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Millenials Facebook Privacy Social vs Media

November 30, 2007

I admire Zuckerberg et al for having invented the Facebook platform and then embracing open source programming (why not have the world trying to make your product better – for free) and as a result – racking up a paper capitalization of somewhere between $240Million + 1 dollar ( the amount Microsoft paid for their stake in Facebook ) and the $15 Billion many prorate that to.

But….

The FTC has begun to raise some important concerns about online privacy and how that channel currently (with the recent exception of AOL) presumes they have a right to monetize any data/activity on the internet.

Yesterday’s announcement ( as reported by the NY Times) http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/07/technology/07adco.html?_r=1&ref=media&oref=slogin of Facebook’s social advertising takes a small step in addressing some of those concerns (by not making the data available to advertisers) but in other ways it pushes it in another direction.

Facebook users will now be able to voice their opinions about brands and service by voluntarily participating in a new Facebook program.

So far so good.

But Mr Z wants to amplify those opinions by pushing it out to all of that person’s friends.

“Nothing influences a person more than a recommendation from a trusted friend,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “

however

“Facebook users will not be able to avoid these personally recommended ads if they are friends with participating people.”

still quoting from the article:

Mr. Zuckerberg said he thought this system would make the site feel “less commercial,” because the marketing messages will be accompanied by comments from friends. When asked about people who might not like ads, Mr. Zuckerberg shrugged and said, “I mean, it’s an ad-supported business.”

You decide. And hopefully your friends will agree with you.

I just wish he gave the friends the option to receive (privacy issues notwithstanding).

I predict that within 3 months he will soften his push policy and allow opt-in, otherwise I see no benefit to anyone participating. If I want to tell someone about something I can do so 1:1 or post it on a blog and let people come to it. And moreover, pretending it is word of mouth doesn’t make it so.

Today he has given birth to FRAM. Spam from Friends.

$240M+$1

Update: November 30,2007

Facebook Retreats on Online Tracking

Quoting from the NYTimes article

“Faced with its second mass protest by members in its short life span, Facebook, the enormously popular social networking Web site, is reining in some aspects of a controversial new advertising program.

…Late yesterday the company made an important change, saying that it would not send messages about users’ Internet activities without getting explicit approval each time…

...’Whenever we innovate and create great new experiences and new features, if they are not well understood at the outset, one thing we need to do is give people an opportunity to interact with them,” said Chamath Palihapitiya, a vice president at Facebook. “After a while, they fall in love with them.’

….The complaints may seem paradoxical, given that the so-called Facebook generation is known for its willingness to divulge personal details on the Internet. But even some high school and college-age users of the site, who freely write about their love lives and drunken escapades, are protesting.

…“We know we don’t have a right to privacy, but there still should be a certain morality here, a certain level of what is private in our lives,” said Tricia Bushnell, a 25-year-old in Los Angeles, who has used Facebook since her college days at Bucknell. “Just because I belong to Facebook, do I now have to be careful about everything else I do on the Internet?”

…Isn’t this community getting a little hypocritical?” said Chad Stoller, director of emerging platforms at Organic, a digital advertising agency. “Now, all of a sudden, they don’t want to share something?”

….The whole purpose of Beacon is to allow advertisers to run ads next to these purchase messages. A message about someone’s purchase on Travelocity might run alongside an airline or hotel ad, for example. Mr. Zuckerberg has heralded the new ads as being like a “recommendation from a trusted friend.”

But Facebook users say they do not want to endorse products.”

See IBM’s demographic profile of Millenials

www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/bus/pdf/g510-6565-01-teensboomers.pdf

Update: December 8, 2007

From the FB blog post quoting Z

…We were excited about Beacon because we believe a lot of information people want to share isn’t on Facebook, and if we found the right balance, Beacon would give people an easy and controlled way to share more of that information with their friends….

…Facebook has succeeded so far in part because it gives people control over what and how they share information. This is what makes Facebook a good utility, and in order to be a good feature, Beacon also needs to do the same. People need to be able to explicitly choose what they share, and they need to be able to turn Beacon off completely if they don’t want to use it.

This has been the philosophy behind our recent changes. Last week we changed Beacon to be an opt-in system, and today we’re releasing a privacy control to turn off Beacon completely. You can find it here. If you select that you don’t want to share some Beacon actions or if you turn off Beacon, then Facebook won’t store those actions even when partners send them to Facebook….”

Apologetic, Facebook Changes Ad Program- New York Times
“I feel like my trust in Facebook has been violated,” said Christopher Lynn, 30, a Facebook user who also writes a blog on social media. “Facebook created this space that was a private space, where we share our experiences, and to share this data behind our backs is upsetting.”

Now we wait and see how the community responds and remember it has been said that, “Loyalty is the absence of something better”.

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