I find facebook really, really creepy, and refuse to open an account, despite a fair amount of prompting from friends. The idea of sharing information with peers like that is great. That is what blogs, email, IM, message boards, coffee houses and bars (all places where you mostly control your information. Except for the last one anyway.)are for. The idea of sharing information with Facebook, Inc. and their “trusted third parties” is not so great.
Their latest ploy to look open and concerned for the rights of their users is genuinely spectacular; I didn’t manage to figure out how it was going to work until I read around and saw it explained. This consumerist article is a pretty good overview. The current of posturing started over some unsolicited revisions to the TOS that were so objectionable that the normally uninterested complained. They quickly reverted the changes lest the “cool people” leave, and they end up like friendster. They then claimed they would “Open up the process” and produced a new draft terms of service (and a useless, totally nonbinding “Statement of Principles“). The draft TOS is actually, on a cursitory reading, substantally less objectionable than the old one, and they even made some cosmetic changes based on user input. However, there are two little problems.
1. The new “easy to read” terms don’t appear to be written in a legally rigorous way. If challanged, it should be easy to find/make loopholes for whatever happens.
and, far more interesting,
2. For the vote to count they are requiring 30% of users active in the last month to vote, and the estimates floating around the ‘net last night were more like 10%. The theory is that the whole arrangement is a ploy to be able to say “See? No one cares.” and go on with business as usual. This is actually a rather clever tactic if indeed that is the objective.
Accusations of not adequately publicizing the vote in order to make their point have already begun. It should be fun to watch, indignant hipsters vs. corporate entity desperately trying to look cool is usually a good show.
Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.— Philip K. Dick
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