RE: Is Facebook unethical, clueless or unlucky?

1. Is Facebook clueless, unethical or just unlucky? Why?

I don’t believe that Facebook could possibly be clueless; they’re one of the few companies that gets to take their pick of what talent is available to the industry.

This is a slip into the unethical, at the very least it’s a slip into the grey area – every web company that survives on advertising revenue (ie, nearly every social media company) is under constant pressure from their own advertising, marketing and public relations teams (or whatever fulfills the tasks of such traditional elements in their business) for better, deeper information and bigger numbers for that information. At the end of the day, it boils down to targeted advertising, and must do for a company like Facebook, judging by their popular D.I.Y. advertising model.

I don’t for a moment believe that their motives are *evil*, but I do think they are misguided. I think they have probably “dogfooded” themselves into believing that it’s a harmless way to increase the value of their product (and their product is the users of Facebook, their customers are the people who buy the ad space).

2. Will Facebook’s latest behavior result in more lawsuits and/or industry regulation?

There are stirrings of regulation on this side of the pond (though still only rumbles) and one has to suspect that eventually the problem of regulating Internet companies activities online is going to get attention – but I’m not sure this particular event will be the final straw. I think it’s likely that companies will keep pushing the boundaries until one finally does something that creates a scandal and brings the whole privacy house of cards tumbling down.

3. Do you trust Facebook with your information?

I was initially wary of them for their “enterprising” (and now widely adopted) strategy of scraping address books and email inboxes for contact details to “helpfully” invite others to the service. I think the value they bring to the table is limited, and that their success is based, in large part, on the ferociousness and tenacity of their contact harvesting spampaign and gimmicky features that result in email notifications.

So no, I don’t trust Facebook to not exploit what information I give them; I’m waiting to see just how far that exploitation goes.

This entry was posted in Technology. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.