Facebookâ€™s New Timeline, Open Graph Raises Privacy Concerns, Fears
Sees Future As Mobile Company
September 28, 2011 at 2:34 PM (PT)
Uneasy lies the crown of being the King Of Social Media. Less than a week after MARK ZUCKERBERG introduced the new FACEBOOK look (NET NEWS, 9/22), media and blog world reactions have ranged from legitimate concern for a lack of privacy to near-paranoia. The implications for radio and the music business are deep. One of the latter reactions, a rumor that FACEBOOK plans to charge users, has already been debunked.
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL wrote that FACEBOOK was on the defensive, justifying its practice of gathering data from "Like" buttons even after users have logged out. They asserted that such data collection "is part of a system to prevent improper log-ins and that the information is quickly deleted not all of the data is logged."
The onus is on us is to take all the data and scrub it ... What really matters is what we say as a company and back it up
However, Australian technologist NIK CUBRILOVIC noted that "Even if you are logged out, FACEBOOK still knows and can track every page you visit ... The only solution is to delete every FACEBOOK cookie in your browser, or to use a separate browser for FACEBOOK interactions."
FACEBOOK admitted to getting the data, but said it deletes it right away is either not logged or is used for security purposes or for aggregate statistics. "The onus is on us is to take all the data and scrub it," FACEBOOK Dir./Engineering ARTURO BEJAR said. "What really matters is what we say as a company and back it up." He added that FACEBOOK is looking at ways to avoid sending the data altogether but that it will "take a while."
ZDNET.COM expressed concern that the Timeline's ability to recall old posts could prove embarrassing to unwitting users. "[it] has changed the rules on what the site truly represents. It would be like a private dating website becoming a public web directory of lonely people, and marketing itself as such ... "If people are either confused or astounded by the content they thought was once gone, only to reappear again ... the immediate reaction will be of disbelief, concern that their past has come back to haunt them, and it will result in a deactivation to block all content from appearing again ... Suffice to say, current and prospective employers are going to have an absolute field day."
GIZMODO.COM takes issue with potential abuse of Open Graph, which it asserts is "meant to extend or replace the Like button. It's a way for sites and services to jack directly into FACEBOOK from anywhere. If companies use Open Graph, they can publish to your Ticker and Timeline, too, effectively sending tattle-tale updates on anything you do to everyone you know, in real time. And then FACEBOOK gets to keep that data forever."
Also a target for their ire is SPOTIFY. "The SPOTIFY we knew last week is a fundamentally different business from the one that exists this week for one simple reason: If you want to join SPOTIFY now, you have sign up with your FACEBOOK account," the writer claimed. "SPOTIFY isn't asking for access to your data anymore. It's demanding it. No FACEBOOK account; no SPOTIFY ... It must know that for a company that traffics in what is new and popular and hip, it is taking a decidedly unpopular action. SPOTIFY sold its cool."
Facebook Fears ... Unjustified
However, some accusations about the new FACEBOOK have already been debunked. THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR reported on a rumor that "FACEBOOK would begin charging users for access to the site. The hearsay spread around FACEBOOK for the past few days, leaping from one concerned user to another.
"FACEBOOK responded on its official page: 'A rumor on the Internet caught our attention. We have no plans to charge for FACEBOOK. It's free and always will be.'
"From FACEBOOK's perspective, users aren't its customers," CSN reported. "Users are FACEBOOK's product. Advertisers are its customers. And they pay good money to use the information that people put on FACEBOOK in order to better target their ads. FACEBOOK will take in $3.8 billion worldwide for 2011, eMARKETER estimates, and is on the path to continue to grow next year ... With that kind of money rolling in, there's no need to charge an entry fee."
Facebook Has Sights Set On Being A Mobile Company
Meanwhile, a story in TECHCRUNCH (9/27), FACEBOOK Mobile Chief ERICK TSENG forecast that within one to two years, he sees FACEBOOK becoming as much of a mobile company as it is a desktop/web company,
TSENG said. "It's interesting that if you take a look at our top line of growth, we're getting to the point that the countries we're getting into now are ones that don't really use computers at all. The predominant ways people are connecting in AFRICA, in INDIA, is through their mobile devices. As MARK touched on a few days ago, we now have over 350 million mobile users. Within another year or two, we'll be a mobile company, with half mobile users."