Every move you make

August 18, 2009 at 2:00 am 1 comment

I know that many of my readers are on Facebook.  Heck, most of the planet is on Facebook – announcing personal news to the world and friends, sharing photos (often embarrassing ones), updating their status blah blah. Despite misgivings, I joined Facebook for one nano-second. A part of me thinks “okay, don’t be a dinosaur. Check it out. Give it a go. Be objective”.

But Facebook scares the hell out of me.  I get the idea of it: if you’re living in Australia and your family is in the UK, you can use Facebook to connect – through photos, updates and so on. But a few months ago, when Facebook, out of the blue, changed their Terms of  Service, I became very worried. I deleted my Facebook profile in a hissy fit and have only a mere presence there now. I share nothing on Facebook – no photos, no status updates. Zippo.

I have long suspected that Facebook would want to take on Google. Why not?  Once upon a time, Google was a young upstart company – so why can’t another company come along and attempt to dominate the internet? That’s what Google is doing – Google search, Google Docs, gmail, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Health. Yeegads!

There have been two articles recently that have escalated my alarm and confirmed for me why Facebook scares the hell out of me. I blogged before about this article from Wired, which brings us Facebook’s vision for internet domination.

Before I go on, let’s remember that Facebook has the private data of millions of people; their connections and friends; what they do; what they like; and tagged photos of people. Acknowledging this, now let’s ask – what would happen if Facebook and FriendFeed linked up?

Here’s what could happen:

  • FriendFeed is real-time feed aggregator that allows you to aggregate all your updates from social networks, blogs, social bookmarking services, Twitter etc into one place and share this stream with friends and family. You can also subscribe to the streams of other people.
  • And then there’s  FaceBook Connect that allows Facebook members to connect their profile data and authentication credentials to external Web sites. So this means all your personal data, photos, friends, groups etc could appear on other websites. In other words, you take your online identity with you all over the Web. You would not need to create separate accounts for every website – just use your Facebook login wherever Connect is available. 15,000+ sites currently support Facebook Connect. To name a few of the big ones – YouTube, CNN, Digg, Flickr, Plaxo. Through Connect, Facebook will become the very centre of our digital identities.
  • Excellent news I hear you say!! Data portability – how fabulous I hear you think.  But put the two together. At the moment, inside the walls of Facebook you share stuff only within those walls. But with FriendFeed partnering with Facebook, you then have content fed into Facebook via FriendFeed streams. So you’d have a social aggregator that is basically the portal to everything.

This is no figment of my imagination – Facebook has just bought FriendFeed for US$47.5 million (cash and stock offer). So FriendFeed has accepted Facebook’s friend request and this means that two companies really will be the portal to everything we do on the Internet: Facebook and Google.  And according to this article, this is the scary scenario:

“Two companies, one market….. that’s why Facebook bought FriendFeed. So it could own you.”

Because all Google has really is its precious algorithm. Facebook has you – your photos (probably tagged for easy identification); your personal information; all your friends and their networks; your likes and dislikes; the groups you belong to. Think about it. Should Facebook become the portal to everything on the Internet….they will own you.

UPDATE: seems Facebook want to take on PayPal too.

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Entry filed under: Facebook. Tags: , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. New ERA  |  August 18, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    Personally speaking, I don’t believe that sharing information, sometimes unrelaiable information, through Facebook makes our lives worse;In fact, It’s beneficial to have an account since we’re living in a new era, so it requieres new ways to get in touch with everyone that we know; furthermore, You always control what kind of information want to share, so just looking facebook as funny tool is better.

    Reply

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