November 28, 2007

In-Your-Face Book

In its attempt to monetize its cultural success, Facebook is looking for trouble.

As we predicted in The Ribbon, consumers are getting increasingly suspicious of social networks prying into and publicizing their private activities. Consumers still don't understand how pervasive this is, but as they get a whiff of it, they aren't liking it.

Last week the Associated Press reported that users of Facebook have started complaining about a two-week old marketing program that reports to their "friends" about their online purchases. In other words, buy something from Overstock, and in a flash every one of your "friends" is alerted to what you bought. Hope it wasn't an inflatable girlfriend.

While you can opt out of this, the opt-out notice is apparently well-hidden by Facebook. This kind of perfunctory attention to privacy issues is just what's going to land them in deep shit if they don't watch out.

Within twenty-four hours, liberal advocacy group had signed up over 6,000 people to protest this practice.


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