The gist of the discussion was around Facebook's recent announcement at its F8 developer conference about a protocol to let content publishers tag their content while also adding one of Facebook's "Like" buttons to the site. The idea being that as you, my Facebook friend, goes about your merry day surfing different web sites, will have the ability to push the "Like" button on articles, products, restaurants, etc. that you happen across on the web. In the meantime, your friends may also be doing the same thing.
Well, Facebook's goal is to store this information and allow content partners to use it in a way that allows them to tailor a more "personalized online experience" for you, me and our other Facebook friends.
What do you think about that? Creepy? A good thing? Good for business?
Our discussion at my meetup last Saturday was mixed. There was general agreement that privacy issues are (once again) a concern. I mean, imagine you stumbling across a site --purely by accident, I'm sure-- that sells black leather, uh, paraphernalia. Only to then find dialog at the bottom clearly stating that, "Mel 'Likes' this". (??!) Hmm...maybe not something I would've wanted my friends to necessarily know.
I realize one rebuttal could be to say, well, "Mel, you fool, knowing how the 'Like' button works, why would you press it on such a site?" But, therein lies my point. WILL everyone know how the wizard behind the veil of the "Like" button actually works? Will most people understand that they have to pro-actively tweak their privacy settings on Facebook? Do you understand that a "default" standard is being set that requires us to take action to opt-out of such publicity, rather than taking action to opt-in. It's like this, unless you take action, your preferences will likely be public. (This is in contrast to specifically choosing to make your preferences public. There's a difference. Opt-in vs. opt-out.)
Now, all that said, I actually come down on the side of the fence that sees it as a generally favorable trend. But, then again, I'm a content publisher.
What do you think? More to the point, have you checked your privacy settings lately?
(Photo courtesy: jepoirrier Flickr Creative Commons)