Facebook’s New Initiative: Not Off to a Good Start
Logic argues that when you make a grab for data which goes along the lines of “whatever you do, whenever, will be scanned, catalogues and detailed by us, for our use, for indefinite purposes unto perpetuity” you should at least try to be seen as being a little more responsive to the sensitivities of your users.
t is a truly ironic world when Google, the ultimate technocratic company, where no decision is ever taken unless there is solid data to support it, manages to be more responsive towards and ‘caring’ about its users than Facebook, which is supposed to be your uber-friendly, social network of choice.
The irony, of course, becomes easier to understand when one considers that Facebook has got a chequered history in communicating with its members and dealing with their concerns. The announcement of Facebook’s Open Social Graph and the launch of its new interface, called Timeline started a debate over the truly different approaches Facebook and Google are taking to the web, which has resulted in the two rivals now to be in completely different camps, governed by different ideologies.
Facebook has, predictably, made light of the implications of its data-mining and suggested that what it does, it does for the benefit of its users who appreciate ‘frictionless’ social surfing on the web. But the caveat here is that Facebook, traditionally, has taken a single-minded, autocratic approach to both data acquisition and user-communication. It has proven itself to be less than ‘good’ (if not necessarily ‘evil’) and has often behaved in ways which are immature, short-sighted and, for a company of its size and reach, frankly unacceptable.
All this is a thing of the past though, right? After all Facebook now has Google+ http://technorati.com/business/article/google-opens-its-doors-to-the/ to contend with and its Open Social Graph experiment (because it will require a lot to really pull it off) signals the change into a more mature, caring Facebook. Well, no. No sooner had the Zuckerberg completed his presentation at f8 and Facebook was in hot water over privacy concerns having, apparently, somehow ‘managed’ to track users online even when they are not logged into Facebook.Continued on the next page