Facebook privacy warning; Instant Personalization at F8

At its F8 conference, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced something called Instant Personalization. True to form, users are automatically opted in to the new features. Sounds like we have another Facebook privacy fight on our hands. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers get mad.

By Richi Jennings. April 23, 2010.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Useless Fliers...     JR Raphael isn't happy; not at all:

[With] this week's introduction of Facebook's "Open Graph" ... it's up to you to take proactive steps in order to keep your info out of the public eye. ... By default, you're now opted in to the company's new ... services, and this time, they stretch way beyond the confines of Facebook.com.


[For] example, if you sign-on to Pandora ... the site could automatically dip into your Facebook account. ... Your co-workers and other professional contacts will soon be privy to your late-night Miley Cyrus jam sessions.


Managing this stuff [is] like a full-time job.

Bobbi L. Newman sounds suspicious:

Like a good little librarian I click on the link at the bottom ... with “Understand Your Privacy” in small type beneath it. ... Yes I can easily opt out, not opt in, opt out. ... When I unchecked the box I got this box telling me how sad & lonely my internet experience will be.


Except wait, what’s that bit at the end? What the? ... Yes you must go to each application and click block. ... Any time a user has to Opt Out verses Opt In the practice is questionable. ... We [should] be aware of what they are doing and speak out if we don’t like it. ... .

Liz Gannes calls it a, "Privacy hairball":

Until now, when you browsed the web, it was safe to assume you were anonymous until you actively logged into a site. But ... [now] when you show up to Yelp having never been there before, the page will now show a feed of restaurants and stores that your Facebook friends have liked. ... The first time it happens you’re going to freak out.


But then, lots of people just hate change; every Facebook redesign, ever, has been protested. ... We’ll have to wait to see how much instant personalization freaks people out.

And Allen Stern is "disappointed in Facebook":

I am ok with websites enhancing their services for your pleasure using Facebook data when you specifically choose to ... [but] that checkbox should be opt-in not opt-out. ... [And] even if you turn off the instant personalization, your friends may just share your data ... anyway!


Imagine what Google could share with their partners based on how much Google knows about each of us.

Meanwhile, Harry McCracken returns to his favorite whipping-boy:

Facebook attempts to convince you you’re making a terrible mistake. It reminds me of Microsoft Bob’s impertinence circa 1995.

  The Web ... won’t be truly people-centric until software and services simply comply with our requests rather than second guessing them.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com. You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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