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Is Zuckerberg’s Frictionless Sharing World a Bust?



Remember back when Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg declared that frictionless sharing was the future? I remember that I was repulsed at the idea and the following proliferation of apps from the likes of the Washington Post, Yahoo and SocialCam confirmed just how annoying the whole thing would turn out to be despite Mr. Zuckerberg’s crystal ball act that told us what we liked and how we would like it.

Well, it didn’t take too long (around a year or so) for Facebook to realize that maybe people aren’t that interested in being constantly bombarded with everything that their friends are doing, reading or listening to after all. Yesterday, as Buzzfeed reports, there was a bit of an ‘about face’ announced.

On Thursday, Facebook’s Manager of Media Partnerships, Andy Mitchell, told a panel of journalists and fellow Facebookers that the site was moving away from “passive sharing,” referring to apps released by the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, SocialCam and others that automatically share users’ activity on Facebook.

Note the smooth move away from the naughty sounding frictionless sharing terminology so that maybe people wouldn’t notice as much that Facebook, and God forbid Mark Zuckerberg, were wrong on this one.

The Buzzfeed article goes on to discuss the slide in number of users of these sharing crapplications. The author, John Herrman, tries to make it sound like Facebook was doing the right thing.

It’s not clear whether Mitchell is suggesting that Facebook will ban frictionless news apps, discourage their development or just further minimize them in the news feed. In any case, it’ll be the rare Facebook change that doesn’t inspire a backlash.

Not to quibble but the silent ‘Yeah!’ from Facebook users will be the result of the relief after spending the past year being bombarded with more stuff than we ever cared to have clutter up the Facebook news feed. So really, it is a strong and real reaction to something Facebook did a year ago and figured out that it was not the future and it was a terrible idea. It’s just that Facebook is actually listening to its users (Maybe this public company thing is a good idea after all?)

So how do you feel about the possible disassociation of Facebook and these apps? Are you happy? Are you sad? Are you relieved? Are you still looking for a Facebook alternative?