I wanted to write a post addressing the behavior that I’ve noticed around Facebook’s announcement of the Open Graph Protocol. I’ll admit that I intended to do way more research on this topic before I wrote this post, but I didn’t prioritize that activity in my to do list. So you’ll have to settle with a less researched point of view. That being said I’d love to hear more in the comments about your thoughts, concerns, and suggestions regarding what else I should be reading to become more knowledgeable.
But perhaps my favorite bit of Facebook talk has been from Mashable in the article In Defense of Facebook by Ben Parr. In his article, Ben talks about how Facebook should not be the target for our anger around OGP. Instead, he says that we should be responsible for our own privacy on the web, and we should not give the responsibility to Facebook.
Ok, so we have the set up. Some people are pissed at FB, some people claim to want to quit FB, and some people don’t think that FB is the real problem. With all these pieces in place, I have a few questions for you.
1. Has anyone actually quit FB over this? Are we seeing a mass exodus from the social media site? Personally, I have not noticed any behavior around quitting. I have noticed talk about quitting, but have not seen it happen. Why do you think that is?
2. Do you think FB is to blame for infringing on your privacy? Are you angry at FB for implementing OGP?
For me, the answer is No to both questions. No, I have not quit FB and have not seen people do so and I believe it is because deep down in their core people realize that FB is not to blame for privacy infringement. Maybe I’m an idealist, but I have to believe that people see that it was not FB that filled out the personal information form with their name, birthday, address, phone number, martial status, etc. It was not FB that uploaded those pictures from their last kegger (got some coming soon folks no worries 🙂 ). It was not FB that spouted off about their boss or their spouse or their friend. All FB did was give us the medium to do so.
Thus, I could not agree with Mr Ben Parr more. Yes, FB should’ve communicated better. But, our information, our lives and protecting them is our responsibility, not FB’s. They can do with our information pretty much what they want as long as they give us the 1000 privacy controls with which to set. And you know what? They know, just like you and I do, that we won’t quit the service. Why? Two reasons: we know that it’s our fault all our personal information is on the internet, and we love sharing our lives, even our very personal lives, with others. FB knows this, that’s why they created their online services, and that’s why they continue to use your information to promote their services and integrate them more and more with the web. They are trying to become indispensable, and in truth they’re pretty darn close to it. If they weren’t indispensable, you would’ve quit already right?
Since OGP has come out I’ve refrained from clicking anything that looks like a Like button on the web. I’m not sure why really, but mostly I’m pretty sure it’s my attempt to try to protect my privacy. I believe it is my responsibility to take care of my information and I’m going to be careful with sharing things, as I’ve always been.
My point of this article? Despite all the hype and misplaced anger, no one is quitting FB. FB will continue to grow and sites will continue to integrate with it. Therefore I, as an individual who uses their services, have decided to take control of my information and when I share it. No one will protect me but me, and I am not planning on quitting FB anytime soon. I doubt that you are either, so if you are mad about your privacy become more educated about and active in protecting it.
The main problem as I see it is that the blogsphere is filled with scaremongers who type first before researching the actual facts. The OGP cannot simply access information on anyone a 3rd party chooses to, as it must first gain authorisation from the user in question and must state which items of the users details it wishes to access. If the user does not wish this party to have access to their data then all they need to do is not click on the authorise button – simple. Like you I believe people need to take responsibility for their privacy when it comes to the internet.
Here here! Thanks for the input Sean.