Ah Facebook, you sure like to jerk around the tech pundits in the blogosphere don’t you. Take for example that last privacy flap where you turned everything on by default and then left it up to users to opt-out.
The thing is you knew that the large majority of your users wouldn’t, or couldn’t be bothered about the whole silly privacy thing. All they want to do is get logged in as quickly as possible to see how their FarmVille; or some other such stupid social game, was doing.
But when the digerati called you up on the carpet over the change you quickly flashed the fact that 35% of the people that had logged in had made changes. What exact changes we’re not sure .. maybe they just left everything the same and clicked on the Next button as quickly as they could because they could hear that cow calling them from FarmVille.
Wow 35% though .. that sounds pretty good eh. Yup it sure does, until you turn that into real numbers and then compare it to their stated user number of 500 million. In this case 35% works out to 175 million give or take a couple of million. That leaves 325 million users who didn’t make any changes to their new auto opt-in privacy settings.
So over half of the Facebook members couldn’t careless how; or with whom, their information is being shared. Not a bad number of people to make money off of don’t you think; and all at the cost of having to put up with a few irritated bloggers who Facebook doesn’t really need hanging around anyway as they are always gumming up the works with their big mouths.
Now we come to the latest announcements to come out the Facebook f8 developer conference and have the digerati natives getting all restless again.
First about this new Universal Like button – who freaking cares anymore. Really, it not like this is anything new except that this is Facebook so really this is just another move to monopolize the Web by any means possible.
Next up we have the Facebook let me pollute your site some more toolbar that will sit at the bottom of the webpage you are on and let you do …. well we’re not sure yet but I am sure it will be cool and feed even more information to Facebook to parse for ads and sell to marketers. Whoopee .. I’m so excited.
Just think of it folks.
You happen upon one of Facebook’s pre-approved sites and suddenly you start seeing a whole bunch of Facebook related stuff even though you didn’t sign into the site using the traditional Facebook Connect mechanism. As Jason Kincaid at TechCrunch explains
Imagine what will happen the first time Joe Facebooker visits a third-party site he’s never been to and is greeted by the smiling faces of his friends, his most recent shared updates, and content tailored to his gender, location, and age. There’s a decent chance he’s going to assume something has gone terribly, terribly wrong — maybe he’s been hacked or phished. Or maybe he’ll realize that the privacy wizard he went through last December wasn’t as benign as he thought.
Needless to say this has a segment of the tech blogosphere up in arms – as they should be. The problem is that Facebook couldn’t care less. They already have a track record of abusing user trust and privacy that only changes if the noise gets too loud. At which point they just switch to Plan B which for all we know could have been Plan A.
When it comes right down to it Facebook doesn’t care if we trust them or not – they’ve gotten too big for that to really worry them. Sure it’s inconvenient but in the end the numbers are on Facebook’s side. If over 350 million users couldn’t have cared less the last time that Facebook pulled this kind of crap what makes you think it will be any different – seriously.
The only thing that Facebook cares about is converting all those 350 million plus sucker (and growing daily) into a cash cow that could literally rival and surpass Google. It doesn’t care how it gets there. It doesn’t care what it has to do to become the default for the Web. The last thing they care about regardless of any PR to the contrary is whether some small loud irritating group of bloggers and tech pundits trust them or not.
When push comes to shove you have two alternatives when it comes to Facebook. Either get sucked into their vortex of the Web or delete your account.
It doesn’t get any simpler than that.