Since you're reading this blog and I'm writing it, it's easy to assume we're aware (and most likely grappling with) the change in our social networking universe occasioned by the launch of Facebook Connect. Touted by Facebook developers as "the next iteration of Facebook Platform that allows users to 'connect' their Facebook identity, friends and privacy to any site."
ABC news explained the changes this way:
On thousands of sites, including ABCNews.com, a "social plug-in" now lets users "like" content and see what their Facebook friends have liked, directly from those sites.
On three sites piloting an "instant personalization" feature, a user's profile information and friend list are automatically read by the site and used to shape the user's experience. On music site Pandora, for example, you can see what your Facebook friends like to listen to. On Yelp, you can see which restaurants they've reviewed.In the wake of this change, there has been considerable alarm expressed about Facebook in general and Facebook privacy issues in particular. There has also been considerable applause for the changes accompanied by accusations that those concerned are over 35 and thus suffering from old fogeyism.
responded to user concerns through The New York Times' blog "Bits." SFGate, the on-line home of The San Francisco Chronicle summed up what
Mr. Schrage's on-line session was not well received. A Facebook page formed to protest the changes has attracted 95,000 members in 16 days. The Register (independent news, views, opinions and reviews on the latest in the IT industry; offices in London, Edinburgh, San Francisco, etc.) reports this morning that Facebook has called a "privacy crisis" meeting to deal with user grumblings bordering on rebellion.
The "all hands meeting" of Facebook staffers is due to take place at 4pm PDT on Thursday. It follows a critically panned attempt by Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president for public policy, to justify its privacy stance in an online Q&A with readers of The New York Times earlier this week.
The unofficial allfacebook.com blog speculates that the meeting may result in the social network taking an opt-in approach to features that potentially expose users' private details, photos and opinions more widely. A temporary suspension of the recently introduced “Instant Personalization” service that involves the sharing of profile details with selected third-party websites is also a possibility.
Controlling individual privacy settings on Facebook has become an arcane process over recent weeks, as this visualization of the 150+ privacy options the site offers by the NYT illustrates.This all interests me so much, mainly because our society in general seems to court celebrity, exposure, notice, and on-line interaction. Has our romance with notice begun to sour? Has Facebook gotten too powerful and uppity? Is it the obvious tie-ins with Facebook ads that bothers us?
What, exactly do we want from Facebook?