The Web is better with friends – so Facebook wants us to believe

Facebook Instant personalisation - opens in new window

Click for Facebook Video Introduction

Facebook is rolling out a new option termed Instant personalisation which will display your friends likes, opinions and general posts on their partner sites. (The above links to a Facebook video introduction to the new service.)

These partner sites (currently limited to Bing, TripAdvisor, Clicker, Rotten Tomatoes, Docs, Pandora, Yelp, and Scribd), can only access the information and content you’ve already made available to everyone:-

All our partners are required to respect your information and we’ve worked closely with them to make sure they do.

When you arrive at one of these sites, you’ll see a notification message and a way to turn off the personalised experience on that site.

If not turned off, Facebook says you will experience a new level of social interaction:-

  • See your friends’ reviews first when you search for a movie to watch.
  • Hear your favourite songs automatically when you visit a music site.
  • Experience a Web tailored to you and your friends.

This personalisation service is not yet available in the UK (at least, not at time of writing but is sure to be soon).

You might think that this is another invasion of your privacy and not what you signed up to when you setup your Facebook account.

But is it an invasion of privacy?

You might think so, as it will be enabled by default, but it can be turned off if you prefer both in your account settings and when you arrive on an enabled site.

At present there are only nine participating partners but that is sure to increase as benefits of including user recommendations, reviews, likes, dislikes and user generated content is well known particularly for ecommerce enabled sites.

If you do think it an invasion of your privacy go to Account>Privacy Settings>Apps & Websites>Instant Personalization>edit settings and uncheck Enable.

But, if your friends don’t, they will still be sharing what you share with them.  So you will need to convince them too and get them to do the same!

Although, Facebook allows you to turn it off they are hoping you don’t. No doubt, this is another attempt to monetize the platform (see earlier post Facebook to monetise your “Likes”) but for whose real benefit.

  • Will it really bring you a new level of social experience and interaction?
  • And, do you really want all this personalisation?
  • And, do you really want all your browsing and searching online to be pre-determined with content to suit your interests, decided by someone else?

However, I only add information I’m prepared to share with friends, fans, colleagues and the wider public and none of it is all that personal and probably in the public domain in any case.

And, any comments made are my opinions and what I believe. I don’t have a problem others knowing them so personally, I’m not too concerned about this sort of privacy but will probably turn it off when the option is available.

But Facebook friends, fans and others need to make up their own minds!

What do you think? Is it yet again Facebook invading your privacy? Or, does it just not concern you? I’d be interested in your opinion, you can comment below.

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