Earlier this week, I shared my most recent unpleasant experience with Facebook - in which the site is sending messages that are supposedly from me (without my knowledge) - in some cases, people I'm not even friends with on Facebook - suggesting they become friends with other people who I am friends with on Facebook. As I might have mentioned, I'm not too happy about this, and suggested how you can prevent or stop this from happening to you.
So, enough about me...what, is happening with Facebook?
These recent policy changes are part of something Facebook is calling "open graph."
Open graph is basically, according to Facebook's founder, meant to make it easier for software develpers to build third-party applications, and for secondary websites to glean information about users through interacting with the site, mostly for marketing purposes.
Facebook also promises a more "personalized," experience for users. Unfortunately, many users are outraged about just exactly how "personal," these changes are, claiming that the changes were not made sufficiently clear to the users, and that some of the policies are too invasive.
Christina Warren, of Mashable, made a prediction last month which now has a "famous last words ring" to it, in light of the furor that has erupted since:
...Right now, it really doesn’t look like Open Graph will have any technical changes to Facebook user privacy. That said, the nature of how public information can be linked across different sites is now more robust, which makes it that much more important for the privacy-concerned to read the fine print...(more)
John Harlow, at the Times Online, summed it up best:
On Friday, as Zuckerberg celebrated his 26th birthday, he faced another tsunami of anger, this time from Facebook users who turned the socially awkward youth into the world’s youngest billionaire.
Zuckerberg wanted to enjoy his birthday in the Caribbean. Instead, the pale-faced supergeek is spending the weekend in crisis meetings in California, seeking ways to calm many of Facebook’s users who fear that website changes mean he is going to sell details of their on-line lives to the highest bidder... (more)
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.