Facebook Is For “Real” Friends, Not Collecting New Connections: What This Means For Privacy

Update:  My post below created a great deal of discussion about Twitter Auto DMs and whether they are welcome and worthwhile or unwelcome and damaging to senders' reputations.  Because of the diversity of opinion, I created a brief 10-question survey and invite you to  complete the survey and then share it with your followers on Twitter.  The survey should take less than 3 or 4 minutes to complete, so please visit: http://blogs.forrester.com/augie_ray/10-11-02-please_complete_a_brief_su... or http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CFSTQ3D.  I'll share all of the data here on the Forrester blogs in a week or two!

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Three Reasons To Stop Demonizing Facebook And Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook owns spectacular portions of its users’ time and has the right to use their data; this is the basis for Facebook’s significant revenue potential and is a great reason why we should hold Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, to very high standards.  But Facebook’s success is not nearly sufficient cause for the level of demonization that occurs today in popular media and among social media insiders.  Facebook deserves the scrutiny it receives, but the excessive reputational lynching that is underway could result in outcomes that are contrary to the interests of both consumers and marketers.

How bad has the Facebook scaremongering gotten today? I opened my latest issue of Maxim to find “The 12 Most Dangerous Men in the World: Meet the Dirty Dozen who very well could be the last people you see before you die.”  And there, stuck between the Mexican drug lord who uses severed heads as a warning to rivals and the Jamaican drug lord responsible for street battles, is Mark Zuckerberg.  To be fair, the magazine was being comical, citing as a threat “annoying people from your past ‘friending’ you” and including Brian Austin Green in the same list;  still the casual and easily accepted association between Facebook and evil is not without repercussions.

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Welcome To The New Facebook: What Facebook's New Features Mean

Welcome to the new Facebook.  No, I don't mean Facebook the social network, although today's changes do represent some exciting new capabilities for Facebook users. Instead, I mean Facebook the company.  The organization that today announced new features seems a different Facebook than the one we’ve seen in the past.  Today’s Facebook is one committed to transparency and user control and mindful of its increasingly vital and high-profile position within people's communications and lives.

By now you may have heard of (or seen) the new features Facebook announced at its press event this morning. Here is a brief summary:

  • Download Your Info: You can download a copy of everything you’ve ever posted to Facebook. Go to “Account: Account Settings” in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page to access this new feature. As an extra security measure, you will be asked to authenticate yourself before downloading your data as a ZIP file.  This file will contain your posts, pictures, list of friends, events, notes and more (see Figure 1).
     
  • Applications You Use: To date, once you allowed a third-party application to access your Facebook data, you had no ability to see what personal data was transferred and had few options to manage the application permissions.  Facebook is now offering greater transparency and control over this data sharing. Go to “Account: Privacy” in the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page, then click “edit settings” to review the applications you have authorized.  You can see the data each application has accessed; if you are unhappy with the amount of personal information provided, you may easily remove optional permissions for an application or deauthorize it completely from accessing your data (see Figure 2).
     
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