Facebook ‘Frictionless Sharing’ Stokes Additional Privacy Concerns

by Trefis Team
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Facebook’s concept of “frictionless sharing” seems to have its share of detractors. [1] Stories from publishing houses such as The Washington Post are now being instantly (and automatically) shared with a user’s friends, and the debate is on whether this is infringing on the private lives of individuals by “tracking” their consumption behavior. Facebook leads in the social networking space with competitors such as Google (NASDAQ:GOOG).

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Everything Under the Radar Now?

Since Facebook’s Open Graph was launched in their f8 developers’ conference, users are coping with the increasingly queasy feeling that all their movements on Facebook are being tracked. As an example, once a user adds the Washington Post app, every article he/she reads is posted as a news feed to his/her friends’ walls. The first disadvantage of this is a notional one. The question is, would a user be comfortable knowing that the world is aware of his/her daily movements.

Secondly, the Open Graph creates an information overload, with users’ walls being flooded by often unnecessary or irrelevant posts that they might not have an interest in reading. While this phenomenon is still mostly restricted to music and articles, companies are more than happy to know that their material has an 800+ million user base on Facebook. As more publishing houses and media companies come in for the gold rush, the annoyance for users can just get progressively worse.

On the Other Hand: Users Always Have a Choice

Having stated the above, the “frictionless sharing” concept does have its pros. First and foremost, it would enable Facebook to track and quantify users’ consumption behavior much more closely. This translates to even better personalization for users in future. Additionally, all users do have a choice in granting permission for sharing articles/posts read by them. The fact that they have the final word in deciding what to share places the ultimate responsibility on the users.

We currently value Facebook at around $45 billion.

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Notes:
  1. CNET: How Facebook is Ruining Sharing []
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