Posts Tagged ‘facebook privacy’

Facebook Faux Pas

Like?It’s been a week since Facebook made changes to their site that affected anyone with a “Fan Page.” We no longer have Fans, we have people who “Like” our pages. Users and page owners began noticing the change on April 20, the day before F8, the Facebook Developer’s Conference. Before the conference even began, and long before the keynote speech by Mark Zuckerberg and Bret Taylor, thousands of upset page owners began putting up pages and groups asking to bring the “Fans” back. One group alone had 3,000 new members within an hour. I not only understand their frustration, I felt it too. If we only have people who “like” our pages now, how are we supposed to recruit new Fans? Do we say, “Please like me!” and sound like we’re begging? Or, “Become a Liker”, which sounds . . . well, that just sounds a bit dirty. “Become a Fan” was easier to understand. Now page owners are scrambling to change websites, advertising campaigns and any outside references to Facebook. Not to mention, that now when someone “likes” a Facebook page, 1. their friends can no longer comment on it; and 2. if a friend “likes” that they liked it, that friend is suddenly a fan of the page too. Which, ok, is fine, in theory. Facebook figures if I “like” that they liked it, I would want to be a fan too. But I would rather not become a fan of pages like “Real women ain’t a size 0 … Real women have curves”, even though I might “like” that my male friends are fans of that page. ;) I discovered F8 in my search to find out what had happened to our pages. If you want to see the keynote speech for yourself, as of now, it’s still available here: The keynote itself is geared for developers, so be warned. Some interesting facts for Facebook users that have been misreported and misunderstood all over the web (and sparked some heated comments over at Mashable) – the changes to their policies.

  1. One step permission – From now on when someone wants to allow an application (that would be all those games that you play, quizzes, gift apps, etc) or a website that might use this in the future, you click “Allow” only once for the application developer to access your Facebook information. If you think about it, when you enjoy or trust a game or app, don’t you generally “Allow” it to access your Facebook information already? (If you’re not sure, you can check your account’s application settings. You might be surprised how many apps you’ve allowed access to your profile.)
  2. Removing the policy for developers, “You must not store or cache any data you receive from us for more than 24 hours. . .” What does this mean to users? Absolutely nothing. As a user, once you gave an app access to your information, they were allowed by Facebook to go and retrieve that information anytime they wanted. They just couldn’t keep it. The change is on the developer’s side only. Now they don’t have to ask Facebook’s permission to access your profile every time you play their game (Admit it! You know that’s almost every day!) And it is up to the developer to remove your information if you ever stop allowing them access. As a side-note, what I learned while chatting to developers during the keynote is that nearly every developer out there got around that policy anyway. If you ever allowed any unscrupulous developer access to your information even once, you may as well have given him access for life. Most of the developers out there are using your permissions only for what it was intended – for you to have access to their fun games and widgets.
  3. The third important item relates less to policy change and more to Facebook implementing a new feature for other sites outside of Facebook. We can now add the Facebook “Like” button to our sites, along with comments and other nifty little Social Plugin features. Does this mean I automatically have access to your Facebook information? No. I have no more access to your personal information on my site than I do if you become a Fan of my page. The only way sites have access to personal information is just like Facebook already uses: The user must allow the site access, through a secure Facebook-hosted application.

Quote directly from Facebook: “None of your data is shared with the site when you view social plugins. Social plugins pull information directly from Facebook and the site has no access to the data being displayed to you.”

Zuckerberg is clearly pushing the new “Like” button that Facebook has made available to other websites. If you want to see this in action, I’ve added a “Like” button to this blog and a “Like/Comment” button to my Supernatural page for Dean’s Amulet. So, yes, I can start to see where they were going with the new “Like” feature. Zuckerberg wants you to “Like” a particular restaurant or band. I want you to Like my blog and the products I sell on my site. :D I saw some page owners calling the change a “database grab”. Uh, hello? It’s their database. We’re just along for the ride. What Facebook did not consider were the implications the change would have to other people. Facebook now has 400 million users. Three-thousand of them jumping up and down ranting about the “Fan” button probably aren’t going to make a very big wave. And that’s the biggest faux pas they could make. Facebook seems to care only about Facebook. Rolling out a significant change to the functionality of their site literally overnight, and with no mention of it other than in a conference for developers – in other words, obscure to most of their actual 400 million users – comes across as a cloak and dagger scheme. And this from a company who claims to be open about their policies. Open source for developers, maybe, but as secretive as Google when it comes to their users. Why is Facebook not out there announcing to its users what they’re doing and why? Why aren’t they telling them “No, we’re not going to start charging to use our site.”? (They aren’t.) Why aren’t they letting Page owners know in advance that something important is about to change on Facebook Pages? If I had seen the announcement about the “Like” button before suddenly discovering it on my page without warning, the transition would have gone much more smoothly. Facebook can’t seem to see the forest for all the 400 million trees. Their developers are busily rolling out changes (That weren’t ready to be rolled out. There were some serious errors on the Open Graph/Social Plugins documentation that weren’t corrected until almost 2 days after the conference, again, in cloak and dagger style.) without giving thought to all the possible scenarios or impact on the one thing that makes Facebook what it is – each of the 400 million users. Here’s hoping that by the time their next developer’s conference comes around, they’ve learned a very important lesson – People are what make “social interactions” happen. Not programs. Oh, and as for the question of how do I recruit new users to my Facebook Page? I simply ask you to Connect with Me. :)

“Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc.”

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