Monday, September 26th, 2011

The Zipless Facebook

Everyone has been going crazy about "frictionless sharing" for the last week. That's Facebook's cute new term for what happens when you give permission for something new and fun to enter your life and then it takes you to a party and "auto-shares" your activity with the world. You drunk slag. What to do? Short version long… you should probably get off the Internet now while the getting is good. (Well? At least consider it!)

• This explanation of the advent of "frictionless sharing" on Facebook led naturally to a conversation about how Facebook cookies work, including when you're logged out of Facebook. And it was met with a rather strange reaction from a Facebook employee, who wrote: "Generally, unlike other major Internet companies, we have no interest in tracking people. We don’t have an ad network and we don’t sell people’s information." That's… absurd; Facebook is both an ad platform and an ad network, and has a pro level Facebook Ads (with, like, salespeople!) system and a self-managing, amateur-level ads system. (Also, you know: Nielsen Facebook ratings exists now?) While many of Facebook's tracking systems has to do with non-advertising purposes, this is wildly beside the point.

• So now we have delightful products like the Washington Post's "Social Reader app" (that's what they call their newspaper on the Facebook. When you read their stories on that, it reports on you reading them to your friends! Isn't that handy? Auto-broadcasting. Lifestreaming basically! Writes developer Michael Donohoe: "Earlier this year when I was still at the Times we talked to Facebook about a news app. Facebook had a whole set of new features in the pipeline (presumably just launched) and this passive reading action was one of them and they were pushing hard for us to use it." Heh. But it's apparently fine for the Washington Post.

• And then there's the nutso trending in third-party apps. Color and Spotify's permissions are insane; half the stuff you can interact with via Facebook (and Twitter!) is like "We can add friends and post to your wall and call your mom!"

What can/should you do? Well, you can laboriously keep up with changes in policy and privacy, for starters. It's boring maintenance, like trimming your nose hair, which you should probably also do soon. This is a good explainer. Spoiler: start here, with your app settings, and delete everything you don't love. But guess what! This is just the beginning. Just turn on your webcam and rip off your shirt, let's just get this over with.

20 Comments / Post A Comment

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

The kids? are like, ew. Facebook? Ew.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I know, I know, DELETE YR TUMBLR etc but I am actually pretty likely to delete my facebook profile. I only use it when I'm single anyway, if filling out basic interest fields so I don't look like a privacy-crazed maniac to facebook-stalking hotties even counts as "use."

Tyrantanic (#13,751)

Being relentlessly anti-app is a good place to start, though doing so has made me far less concerned about privacy policy changes than I really should be.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

I love how "consciously and deliberately doing something" = "friction" these days.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

I'd tell you what I think of this (zeroth world) problem, but I'm afraid I've used up my herd confrontation bandwidth for the day with what I said on "the machine ate my Radiohead tickets" topic.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

@Niko Bellic I'm just glad you're using the term "zeroth world problem." I hope it catches on! (But not so much that you stop using it.)

jolie (#16)

I can't be the only one who won't enable Spotify Social* because I don't want the world to know how often I listen to "Party in the USA" can I?

@jolie Wait, you have to ENABLE Spotify Social? I thought it was automatically turned on/you have no choice but to acquiesce to the demands of Skynet.

jolie (#16)

@armagnacforbreakfast Indeed. There's actually an option to enable it without going through FB, but it's pretty limited in terms of what it can do, which I guess is their way of "getting you" but whatevs. And now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go listen to "Party in the USA" again. And again. And again.

#56 (#56)

@jolie If only my song obsessions were this benign. In any case, we have the same damn fears about Spotify.

sox (#652)

@jolie I recently joined Spotify just because my favie band made a playlist on it, and a friend was all "connect with me!" and my initial gut reaction was "NO WAY what if I'm listening to something totally embarrassing?!"

Trilby (#3,897)

In my short stint on Facebook, I embarrassed myself constantly.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

"So if you don't want people to see what you're reading or listening to, or how much you're running, the best thing to do is to keep it off Facebook."

We're allowed to keep things off Facebook?

Pop Socket (#187)

I definitely don't want that Washington Post app since most of the articles I read involved teachers getting fired for having sex with students.

Tully Mills (#6,486)

So would you call it a button-front facebook then?

sox (#652)

I already pretend that everyone on earth can see my profile, though I do try to keep my privacy settings reasonably in check…

frank (#9,995)

Facebook makes me feel anti-social.

flounders (#111,722)

I just opened a new fake gmail account so I could open a fake Facebook account so I can log on to the Awl through Facebook but the Facebook Awl log-on doesn't work unless I activate some sort of Facebook feature but I can't figure out how to do that and I can only log on with the fake gmail name. What am I doing wrong? These fake accounts are getting hard to keep track of!

edited for clarification and then to admit to editing

Edited a third time just to see if I could beat the edit clock.

HEH! Yeah you should be able to use it if you're logged-in on the same browser. Well fortunately, you can always use our own commenting system here! We just offer a small array of choices for people who like commenting via Facebook, Twitter or our own commenting system, which offers sweet, sweet privacy.

flounders (#111,722)

@Choire Sicha So many traditions, so little time.

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