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Facebook Connect – Great Feature or Another Privacy Nightmare?

By Carrie Hill

First announced back in May, Facebook Connect rolled out this weekend and now you can take your followers with you.  Specifically – you can now use your Facebook credentials to log into other sites across the web and see your Facebook friends’ activity on those sites.

Amid concerns over privacy – many sites are on tap to add this functionality to their own platforms – soon you will be able to see your Facebook friends on Discovery Channel sites, Digg, Hulu and more.

Instead of keeping information and platforms close to their chests – many Silicon Valley giants are looking to share at least a small amount of information if it makes the web more accessible for its users.  The issue I see with this is privacy – and that’s not a new issue for Facebook.

Behind the scenes in this change is the increasing and most challenging issue of building an advertising platform that works for Facebook – without drawing ire and lawsuits from users.  In a stat from the NY Times article:

…research firm IDC suggested that social networks were a miserable place for advertisers: just 57 percent of all users of social networks clicked on an ad in the last year, and only 11 percent of those clicks led to a purchase.

Facebook isn’t alone – other social networking platforms are struggling to find a way to monetize their data and platforms.

Activity and participation on Facebook can be quite different from that on other sites we belong to such as Twitter and LinkedIn.  The reasons we use those sites vary – and I’m not sure we all want those who follow us on Facebook to see our Twitter or LinkedIn connections.  Now more than ever the web is now an open book –and if you don’t want it seen – don’t say it or do it…

Carrie Hill is the SEO Team leader for Blizzard Internet Marketing where she specializes in optimizing travel, tourism and lodging websites

  • http://www.dstudiobali.com/webdesign/busby-seo-test-page/ Busby SEO

    I still choose twitter and linkedin because they are light to load, facebook are to heavy to load here in my country :(

    Busby SEO’s last blog post..By: Freddy Hernawan

  • http://www.seobrain.com/?p=10 SeoBrain

    Actually i don’t agree too with openid, same like facebook.. iam afraid if someday someone get my email and log on to sites that using openid!

  • http://www.amiohayon.com Ami Ohayon

    I don’t think of myself as a big privacy freak, but … I use separate logins for everything, and this post reminds me why!

  • http://www.ultimateblackhat.com/ Ultimate Blackhat

    In fact most people online tend to use the same password every time they register to something. There is a well known social engineering trick to exploit that.

  • http://apple-realincentives.com iphone

    Certainly slightly dodgy on the privacy side of things, but an interesting feature nevertheless.

  • http://www.jordankasteler.com/utah-seo-pro-blog/ Utah SEO Pro

    I really don’t think it’s an issue. I can see the concern though.

    Utah SEO Pro’s last blog post..ExactFactor: An SEO Tool Review

  • http://www.seoresults.co.za/pages/seo-tools/ Jacques Seoman

    Facebook is seriously popular, however I am one of millions who signed the petition banning Facebook apps requiring all your gory details (and your friends!). They will have to desist from these data mining exercises, as it will detract from the popularity of their offering.

  • http://outskirtspress.com/internetmarketing/ Lance Jepsen Author of Internet Marketing

    The problem with Facebook, Twitter, and other businesses that allow you to track what people are doing online is that they appeal to a very small segment of our society: stalkers.

    These stalkers might actually be willing to pay Facebook or Twitter to stalk people one day. Using advanced headline writing from Claude Hopkins, who invented the concept of how the headline should call out your target audience (customer) from the mass crowd of people– I’ve come up with this marketing headline for Facebook and Twitter.

    “Now You Can Stalk Millions Of People Online”

    ;)

  • http://saadkamal.com Saad Kamal

    Did they disclose what kind information are they going to share?

    Saad Kamal’s last blog post..Microsoft to Pay $20 Billion for Yahoo Search

  • http://obscuremania.com Red

    How are they going to know my friends ids on those other sites, unless they use the facebook connect also. Facebook already imports a lot of other web 2.0 stuff and I’m not sure I’m THAT curious to see what my friends are doing on every single website.

  • http://www.avanta.co.uk office space

    This hass been a debate amongst my mates. But I don’t think of myself as a big privacy freak, but … I use separate logins for everything, and this post reminds me why! Ciao!

  • http://www.hsbc.co.uk/1/2/personal/current-accounts Monica – current accounts

    it’s no secret that 90% of online users repeat their passwords across online communities. Should they be an open source that can check/validate passwords with same username ??

  • http://www.netage.co.za Goran Web Design

    I have to say that I’m not particularly comfortable with my contacts (I hesitate to use the word “friends” since a large number of my facebook contacts are people who just randomly added me and whose invitation I accepted purely out of curiosity) being able to see what I get up to on the rest of the Internet.. This is not that I do anything Dodgy while navigating the Internet… I just don’t like the idea of having no secrets…

  • http://www.greatpriceshere.com Nicole Price

    My one question is “What on earth for?” I have not been consulted about sharing such information and I am mad that my privacy may be compromised.

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..Stylish Cookware

  • http://www.types-of-flowers.org/ Lily Bent

    You know I am the one among 90% users who has the same username and password in any online community I take active participation. I think now is time to create new accounts and new passwords.