Written by Corey McNeil
Monday, 24 October 2011 13:38

Apps can tell the world what you're reading, watching, or listening to without your permission.

Concerns about Facebook's Privacy Policies are nothing new to the social media giant, but Facebook's "frictionless sharing," a feature which allows applications to post activities without your explicitly deciding to share or "like" has a fair number of people and privacy groups up in arms, but it depends which side of the fence you sit on. Jordan Kasteler who sits on this side of the marketing fence remarked." As a marketer, I'm all for it , I don't get caught up in the privacy concerns as most people do."

Facebook is watching you

On the other side of the fence sits John Graham, a 42-year-old lawyer (of course). John seeks a class action status lawsuit for 150 million Facebook users, claiming Facebook violated wiretap laws with tracking cookies that records web browsing history after logging off of Facebook.

Facebook issued a statement saying there was no security or privacy breach and Facebook did not store or use any information it should not have.


Amid all shouting and screaming about these concerns is lost one very important note: Frictionless sharing is opt in, so pay attention to the permissions you are granting to applications especially to those who request permission to post to your Timeline. Your old applications will have to ask first before they post about your activities.

It also maybe important to point out that Facebook has improved its privacy controls recently, with specific ones related to frictionless sharing

If you're not sure about what applications you have granted permissions to before in the past you can visit the application settings in Facebook

Internet privacy

The Experts Speak Out

So what is Zukerberg's vision?

Danny Dover, author, Life-listed extraordinaire, and SEO pro explained, "I once saw Mark Zuckerberg give a lecture at Berkeley. One of his key points was that he saw his job as pushing the world to be more open. I think this is just more evidence of him accomplishing his mission. In the Internet Age, if you are not paying for a product, your data becomes the product. I am okay with that is most cases." Danny then continued, "But I don’t think this will last. It seems to me that the privacy pendulum is getting near the top of its apex toward openness. I think we are going to start to see more and more pushback from privacy groups in the near future."

Brian Carter; "Facebook wants to own the web," said Brian Carter, who is one of the industry's leading social media consultants and authors. "They know that always asking for permission slows their growth. Frictionless means fewer obstacles to their catalyzing the socialization of the whole web under their umbrella." Carter continued "Some of this may lead to government action, but they've been pretty savvy about working with government so far."

Ann Smarty; "Online privacy issues have always been quite amusing to me," commented Ann Smarty who is the talented and beautiful mind behind myblogguest.com . "I like the phrase, If it's on the net, it's not private. Do you think your email conversations are really private and not used by third-party tools?"

"If you want to secure your private information, keep it away from the Internet. That being said, Facebook has always had privacy issues and it doesn't look to be getting any more private... and it is not getting less popular because of privacy issues. It does still seem a bit scary that Facebook is going to know much more about each of its users with these new features. But is it really that dramatic? Facebook already knows everything about us - we can either live with that or leave it forever."

Joe Hall; Frictionless Sharing is the Holy Grail for internet marketers, or is it? Joe Hall, a bona-fide web head, code poet, marketer, writer, and the man behind the infamous 22 Media LLC said, "This is standard for all social sites with APIs. The difference with Facebook is that there are more people and they collect a lot of data." Joe continued, "I have developed numerous projects using the Facebook API and I can say that very few developers or business owners care where you ate dinner last night, or who your favorite singer is. What they (and me) are mostly looking for is how does our business plan affect you as an individual and can we integrate your life into what we do. The vast majority of the times they don't store any data at all. That would be a waste of space."

Mark's watching you

 

Depending on your perspective Facebook does appear to be doing some things correct. " Media Share will be pretty hard to ignore from a search perspective" added Kasteler. Brian Carter agreed, "Facebook's media share is a game changer in the social media war".

When asked about the new Timeline feature Joe Hall explained, "From a purely design standpoint the Timeline is very innovative. It's both minimalist and content rich, so that's cool. However, considering Facebook's core user base, I think it is going to take a while to catch on." However Joe cautioned, "Facebook does run the risk of alienating old time users who have seen the site slowly turn into its trashy cousin MySpace".

Danny Dover had a very contrasting view about Facebook's Timeline feature, "It (Timeline) seems creepy to me. It seems a lot like writing your own obituary." Ann Smarty is hopeful the Timeline feature will make it cleaner. It maybe a small surprised to discover that Ann Smarty is not a fan of Facebook's UI, "I actually think Facebook's UI has always been quite hard to navigate and use (maybe it was clutter-free like 4 years ago when I first joined but it has been getting more complicated ever since)."

Facebook's recent innovations only have potential to hurt themselves," said Jordan Kasteler a well known and respected managing partner at Blue Glass, an online marketing services company. "Facebook is overcomplicating things and creating more and more noise. They seem to be digging their own grave slowly. There's now essentially two ways to give something "props": A) marking it as Top Story or B ) "Liking" it. Shouldn't those be the same action? Once Facebook release all their new buttons (Read.Watch.Listen) it'll be even more complicated. Why not just one "consumed" button? Too many choices and options leads to a bad UX. Google grew from simplicity. Facebook should take note as their user base is pervasive across age demographics and the older generations tend to find social networks hard to use as-is."

So is Zukerburg's vision of a more transparent and open web a good thing? Are the new innovations at Facebook really game changers? Only time will tell, but Joe Hall, founder and CEO of 22 Media had these parting words of wisdom, "We must remember, Facebook, and the internet are all about choices, so make the right ones."


Corey McNeil -

Corey McNeil is a Search Geek. He is also the Founder and CEO of OrganixSearch an internet marketing company based out of Southern Utah near Zion National Park. Corey's expertise in Search Engine Analysis & Strategy along with marketing background serve as a base for his writing.

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Last Updated on Monday, 24 October 2011 13:45
 

Comments  

 
0 #1 Doc Sheldon 2011-10-24 14:55
Nice write-up, Corey.

I've ranted a time or two against Zuckerberg's casual disregard of FB users' privacy myself. But he certainly isn't the only social site (or commercial site, for that matter) that profits from converting users into product. As Ann says, if you put it on the 'net, it's no longer private. That can be useful, to be sure, but must be used cautiously.
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