Facebook is gaslighting the web. We can fix it.

Just in case you haven’t noticed the trend here (read back a few posts for articles from Robert Scoble and Molly Wood), Facebook is pushing hard for sharing to become instant, comprehensive, invisible and infinitely detailed with their recent ‘seamless sharing’ initiative. This is a big step, as sharing of third-party content (like what sites you visit, what music you listen to) on Facebook moves from becoming under your control and individually approved, to becoming automatic and constant. All the time, every time.

Facebook is counting on people in their blissfully unaware state, who care little about their privacy and will too easily surrender ownership of their content in exchange for convenience. The key here is to implement policies gradually enough that people will not become too alarmed, the ‘frog in boiling water’ principle.

Remember that you are the commodity being traded, your social graph should be yours to keep, not to provide corporations with minute details about your behaviour and relationships. Further, Anil’s piece below argues that they are placing obstacles on the very structure and operation of the Internet, based on them being entrusted to decide what’s important to you – an area which could potentially cause massive issues in the future.

That’s not to say sharing (in all it’s forms) is necessarily a bad thing. But it’s important that there is choice, transparency and control given to people over their information, how it’s shared and who it’s shared with at all times. Also, the ability to export our information, and the track record of the companies in question, areas which Facebook has proven many times to be ineffectual.

If you’re wondering what type of information Facebook keeps on your, the tip of the iceberg can be seen here: http://europe-v-facebook.org/EN/Data_Pool/data_pool.html (keep in mind this is just a partial dump of the information). Even when you’re not ON Facebook, the cookie(s) tracks you (http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2126674/How-Facebook-Tracks-Users). It’s probably worth mentioning that Facebook’s advertising partners will have access to some of this information when you visit their site.

“Now, we’ve shown that Facebook promotes captive content on its network ahead of content on the web, prohibits users from bringing open content into their network, warns users not to visit web content, and places obstacles in front of visits to web sites even if they’ve embraced Facebook’s technologies and registered in Facebook’s centralized database of sites on the web.”

Facebook is gaslighting the web. We can fix it.

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