The Revolt of the Masses in Facebook

Update: Even Time Magazine wants a piece of this action.

Facebook, the No1 social networking site for college students, is undergoing massive internal turmoil among its online community.

The launch of 2 new features, “News Feed” and “Mini Feed”, which allows for real time updates and tracking of one’s online activitiy, (from new friends added, change in relationship status from attached to single, change in favorite movies etc..) has acquired Facebook the new and unsavory tag of “Stalkerbook”. This is sparking privacy concerns that used to be synonymous with MySpace and not Facebook which offers “exclusive” membership to only college students and certain corporations.

Here’s more about it from Scoble and Bitemarks, and here’s what I think:

People should understand an online social network is still a really “raw” innovation in terms of its impact on real people’s personal lives, or specifically, the self-realization of that impact by a social network user) Its one thing to want to expose your life on the web but another for everyone to know you are exposed. When you are dealing with real people and their lives, you should be sensitive, more so for Facebooking which is a major part of a college student’s social life. This is not about social networking anymore but social engineering when you try to meddle so much as to make everyone’s Facebook activity so transparent. Be subtle, make the new features opt-in, beta test it before a full public network-wide launch.. is what facebook sould have done.

Of course, there’s way more posts about this highly unpopular feature within the Facebook network, especially the proliferation of anti-Facebook groups, protests and boycotts, ironically within Facebook itself, showing the high dependency of Facebookers’ social life on the network and which had perhaps held the community at ransom to its founders.

There is even one Facebook group that calls itself the “Official Group for Petition” and has amassed more than 100,000 thousands members within one day, (update: it now has 591,888 members at Singapore time 135am , see pic)… UPDATE UPDATE: its up to 601,000+ members at S’pore time 230am) thanks to a new feature called “Global Groups” that enables Facebook-wide, non-college specific group formation.

Looks like Facebook is fast cultivating its reputation as the new “Evil Empire” or the “Old Microsoft”. Where’s their “Scoble”?

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4 thoughts on “The Revolt of the Masses in Facebook

  1. just a minor point: they even make it the front page – the first thing a facebook user’s going to see every time he/she signs in… apart from privacy issue, is everyone so interested to find out what’s happened to some of his/her friends whom he/she may have hardly spoken to before? as one’s getting busier, i am sure that one wants to use one’s time in the most efficient way, instead of wasting time reading sth “irrelevant”…

  2. Well, it looks like we’ve won! Personally, I don’t care about people knowing almost everything about myself, and as far as other people’s Facebook antics are concerned, I couldn’t be bothered to read them all. Still, it is a major issue, and a global one at that. It looks like another in a wave of such mishaps. Here in The Netherlands, the local no. 1 social networking site Hyves (www.hyves.nl) also had the feed issue introduced only to bew withdrawn altogether after a week of heavy protests. Here’s to the emancipation of the web as a primary form of interpersonal communication.

  3. i like/respect their public apologies very much

  4. yea, at least they pay attention and are sincere in rolling out apologies, but the jury’s still out on the fallout of this event. At least one man’s happy, our Dutch lawyer.. =)

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