Do You “Like” That? Making Sense of (The New) Facebook

April 26th, 2010 |

About

Soaking in the world and spitting it out, one blog post at a time. Consider me the Clark Kent of web stories without the cool glasses, the fancy suit and, well, the muscles.

Facebook is trying to implement a universal “Like” button for non-Facebook sites so that your friends will be able to see what you like across the Internet. (YouTube just added a “Like” button, but I’m not sure if that has any relation to Facebook, yet.)  Sites across the Internet also have incorporated a share button, one of which is on this very site to help, well, share information with others.

Facebook plans Internet takeover, one "Like" button at a time.

These features, along with things like “Recommendations” and “Live Stream” are known as social plugins which will be broadcasting your information to partnering sites unless you opt out. That’s right, you’re automatically signed up for it thanks to  Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.  It is predicted that 30% of websites will have some of these plugins  in a month. Some of the new features you can expect from Facebook are as follows:

  • Instant Personalization: Facebook will try to help the web cater to you by giving up your information when you move to another site like Yelp or Pandora. In the case of Pandora, the music site will be able to go through some of your favorite artists and make Pandora more YOU friendly, because we were too lazy to type in “Coldplay” before. Or you can go to Yelp and see what YOUR friends have to say about a certain restaurant over what a stranger has to say.
  • Toolbar: Facebook plans to add a toolbar that it will encourage other websites to use. My guess is that “Like” and “Share” will be included on the toolbar so that you can give instant feedback to your profile of what you’re digging at that moment. In absence of this addition, you could have simply copied a link and posted it to your Facebook profile if you really felt the need to express your love for a certain site.
  • Activity Stream: Of course, all those things that you are in fact digging have to go somewhere, so a mini-stream will be created to display all of that activity. In other words, this will probably lead to another Facebook makeover with more clutter.
  • Docs: In a final move to ensure its worldwide takeover, Facebook seems to have teamed with Microsoft to take down Google Docs. The idea is practically identical to Google Docs with users using their Facebook accounts to create, manipulate, and share Microsoft office documents. With Facebook accounts known for being hacked and Facebook itself always changing their layout, I wouldn’t want to use these docs to work on an important project.

All of these announcements fall under what Zuckerberg hopes to create, an Open Graph which will help connect the Internet.

If I sound bitter and snide about the whole process, I am. Facebook has disguised the fact that they’re offering our information without consent to secondary sites by making it seem as if their real objective is to streamline the Internet by making it more Facebook user friendly.

To remove yourself from “instant personalization,” one has to opt out and, even then, you aren’t entirely safe. According to Facebook, “Please keep in mind that if you opt out, your friends may still share public Facebook information about you to personalize their experience on these partner sites unless you block the application.”

I remember when I first used Facebook, it was a simple way to keep in touch with my new college friends and post (now embarrassing) pictures of old high school memories. I never thought it would become more business than social, that I would have to worry about my lack of privacy from third party companies rather than a lack of privacy from my family going through the tagged images of myself. I guess, unfortunately, I was wrong.

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2
Sunil Ramsamooj
  • lisavalentine

    This may cause more organizations to block employee access to Facebook and other social media apps. If yours is one of them, here's a helpful resource. It's a whitepaper called “To Block or Not. Is that the question?”

    http://bit.ly/9f8WOT

    It has lots of insightful and useful information about identifying and controlling Enterprise 2.0 apps (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, SharePoint, etc.)

    Share it with the IT Dept.

  • lisavalentine

    This may cause more organizations to block employee access to Facebook and other social media apps. If yours is one of them, here's a helpful resource. It's a whitepaper called “To Block or Not. Is that the question?”

    http://bit.ly/9f8WOT

    It has lots of insightful and useful information about identifying and controlling Enterprise 2.0 apps (Facebook, Twitter, Skype, SharePoint, etc.)

    Share it with the IT Dept.