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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

But Will Facebook Make a Real Commitment to Protecting Users?

Sure, Facebook has reassured us that certain Terms of Service changes don't mean they'll rip off our original content.

But users' concern about Facebook as it matures should be much broader than that. Facebook has attracted quite a few ex-Googlers -- among them Sheryl Sandberg, instrumental in promoting the standards Google continues to uphold in the advertising program, on consumers' behalf. Sandberg is joined by a number of other prominent Googlers, who surely had a sense of pride working for a company that protected users from some of the web's worst evils.

But have a gander at all the things you're left vulnerable to as a Facebook user. Third party apps are inherently fraught with potential spyware, privacy invasions, and other mayhem, given the openness of the system. But then again, Google indexes the whole Internet, and attempts to warn users from even landing on known spyware sites.

Currently, Facebook has very low standards for both third-party apps and display ads. Display ads claiming to offer services with "no spyware" attached in fact redirect to spyware and nuisance-ware sites.

Google was a precocious adolescent only three years after its founding. By comparison, Facebook is playing the game like an ADD-riddled pre-teen.

Me and you? We'll survive. It's the hundreds of millions of less savvy users that appreciate a company that's looking out for them by shooing away malicious partners and advertisers.

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Posted by Andrew Goodman




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