Facebook and Privacy – Why Do I Need to Keep Opting Out of Stuff?

Posted on April 25, 2010


Good question.

Last year, Facebook announced details about their new “social graph” concept. Under their idea of the “open graph”, we can be connected to other friends on Facebook and the entire Web generally. Of course, they are going to default all users into this program unless you tell them otherwise.

In about two sentences, here is what Facebook wants to do: As you see something on the Interwebs that you “Like”, the website will likely have a “Like” button. Once your press the “Like” button, your choice places that on your profile and shares it with others.

For example, this site can use a “social plugin” to connect you back to your Facebook account. If you like something on my page, you can press the “Like” button and share it with your followers. You also give your profile information to the non-Facebook website owner. They call it “instant personalization”

Here is what Facebook says about “Instant Personalization”

We’re working with select partners to enable a personal and social experience the moment you arrive on their websites. When you’re logged in to Facebook, these sites can personalize your experience using your public Facebook information.

Translation: Gigaom.com gave the best example:

Instant personalization means that if you show up to the Internet radio site Pandora for the first time, it will now be able to look directly at your Facebook profile and use public information — name, profile picture, gender and connections, plus anything else you’ve made public — to give you a personalized experience. So if I have already publicly stated through my Facebook interests page that I like a musical artist — say, The Talking Heads — the first song I hear when I go to Pandora will be a Talking Heads song or something that Pandora thinks is similar.

By the way, all of this new, cool stuff is opt-out. Meaning that everyone is including until you tell it otherwise.

I don’t know about you. But I am not thrilled that all of my friends know what websites I go to or third-parties know me by name and face.

It is probably okay for a little bit until I can find a way to turn it off. Once I do turn it off, I will post a step-by-step.

Posted in: Facebook, Internet