Late last night as I read through my feeds, I came across a posting on Facebook’s new requirement that you must specify how you know the person you are adding as a friend. At this point, I’ve gotten used to Facebook’s attempts to suck more and more information out of me and just took it with a grain of salt.
Then I went to sleep.
Last night I dreamt that Facebook had decided to implement a new feature that made your Messages part of your profile. Their reasoning was that it would be a great way for people to learn about each other through their communications with others. Kind of like judging the person sitting behind you on the train based on the conversation they’re having with the person next to them. Creepy, right? I think so. So my entire dream was spent with me scouring the Facebook site looking for the privacy feature that would allow me to keep my messages to myself. It’s not that there’s anything I’m embarrassed or ashamed about, it’s the fact that they’re MY messages.
Now, I love the Internet as much as the next geek, but there comes a point where you just have to stop and reevaluate its clutch on your life. That point, for me, is when I’m haunted by a website.
Considering I’ve been here blogging for about 5-6 years now, I’ve gotten over the whole “the entire world could read what I’m writing” paranoia, but at the same time, SOME level of privacy is important. It’s the reason there are only a few pictures of me on my Flickr stream, and I use the same photo for my avatar, and things like that. While I love the openness of the web, I do like to maintain just a tiny bit of anonymity at times.
That’s where Facebook is starting to push my buttons. It was cool when only college students were on it. It was a special club just for us. Then the high schoolers came in. Great. I was fine with that. It meant that I could keep in contact with my younger friends. Then it opened up to the world. No big deal still, because I don’t have anything on my profile that I wouldn’t show to my grandmother. Hell, I don’t do anything that my grandmother wouldn’t approve of anyway. I’m a pretty straight-edge person. But THEN came the open platform…
Those of you who use Facebook and who have been invited to use applications will recognize these lines:
<img src=”http://forever-digital.net/images/blog/facebookprivacy.png” alt=”Facebook: “Allow this application to know who I am and access my information”” />
Let’s step back for a moment and think about that. Are you comfortable with these third party apps having access to all of the information you have stored on Facebook? Hell, I don’t even know if I’m comfortable with Facebook knowing all of the information I have stored on Facebook!
I put some thought into it this morning, and it turns out that the only reason I keep my Facebook account is so that my friends can find me if they need me. I don’t use it. I don’t even sign in unless I get an email notification telling me that someone has left a message for me, etc. It’s almost sacreligious for a college student to shun the almighty Facebook, but I think I may experiment with a Facebook-free life for a little while. What’s the worst that could happen?
Mashable now reports that the required relationship step was a bug. That still doesn’t really help their case though. Now they’re trying to suck information from people and they’re being sloppy with it!