Monday, December 14, 2009

Facebook Moves Beyond the Pale

The expression "beyond the pale" has to do with boundaries, as in out of bounds, off the reservation, beyond our control, over the edge, et al. One of the reasons Facebook seemed fun and interesting initially is that it had boundaries. Users could relatively easily control what they saw and what others saw of their cyber-lives.

In a recent move, the powers that be at FB have made two grave errors in judgment.
What it will mean remains to be seen, but the changes have to be viewed as wrong and wrong by anyone who values boundaries of any kind. (Yes, for to some of my friends this seems an odd stance for me to take. Let's just say Facebook raised my boundary consciousness.)

First, they have decided to index all content for search engines in order to drive page view traffic. All content they have access to, that is. And they are working hard to make sure that is a great deal of content.

Second, in a supposed move to make privacy better, default settings have been changed so that unless one is careful, everything in a profile, album, listing or page is available to everyone in the world.

This does not even take into account the recent third party astroturfing, where health insurers' trade groups offered gaming cash, for games like Mafia Wars and FarmVille, in exchange for a few clicks. These clicks eventually led to the gamers unwittingly lending their names to anti-health care reform letters. This is not a way to warm the cockles of my heart.

I am deleting my long inactive account tonight.


It's Time to Talk said...

Lee, it's interesting that you deleted your FB account just yesterday because--just yesterday-- I went looking to see if you were really gone. Miss our (almost) daily interaction but respect your decision. When I check in with the Harridan, I always enjoy reading your posts.

Best to you and happy holidays.
Kim Siebert

Andrea said...

I've always suspected it was just an information gathering tool for the corporate bad I just have to figure out how to quit!

Lee Roberts said...

@It'sTime... Yes, part of me is sorry to not be on fb. I'm generally so available online that it can hardly matter though.

I like Twitter more and more and am learning how to tailor it for just the information that suits me.

Hope you're enjoying family this dark and light season.

Lee Roberts said...

@Andrea--Hah! Last I knew you hadn't been infected with the facebook virus.

Guess we sort of passed in the night.

I'm thinking it's time for us to have another dinner out.