Facebook is changing – again. It started about two years ago when Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg started making privacy waves for the social networking site to become the “least private” website on the Internet. According to a timeline produced by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on April 28, 2010, slowly taking away a person’s privacy options while making available options more difficult to figure out how to use, Facebook has become something of a mystery to those who used it when it first started. Now, in a conference in Palo Alto California, Mr. Zuckerberg has announced that he is changing the face of Facebook again, this time it has to “make it better.” The problem is that every time Facebook claims to make the site better, it simply blasts off any which way it wants and makes the lives of its user more difficult.
Major Facebook Announcements…
Apparently, according to a transcript of the conference, users will now have the ability to download their stored information from Facebook by way of a .zip file onto their computers. Mr. Zuckerberg stated that they are “…announcing a new product that lets users download their information …” He added that there is a “new” dashboard that allows users control and access to the information that is stored by applications called, “Apps that you use.” Again, this information will be available for users to download to their computers in a single .zip file.
…Can Lead to Disaster
To allow users the ability to download their information may seem like a good idea, but is it really? What would these downloads mean to Facebook hackers? You know, those people who manage to phish a Facebook login and password to an account, or simply “hack” in and steal a person’s information for malicious purposes. I can see a possible future article headline now… “Facebook hacker phished Facebook login to download user information and use it against him…” There is no word yet on how user verification will be substantiated to allow information downloads, or what Facebook information will be available for download, but it is a setup for problem.
Imagine this… A user has a mortal enemy (who doesn’t have one?), one of those enemies that knows everything there is to know about that user, including the answers to the secret questions and such-a far off idea, maybe but it can-and does-happen. That malicious person could fake the user’s Facebook login and password to steal the user’s info and use it against him. This is something that happens every day; think about the consequences.
Facebook has Social Networking Problems?
Probably the biggest announcement made by Mark Zuckerberg is what he calls the “biggest problem with social networking” and using Facebook, which are segmented friend groups. No one makes lists of friends, which was considered as a solution to the friend problem and the algorithm Facebook developers considered would make groups of friends based on who a user associated with the most. One day it could be the cable person, the other a potential employer; the point made was that most users do not want to see these people as “friends” they associate most. The fact is that friend groups change n a daily basis and a person’s “BFF” today could be a mortal enemy tomorrow. Besides, who wants a computer algorithm to tell you who your closest friends are?
What’s Facebook’s Solution?
Currently, Facebook is exploring a “group product” that includes things such as a group chat, email lists, and “shared spaces.” According to Justin Schaefer, groups are shared friend spaces that resemble Places and work as mailing lists would. In conjunction with the release of the Graph API, Facebook believes this is the best solution to dealing with friends and groups in an extended interface. Ultimately, Mark Zuckerberg is stating that he new functionality of the Graph API and the groups concept is to give the user more control over their information. When asked by Nick O’Neil from AllFacebook.com is the groups function would replace friends lists, Mr. Zuckerberg replied, “No.” Instead, the communications using the Graph API would feature the ability of users to utilize the groups feature using any publisher they wish.
Not Enough Information
It was not explained exactly how this Graph API would work, but speculation would make one think it would work just as the “Like” button does now, but in a larger capacity. For example, I think that the Graph API, if integrated into websites as the Like button is now, might allow users to chat amongst their groups while on other web pages. If this were to happen, then it would making visiting Facebook redundant for many people. Personally, mark Zuckerberg should have left Facebook alone. When it was first developed as a social platform, it was not perfect, but it was private.
While most people on the Internet do not always read the terms of service of the websites they visit, it does not mean that site owners should take advantage of that fact and use it against them. The more changes are made to Facebook-good or bad-the less private a user’s information becomes and the less anyone cares, apparently.
Nick O’neil, “Live from Facebook’s Big Announcement,” AllFacebook.com