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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Face Up, Facebook

Facebook encourages "open marriages." Ask Dan.
Reader Dan was invited on Facebook to meet hot singles who were waiting for him. The Facebook ad used a picture of his wife in the picture. Now a front-page Reddit story and people on Facebook itself are spreading the news about the privacy concern and making a stink. Facebook can steal photos from your profile page and use them in ads targeted at your friends unless you disable your ad block and opt out of sharing in such a manner. According to sources, (The Huffington Post, August 13 2009) Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg, 23, has developed a reputation, deserved or not, for being aloof and arrogant. The Harvard dropout has created one of the fastest-growing and arguably most innovative Internet companies since Google (GOOG). An investment from Microsoft (MSFT) gave it a $15 billion valuation last year. Zuckerberg has promised to make improvements in Facebook. "He (Mark Zuckerberg) also will encourage his team to work closer with bloggers, journalists, and members of the Facebook community to build better relationships so that problems can be discussed more openly. I urged him to change how Facebook deletes accounts from people who break the rules and to put in place more process for people to appeal deletion decisions." (Scobleizer, "The Shy Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook, January 26 2008) What’s harming Facebook – perhaps to a terminal degree – is enormously bad PR. For a social media company, these folks don’t understand the first thing about communication; they have alienated the press by being arrogant, aloof and dishonest. Their idea of press relations is sending a stupid message to a What’s New at Facebook Group that directs you to another website for a canned statement. According to publisher Chris A. Heidelberg, III, PhD., who was recently disabled from Facebook, "My point here is that I love the Facebook platform, but in their zeal to prevent spam they are persecuting amateurs like me who have no intention of spamming and only intentions of networking. Maybe they should borrow from LinkedIn and allow people to network who belong to the same groups. In my case I was experimenting with teaching a class in South Africa and here simultaneously before taking a trip. So I networked through one of my friends and that was considered a violation because I was adding too many friends too fast." (The Scholarly Research Ezine of Edutainment & Convergence, Aug 16 2008) Heidelberg believes Facebook can do whatever they want to do: first, cut you quickly from the squad; then, tell you to read the vague rules that they wrote to protect themselves legally. Facebook will not give you specifics in plain English on how to stay out of trouble once you have run afoul. So, where in this procedure is real due process? A due process that allows no chance to win appeals from the so-called best social networking site in the world? Something is wrong with the algorithms of Facebook: if they are trying to become a social network, they shouldn't disable accounts when people start to use them, even mildly heavily. Mark Zuckerberg has discussed governing Facebook -- and tried to patch up any existing wounds by using the word "transparency" a few dozen times.

"The purpose of Facebook is to make the world more open and transparent by giving people the power to share information," said Zuckerberg. "As the service grows, openness and transparency aren't just [about] the end state of people sharing information and more information being available. It's also the process and way of getting there."

The power of Facebook lies in the friends that daily connect to enjoy comments and discussion. Once this freedom is disrupted and the reasonable rights of free expression are taken away, Facebook will begin a long downhill slide in popularity. The true "transparency" taking place is due to enormous holes in the company's application of principles, rights, and responsibilities. The public is seeing through the hypocrisy of Facebook's front.

Honesty Box is one of Facebook's most popular applications.
  • Send & Receive anonymous messages and discover what people really think of you.
  • Reply to anonymous posters and flirt with your crushes.
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