EDITORIAL: No one’s naive enough to consider Facebook a cyber playground with a cute little fence keeping the real world outside. Just as cows produce the milk that goes to the plant before hitting the shelf for us to buy, it’s made to be monetized. And the new Open Graph program — which shares member info with commercial predators — has no other purpose than to turn users into cash cows. Yet while we all get that part, it’s the reckless way it’s being done that’s freaking people out.
I don’t care that meticulously-worded user agreements don’t prohibit what is an invasive form of file-sharing. You joined this special community because you trusted that advertisers and marketers and snake-oil salesmen wouldn’t be marched directly to your doorstep — and handed their own key.
You can call me a dreamer, but I can see this thing making its way to Washington, where lawmakers could take turns bitch-slapping an arrogant company that thinks it canJerry DeMarco Publisher/Editor
control all the corners.
“I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the ‘blame the victim’ approach that says we’re all to blame for letting FB mis-use our data,” Eric Scoles of Brand Cool Marketing wrote on MediaPost.com. “Whether we admit it or not, we all function on a trust-basis; people who claim not to are usually either predators or in denial.
“Facebook wants to be able to monetize every single thing you ever use Facebook for,” Scoles added. “That’s why they never delete your ‘likes’ and meta-data (they really don’t, it’s always there and they keep using it for targeting).”
“It’s not that Facebook wants to make my profile public that worries me,” added Anne Peterson of Idaho Public Television. “My address has been available on the Internet for several years. I’ve used Internet searches myself to find e-mail addresses for people I wanted to contact. Most of what is available on Facebook about me is available elsewhere….What bothers me is that Facebook does not spell things out in advance so you know what’s coming; it never uses ‘opt-in’ and now ‘opt-out’ isn’t always available; and there is no way to effectively contact Facebook itself.”
Yep. I’ve tried it. The recorded message actually says that anyone having a problem with Facebook cannot speak with a human.
Of course, there are also those who don’t see what all the fuss is about.
“The first lesson I teach my children is that anything they post on Facebook can and will come back to bite them,” wrote Katharina Hanson from DAT. “Are there really people out there who still don’t know that? Here I am, Targeted Advertising, come and find me!”
“Facebook’s leadership is starting to treat their users as AOL did — as an asset to be sold without concern,” wrote David Culbertson of LightBulb Interactive. “We all know where AOL is today.”
This “ask for forgivenesss rather than permission” approach is turning more people against Facebook, something Frank Reed of FT Internet Marketing believes won’t change “unless someone bigger than them (government?) slaps them down.”
Bottom line: We’re all sheep, folks, here for the fleecing. And if you don’t fully understand that, then you shouldn’t be sharing with the shearer.
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