Users Dislike Facebook Refresh but Privacy Isn't the Issue
According to a USA Today/Gallup poll conducted last week, two-thirds of Facebook users overall were unaware of the new features recently adopted at the social networking site. However, 87 percent of the respondents using Facebook on a daily basis said they were up to speed with the Web site's latest update.
Consumer advocacy groups have raised concerns about the latest additions to Facebook and how they might be used by criminals. Nevertheless, just 26 percent of the new poll's respondents who said they visit Facebook every day were "very concerned" about their online privacy, USA Today reported in an article published Tuesday.
A majority of Facebook users (56 percent) disapproved of the latest changes while only 36 percent said they liked them. Nevertheless, 30 percent indicated they visited the popular social networking site several times a day, and with 29 percent using Facebook on a daily basis.
"If there's one thing Facebook is not afraid of, it's change," said Forrester Research Senior Analyst Sean Corcoran.
Laying Claim To Users' Lives
For Facebook the goal is to radically change the online social networking game by laying claim to the entire life experience of each and every participant using its Web site, according to Corcoran.
For example, Facebook has been testing a new Timeline feature that "recaps in one fell swoop everything you've ever posted and lets you feature the highlights," Corcoran wrote in a blog. There are also "new apps that let you discover and share real-time experiences like watching movies and listening to music."
The principal benefit for Facebook is that the new features will deliver highly granular data on individual users that Facebook's advertising clients can harness to more precisely target their marketing efforts at the social networking site. With the latest changes, for example, advertisers will be able to launch innovative campaigns more likely to attract the attention of Facebook users.
"Just imagine Ticketmaster sending you a custom offer for Radiohead tickets for you and your friend because you listened to their music together," Corcoran wrote.
Consumer watchdogs and privacy advocates are concerned about the rollout of new Facebook features such as Timeline as well as Ticker -- the column on the righthand side of the page that enables users to see all their friends' activities in real-time. However, Facebook users have no way to opt out of the service or even set their sharing preferences with respect to the information about their online activities that becomes automatically shared with others through Timeline.
Facebook said Ticker's aim is to give users a more complete picture of what their friends are doing at any given moment. According to the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), however, that Ticker also enables any user to see the Facebook posts of complete strangers -- or even Facebook interactions between complete strangers -- to which a friend of the user has connected.
"Facebook users could unknowingly share information about nearly every aspect of their lives, ranging from the embarrassing but otherwise innocuous revelation of questionable music taste -- to the potentially dangerous revelation that one is consuming the 'wrong' political or religious content," EPIC wrote in a letter addressed to members of Congress.
The consumer watchdog also worries that Facebook's new Timeline capability will give hackers additional tools for committing fraud and identity theft."Timeline's treasure trove of personal information can also provide a tempting target for stalkers, government agents, or employers," the privacy advocacy group added.
Posted: 2011-10-19 @ 3:48am PT
Despite ongoing investigation by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of privacy issues raised by several groups, a survey by Gallup Poll and USA Today of 2,000 Facebook users found that for the majority, privacy is not a major concern.
Posted: 2011-10-18 @ 6:51pm PT
I wish FB would leave it alone, or slow it down. It's becoming exhausting to figure out where the posts I want to read have gone. Edge Rank leaves alot to be desired.