Facebook Has Taken Your Profile Hostage

by Sean P. Aune | May 3, 2010

It seems no matter how you feel about all of the recent changes at Facebook, if you want information to be on your profile, you’re going to have to go along with them.

People love customizing their Facebook profiles with quotes, information about themselves and so on, but that is rapidly coming to an end with Facebook wanting to make sure you are as “connected” as possible to their new system of pages and “Likes”.  As people are visiting their profiles, they are being asked if they want to connect to various pages for their hometown, schools they attended, places they work and so on.  If this doesn’t interest you, well, then you don’t get to participate in the reindeer games.

facebook-logoiconAccording to Facebook’s FAQ on the new system:

What if I don’t want to connect to all these Pages?
If you don’t want to connect to any Pages, the corresponding sections…
If you don’t want to connect to any Pages, the corresponding sections on your Profile will be empty. Connecting to Pages will now be the main way to express yourself on your profile, and you can always edit your profile to remove specific suggested Pages that you don’t want to connect to. You can also go back and review the connections that were suggested to you during the connection process at any time by clicking here.

In short, if you don’t agree to this new system, you get to enjoy a blank profile page.  Gone is just entering simple text about movies and bands you like, you’re going to have to link them.  While this all sounds innocent on the surface, it is also going to make your information more public.

This isn’t a forced method of “opt-in” like the personalization one that the United States Senate is currently questioning, but it is for sure a more forced system than just, “Hey, type in what you like.”  You have the choice to not do this, but who wants a blank profile with nothing more than your birthday and gender essentially?  Doesn’t this kind of “break” the social nature of the site?  The whole point of social networks is to be, well, social, so if you have a blank profile, how does anyone know what you like?

The vast majority of people will adopt this without a second thought, and those who hesitate will probably eventually pick it up also because they won’t have much choice.  And then Facebook can crow about how large the adoption rate is.  They can go out to businesses and Web sites and go, “Well, if you aren’t part of our system, you can see all of our users are loving it, just look at these adoption rates!”

My feeling is that Facebook is quickly turning into a company that couldn’t care less about the true user experience.  The only experience that matters to them now is the one that makes them more money by being business friendly, and whatever gets them deeper entrenched in the larger Web economy.  The users are being left in a catch-22 situation where they either go along with whatever new scheme the company has come up with, or they end up with an accelerating decay of their user experience.  “Don’t you still want to play FarmVille and talk with that girl you had a crush on in high school?  Well then, I guess you’re going to need to go along with our new plans won’t you?”

I find myself visiting my Facebook account less and less because each time I go to that site, I feel like a little part of my soul dies for going along with their shenanigans.

What say you?  Are you becoming more displeased with how Facebook controls your profile?


Advertisement


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...