The row over Facebook’s instant personalization feature

Have you opted out of the new Facebook instant personalization feature yet?

Last week Facebook introduced a new feature that “allowed non Facebook partner sites to personalize your experience using your public Facebook data”. The partner sites listed are Microsoft Docs, Pandora, Yelp.

The fact that the default setting was “Allow” immediately touched off a furry of posts that urged friends to: “Go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites and uncheck “Allow”. Please copy & repost.” I got at least 4 of them in one day. I did wonder whether most actually read through the feature, or just participated in the knee jerk reaction “there goes Facebook trampling on my privacy again”.

It’s easier to opt out than to think through the ramifications, which are pretty broad. First of all you have to think through what about you is public, not just public public, but to your network. Someone who is not my facebook friend can see quite bit about me because he is in my “network” (depending on how your privacy settings are set). And if my facebook friends don’t opt out, they can still share my public info with these sites, even if I opt out, to prevent that I have to explicitly block the actual applications. So perhaps it is time to review those settings again to more tightly control what is public.

Do I really want the guy in accounting to know I listen to speed death metal? That I gave a poor review to a steak house because I’m a militant vegetarian (for the record I like trip hop, electronica, folk and do eat meat). Do I really want my facebook identity linked with my yelp persona? A site that that tinkers with review placement?

I’ve done all of one (yes just one) yelp review, and I use more than pandora, so it’s not likely not that big of an issue for me, but sharing data like this is huge and will have unanticipated rippling effects. In the end it’s a control issue. Better make sure those electronic footprints show up where I want, so let’s opt out in a futile but proud gesture.

BTW, anyone see the South Park Facebook episode? Great episode, unfortunately overshadowed by the episode 201 controversy.

About the Author Kathy Alice

Kathy Alice Brown is a SEO expert specializing in Technical SEO and Content. In her spare time she loves to get outside.

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