Reviews of this new project in the blogosphere were almost universally negative because of privacy concerns, even through spokesperson Barry Schnitt told us that the intention behind it was really to provide users with a better, more seamless experience. (Read the interview here.)
Jason Kincaid of TechCrunch said pitchforks should come out on the company:
Make no mistake — there will be backlash…. But this time could be different: Facebook users may not only object to having their social graphs shared without their permission, they could also finally get a wakeup call as to what the site’s infamous ‘Everyone’ setting really means, as well some of the other unsettling privacy changes Facebook made last December. And things could get ugly.
Privacy hawk Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb called it eerie: ”That sounds downright creepy…. There’s a big difference between opt-in and opt-out “data portability.”
So where’s the outrage?
Nowhere, apparently. The page where Facebook is supposed to receive input on the new program on the Site Governance Page has elicited a grand total of 131 comments as of 10:30 a.m. Pacific time. By contrast, Facebook’s announcement of the changes has 2,109 “likes” or thumbs up. That’s a huge difference from when the company announced the news feed back in 2006 and had as much as 10 percent of its entire user base protesting the change.
Maybe people don’t understand. Or maybe they don’t care, and Mark Zuckerberg was right when saying in December that social norms are changing and people are just becoming more public. Or maybe more democracy paradoxically makes people less insistent about having their voices heard.
What do you think?
People: Barry Schnitt