Facebook’s Open Graph: Innovation or Intrusion?
Posted by Zack Winder on May 4, 2010 in Business News, Business Start Up Advice, Internet Marketing, Social Networking [ 1 Comment ]
Facebook has made some big changes to its site’s features in an attempt to make big waves in the social media industry. The changes will affect much more than just the website, but possibly the Internet as a whole, as a variety of companies sign up to take part of Facebook’s new initiative, “Open Graph.”
Facebook began as a MySpace killer and has evolved into a highly popular website to keep in touch with family and friends. Recent changes to the site offer a higher level of personalization which is concerning many privacy advocates. An example is the SimplyHired.com feature which will show where friends work and any open jobs at their company. In addition, the feature is on by default and the user would have to manually turn it off to prevent their personal information from being shared with their peers, not to mention big business. While the company says the new system is harmless, the passing of information from company to company has caught the attention of congressmen.
Senator Charles Schumer wrote a letter directly to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) urging the institution to begin more heavily regulating how information is handled by social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace. One of his main concerns is that these companies can virtually do what they want with the information since there is little guidance over how the companies can utilize customer data. He worries people may receive unwanted solicitations or have their personal information fall into the wrong hands. At the very least, he seeks a disclosure on these websites about how personal information will be used and shared: “I am asking the FTC to use the authority given to it to examine practices in the disclosure of private information from social networking sites and to ensure users have the ability to prohibit the sharing of personal information.”
As sites like Facebook and MySpace become more and more intertwined into our daily worlds, it is important to set safeguards now to prevent the future misuse of data. As big business already holds enormous amounts of data about us, this feature may allow even more personal information to fall into their hands. Hopefully as this type of information sharing grows online, safeguards can be utilized to protect not only the users, but their personal information as well.