Facebook post F8

Right after the Facebook F8 keynote, a 15 year old noted he didn’t understand this new model Facebook was about to roll out. What might not be obvious, is that he is not the customer, he is the product. There are two sources that are motivated to get the information that Facebook has; the American administration, and private sector organizations. Imagine you are Spotify, or Nike, what would you do to get all of the information Facebook has, to do with as you wish? It’s no wonder what appears to be over 100 organizations are being integrated with the new Facebook as open graph apps. This means when you use those apps, not only does Facebook get all of that information, but also the application developer does as well.

Before adding an app, take a look at that organization’s privacy policy, specifically under the section that talks about sharing your personal information with others. Read it very carefully. Often it will say it will only share your information with it’s affiliates, but who exactly are those affiliates?

The new Facebook timeline becomes very ineffective if you’re not adding apps. Let’s say they assume the average person will install 15 of these apps, that means your personal information is now going to each of these 15 organizations as well as Facebook. You’re providing a lot of personal information to a lot of  third party organizations beyond your control.

Also this new idea of one click per app  (“reducing friction”) sounds great from a usability perspective, but it removes the ability for privacy controls on a per item basis. Imagine an app developers excitement as Facebook tells them, the user won’t be able to block any usage of the app, without blocking the entire thing?

Don’t get me wrong, I think from a usability perspective, the integration of media makes Facebook more attractive, it’s just too bad that there were no concerns for the privacy of the user’s personal information in the process. The advantage of having the amount of users they have is that users are complacent; they might complain, a few may leave, but their revenue stream will likely increase significantly, thanks to all of the personal information you provide them.