The story is always the same: Facebook makes changes and users freak out. They fear change or they have privacy concerns or they have nothing else to do or they fear change. Whatever that reason is–I’ll leave it up to you to decide–the new Facebook launching over the next few weeks will look and act dramatically different.
There’s no question that Facebook sure looks niftier, the invisible changes to the way 600+ million people use the social network are far more important.
Frictionless sharing, which is a nice way of saying “everything you do online will be posted to your news feed on Facebook” is being touted by Mark Zuckerberg and company as a much-needed innovation. This feature nearly eliminates the need to like, share or post an update regarding a site you’re visiting, as Facebook can and will record and share your activity on any site that’s been given access.
This information allows Facebook to know more about each one of its users, which helps them sell more expensive advertising to companies looking to target specific groups. It can also help other web services sign up more customers, as Spotify gained a million new subscribers by spamming people’s news feeds since the changes.
Some found this intrusive, but from a business perspective, the gains likely outweighed any negative feedback received, making it more likely other companies will try this in the future. If you’re like me and want to turn this off, such notifications can be controlled in your privacy settings.
As more sites catch on, expect to see these kind of growing pains from Facebook users. Privacy experts will likely be up in arms for the next few weeks as far too many of us discover that the site we gave permission long ago to access Facebook now posts regular updates when we visit, without us actively sharing anything.
Probably should double check those. No one wants to inadvertently share what they REALLY look at on the web with their mom, teacher(s) or employers, do we?