I admit it – I don’t trust Facebook. They have a history of playing fast and lose with the privacy of their members, and they have to screw up REALLY badly before they’ll even acknowledge it’s a problem. And when I say bad, I mean Beacon bad.
So when Mark Zuckerberg announced “Open Graph,” this new iteration of Facebook, I reeled. I’d already read that part of Open Graph will be making public my own profile information, whether I want it public or not. The previous ability to selectively block information will be going away, so if you want to keep anything private after Open Graph, your one recourse will be deleting it.
Facebook also announced that Open Graph will pull information from other sites you leave posts and comments on – exactly like Friendfeed. Facebook bought Friendfeed last year, which only seemed fair since they kept stealing ideas from them. I’m guessing the engineers they acquired are now implementing this very Friendfeed-like usability, which is also freaking out privacy minded people across the Internet.
Open Graph bothers me a bit less than the publication of my profile information, I should say. Like Friendfeed, this merely re-publishes things I’ve posted publicly somewhere else. If it works like Friendfeed. There, you plug in the feeds of whatever you want republished – Yelp, Twitter, YouTube, you name it. If you don’t want something appearing there, you simply don’t plug in the feed.
I cannot imagine Facebook is even capable of pulling posts from the Internet on it’s own and applying it to profiles successfully. I do not publish posts using my real name, I use Ciaoenrico everywhere – how will Facebook be able to connect me to these without my telling them Ciaoenrico is me? If I tell them, I am explicitly giving them permission to republish this.
And there have been a lot of Facebook apps that will do this for you individually. Facebook appears to simply be legitimizing republishing social content.
So this aspect of Open Graph doesn’t concern me – and I’m pretty demanding when it comes to my online privacy. The one thing I always did like about Facebook was it’s “Walled Garden” approach, which kept my area all about me and my connections, not outsiders. That’s how it works for me.
I like Friendfeed, on the other hand, for the exact opposite reason: I can read and be contacted by anyone. The difference being I don’t keep any personal information there. If anything, Friendfeed is more like Aquaintancefeed – which is how I like that.
Ultimately, I do not think I will update my Facebook experience by making it even more like Friendfeed than it already was. I have two sites, I get two different experiences from them, and I like them well enough separately.
To tell you the truth, I’d delete my Facebook account a lot faster than I’d ever delete my Friendfeed account.