In case you were too busy preparing Turkey last week, I’ll give a basic review of the issue. Facebook’s Beacon program (already questioned as a possible “Privacy Nightmare” by GigaOm) lets users share their own data about what they like and dislike with other facebook users. An example might be Fandango or other movie service letting everyone know I bought tickets to “Enchanted” this weekend. I did, take the kids, it was adorable. But that’s not the point. I’m sharing this because I choose to. A bunch of people are finding out that stuff they didn’t realize was being shared, is.
Jason Calacanis clearly summarizes The wonderful horrible life of Facebook users and their data (or, “data hogs get slaughtered”) noting the 3 major things making some customers of Facebook feel, well, icky:
Facebook has done three things that are at once extremely innovative, extremely rude, extremely helpful, and extremely disconcerting:
1. They are collecting and republishing user data on a level not before seen by users.
2. They are allowing advertisers to use this data to reach these users.
3. They are not giving this information–information that has put their value at $15 billion–back to their users.
Doc Searls summarizes one possible set of responses in these two articles.
Time To Write Our Own Rules And Making Rules, II where he notes:
What we need instead is to make tools that work for us, and not just for them. We need to invent tools that give each of us independence from vendor control, and better ways of telling vendors what we want, when we want it, and how we want to relate — on our terms and not just on theirs.
For my clients and friends trying to understand the current bru-ha-ha going on, the above articles are must-reads.