I love Facebook. I can find out all kinds of information about my friends that I might miss out on. Status updates, application posts and the like are a great insight into a person’s preferences. But nothing gives the game away as much as the fan pages that people become fans of. The constant stream of subscription to these pages on my friend’s behalf clog up my Live Feed/News Feed. Then they always are too inviting, so I become fans of them too.
One specific group of fan pages has caught my eye of late. Groups with titles like “WE WILL NOT PAY FOR FACEBOOK” and “BECOME A FAN BECAUSE FACEBOOK IS GOING TO CHARGE A MILLION DOLLARS TO USE THE SITE FROM TOMORROW!!!”. Maybe that is overdoing it, but you get the idea. Why are people to worried? Here’s the deal on Facebook.
Facebook is a company that bases itself around advertising and data. Advertising is how the company builds itself as a platform. As the platform becomes more popular, the more companies will pay for ad spots on the site, increasing revenue for Facebook. We could take for example the company’s failed Beacon platform, where you were provided with suggestions on purchases, and provided automatic status updates when you bought an item from a partner’s online store. It failed, but it was based around collecting personal data, mining that data, then using it as a ad selling platform. Still applications, companies and business use Facebook’s ad spaces to reach their audience through automated data mining done by Facebook.
Please people, don’t expect me to believe some uncited scrawl on some random’s poorly put-together fan page. There haven’t been any reported rumors of this happening, so that’s a trigger for me immediately. Next, only my non-tech savvy friends are joining; hint number two. And thirdly, there is no proof the company has made any media release to suggest the change. Facebook is much more open than it was even more than it was very few months ago. This is the kind of thing they discuss very far in advance. Telling people in advance about major changes is now an integral component of the company’s ethos. See the privacy control changes, and especially the Terms of Service (ToS) example (Google it).
Personally, I would be more worried about the privacy and security of all the data I put up onto the site. Facebook’s ToS hasn’t been that nice on personal intellectual property (especially pictures) in the past, and the site is a data mine waiting to happen. If you don’t know this, think first about believing anything you hear. Should you believe what I’m posting here even? Do your research, and you’ll see who is right: Crazy Facebook group creator versus Facebook user with IT background, search skills, a blog and a podcatcher.
I’m going to clean up my fan page subscriptions now; I have been to willing to join groups in the past.