Saturday, September 24, 2011

Facebook is changing, will this change the world?

Mark Zuckerberg introduced only 17 months ago the like button. It seems it was around forever, because almost every website has the little blue like button. In the next coming weeks FB will go beyond the the like button with opening their Open Graph. Developers are now able to send more info than "like" back to a Facebook user profile. It will open the world to new verbs like eating, drinking, watching, listening etc. With Open Graph FB users will see when their friends watching a movie or listen to a song and can then at the same time listen to the same song. This is the idea behind. Timeline will be another big change. Facebook new layout will allow users to go easily back in time. Different content types are now placed into blocks.

My wife and i might go to a motorcycle shop and buy a new bike. We might use our smart phone to scan a QR code for more info to a bike. On our Facebook book page would be instantly a message that we are buying right now a bike in XYZ at dealer ABC.

Or you might play a game on your iPhone and in FB will be a post that you recommend the game and just played 16 hours straight. Such new Open Graph features will give developers and companies a new, never seen before way to brand their products and to get more attention.

Especially for app developers on iOS or Android. Both system have together more than a million apps. It is almost not possible as a developer to get users to buy or download their app, and at the same time, it is for users not easy to find the app they are looking for. I searched in the Apple app store for golf and got countless results. The only way to know if an app is good, is to download it or to look at the ratings.
With Open Graph, Facebook will open a new way to find mobile apps. And if a friend is recommending an app, then I might more likely buy or download the app, regardless of other ratings.

Facebook let us build a digital copy of our life. And wants to be the start page when we open a web browser, and be the last page we look on it, before we go to bed.

Which sounds great but is very dangerous. I hear and read a lot of discussions around FB and how it is different than Apple and how open FB is. This is true, they are totally different but Apple might charge developers for their apps a lot or have a walled garden but they don't try to be our digital copy.

Facebook does not charge anything to end users or developers. We all can use FB for free. There are some games with in games purchases but most parts are free. An easy out if the box personal free web page and email address. This is very kind from Facebook. But this has a price. Facebook is collecting all and everything written on their website, they are collecting all clicks and views. From where is the user coming, what he is doing and where did he go. All for the greater good to earn money by very targeted ads.

One company does know more than FBI or any government about 800.000.000 people. And actually Facebook does know even things about people who are not yet in Facebook. My son has of course no FB account, but FB could already know who my wife is, the name of my mother in law and that I have a son an his age. All this is just a matter of data mining, which FB does day in and day out to sell to higher priced and more targeted ads.

Adding timeline and Open Graph, does exactly what Mark Zuckerberg wants:
"Facebook's mission is to make the world more open and connected. We do this by mapping out all of the things you are connected to. … As a first step toward this we made it so you could connect to things by Liking them. … This year we are taking the next step, so that you can connect to anything you want in any way you want. Now you don't have to Like a book, you can just Read a book. You don't have to Like a movie, you can just Watch a movie. You can Eat a meal, Hike a trail, Listen to a song, and connect to anything in any way you want. This will let you make an order of magnitude more connections than before. We are helping to define a new language for people to connect."

Is this not scary? We are all open and connected like in the real life and more. But the biggest difference is, that one will always know everything what happens in the FB country - Mark Zuckerberg.

Maybe Facebook acronym will be soon FBI (Facebook interconnected).

Does anybody remember the Stasi (The Ministry for State Security (German: Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, MfS)?
Stasi in East Germany did try to know everything about their citizen. They had official Stasi employees, but as well many East Germans reporting to the Stasi information about their neighbors. All to keep the country safe.

Facebook is not trying to know everything. Facebook DOES know everything in their world.
As a good citizen, I would argue, that I have nothing to hide and therefore I don't care, if somebody is watching me all the time.

But unfortunately it is not so easy. There are a lot of things we don't know we should better hide. Remember, Palin's email account got hacked, because the hacker found the security phrase on her Facebook page.

Even if Facebook is not taking advantage of their knowledge, somebody will try.

Imagine you do post, that you went to a football game on Wednesday. But for some reason you thought it is better to delete the post. Do you really thing it is deleted because you did hit the delete button? Think twice. Of course it is not deleted. It is still in the DB but just flagged as "by user deleted".

East Germans did not like the Stasi, the wall and the controls and decided to change this and to revolute. It helped, the Stasi is gone and the wall is down. When do we start a revolution against Facebook?

Suddenly we are talking about 20 times more people controlled by one company, not state but company. Who is controlling this company? Who does make sure our data is not exposed or used for wrong doing?

How do I know, when I deleted something, that it is really deleted?

I understand that the situation is a little different. We decided to use Facebook and we decide to put as much or as less information on. We are responsible what we do with our life. However does this give one company the rights to be able to know everything? And remember it goes beyond what we put on Facebook. It is what other people put on Facebook. I could today invent a fake person and upload images to Facebook. Then I tag this image with me and the faked person. Maybe I as well write how great the day with XYZ was. Suddenly FB has info about a person who has no Facebook account or even does not exist.
I can see that FBI will create fake identities in the future by using Facebook.

Somebody could post a picture from a party showing me totally drunk hitting on a woman. I did never upload this image but it is now in Facebook and Facebook never forgets. A friend of this person might see the image, download it and send it to his friend which might be my boss. My boss would fire me, because the woman on this picture is his wife. Now you could say that this is my fault. I should not have been drunk and hitting on a woman.
This is correct, but what is, if this image was taken years before I even worked for my boss, before he met the woman and before I knew there will be something like Facebook?

Before timeline, not many people did upload anything old, so we might not care. But now people will upload and post things from the past. Within a short time FB will know more than anybody else about us even before FB did exist.

Or look at the kids who are using FB today. Do you think the know the impact of their posts and images they do today in 20 years? No they don't and they don't care. But it will be a problem for them in a few years, when they try to find a job and are wondering why nobody wants to hire them.

Somebody would argue that we use the Internet since 20 years and did post always a lot of things. This is true but the difference is that before we did distribute our info or not everybody was on the same website. It was much harder to collect info about people and their behavior because the data was stored on different servers which were owned by different companies.

Maybe it is time that our laws are changing to protect us with this new situation, maybe Facebook needs to be broken down into multiple companies.
What do you think? Am I too negative and FB is the best thing ever happened to us? Is Google better or worse? What about Apple, do they control us?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad. Please follow me @schlotz69

Location:Spinning Wheel Ln,Brooksville,United States


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