The Facebook Empire Ends Here

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The Colosseum or Roman Coliseum
Image by Northfielder

Perhaps you have seen the latest Facebook news. Three new evolutions were revealed: Commitments to continue selling personal data; a revised Like effort that turns Likes into full content shares; and a revamped comment system for blogs and web sites using Connect that in essence publishes those comments on a unique Facebook page. In summary, the Facebook Empire extended its tentacles further outside of its walls to drive external content in, own that content per its user guidelines, and continue exploiting users’ data.

The Facebook Empire is not welcome here.

As an Internet user and reader of this blog, it’s time to make some commitments to you. These new commenting tools will not be implemented on this blog. Your comments will not appear in Facebook unless you want to post them there. Your privacy and information remains safe, per the site’s privacy guidelines. When you share a post here on Facebook, it is intentional, not because you gave a post a thumbs up.

Privacy remains a primary concern given Facebook’s abusive attitude towards user data. As Gini Dietrich blogged last week, there is a real expectation gap between people providing information with Facebook’s tools, and the social network’s use of that data.

Facebook has an opt-out attitude, meaning they place you in a service, use your data, and assume that if you hate it, you’ll opt out. There is no request for permission. Given that laissez-faire attitude, who knows how comments from this blog and others will be used in aggregate?

Facebook’s shady privacy policies are prompting Federal Trade Commission reports, and suggested legislation. But the government won’t be able to stop Facebook for some time. It’s on us. Many people have pointed out that the ease of use and an existing 600 million user base will be too tempting to overcome. Such is the lure of the Facebook attention monopoly.

The attitude that this and many other blogs should be an extension of Facebook was just disturbing. Facebook wants all of the conversation and activity on the Internet to occur on its social network. If this is what readers want, they should feel welcome to share the link and have the conversation. Yet, owning all commentary on this site takes empire building one step too far.

For this very same reason, creative content generators should not publish on Facebook directly. Thanks to its user guidelines, the social network is automatically granted a license for the content. Content producers should use secondary services such as a blog, a video site or a photo site, and link back in if protecting copyright is an issue. Beyond the legal reasons, strategically, never let Facebook replace your web site.

This is one very small site in the grand scheme of the social web. The Facebook Empire ends here, though. The monopolistic actions have gotten too scary. Past and current behavior only indicates that blog comment data will be used in the worst ways, for commercial purposes and to further lock in as many users as possible onto Facebook. This site is free from such machinations.

What do you think of Facebook’s ever extending reach?

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  • http://twitter.com/dariasteigman Daria Steigman

    Hi Geoff,

    The evil empire’s not going anywhere near by blog either; thank you very much.

    Let’s get my bias out of the way up front: I don’t like Facebook. Sure, I use it — a little — but the “don’t own your data” thing long ago had me questioning why people would share so much of their private lives there.

    Now to the business side. I’ve seen several posts lately that seem to suggest that companies should (or will) replace their Web sites with Facebook. I even ran across a small business that appears to have done just that. Again, why would anyone make their hub a place where they don’t own the data? Heck, they can’t even control the format.

    Back to my bias (yes, there’s a business reason coming): Companies (and nonprofits, etc.) need to hang out where their audience is. My #1 problem with RockMelt was that it assumed I love Facebook. So does Facebook. But if I don’t — and if everything your business does is connected there, we’re going to have a problem.

  • http://twitter.com/dariasteigman Daria Steigman

    Hi Geoff,

    The evil empire’s not going anywhere near by blog either; thank you very much.

    Let’s get my bias out of the way up front: I don’t like Facebook. Sure, I use it — a little — but the “don’t own your data” thing long ago had me questioning why people would share so much of their private lives there.

    Now to the business side. I’ve seen several posts lately that seem to suggest that companies should (or will) replace their Web sites with Facebook. I even ran across a small business that appears to have done just that. Again, why would anyone make their hub a place where they don’t own the data? Heck, they can’t even control the format.

    Back to my bias (yes, there’s a business reason coming): Companies (and nonprofits, etc.) need to hang out where their audience is. My #1 problem with RockMelt was that it assumed I love Facebook. So does Facebook. But if I don’t — and if everything your business does is connected there, we’re going to have a problem.

    • Anonymous

      Any strategist that suggests replacing a web site with a Facebook page should simply be run out of town. That is the worst advice I have ever heard. Even the best Facebook apps take people off the Facebook site to a privately hosted game or application. Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous. Let’s give Facebook all of our SEO!

      I could keep ranting, but I won’t. Great comment, Daria.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you (all) for bringing into sharp focus many issues that keep me dancing as fast as I can to not become part of the FB Collective. The privacy options don’t even include “just you” unless you explore the “custom” button, so it’s basically hidden, and I had to repeat the exercise for each feature. The question I struggle with, because I have benefited from unexpected connections and re-connections, is whether I should just cancel my account. At this point I’m addicted to Twitter, and I trust them.

      • http://ariherzog.com Ari Herzog

        Heh. Speaking of giving empires your SEO, that reminds me of a web marketing workshop speaker I heard last week who suggested the top three blog platforms the small business owners in the audience should use, in preference, were blogspot, wordpress, and movabletype. I stopped myself from blurting out an objection that creating a blogspot blog is no different than using Facebook as your homepage.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stevejennings1 Steve Jennings

    Not wanting to sound alarmist or anything, but this sure is taking FB into an interesting place. I’ve heard rumors that have been circulating for quite some months, from highly credible sources, that one of the reasons MZ has been able to raise 100′s of millions of $, and change FB’s privacy policy so easily, is because he has the support of the US Government, because they have access to the data. For all I know, this is just wild speculation, or the rumor mill spreading alarmist conspiracy theory bunkum!

    Look here’s MZ with POTUS in SF: http://www.redmondpie.com/steve-jobs-mark-zuckerberg-with-president-obama-at-big-tech-dinner-last-night-photos/

    and here he is with GWB also in SF, actually at Facebooks HQ: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/30/george-w-bush-loves-the-facebook_n_789696.html

    “HOW COZY AND CONVENIENT IS THAT?”

    And now this;
    Middle East Uprising: Facebook’s Secret Role in Egypt
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2011-02-24/middle-east-uprising-facebooks-back-channel-diplomacy

    The role Richard Alan is playing in all of this, sheds some light on just how powerful FB have become.

    This could very easily develop into something resembling Orwell’s vision of a Big Brother society!

    Offgrid is going to be the new status symbol of the social elite in the near future.

    That’s my 2c

    • Anonymous

      I totally agree, Steve. It’s one of my huge pet peeves with Plancast, and the location based services. You really don’t need to know where I’ll be. Off the grid is an option that we are quickly being lured out of, all at the cost of privacy.

      As to the Facebook/gov thing, we’ve seen it before with the NSA and Verizon and AT&T. This would not surprise me in the least bit.

      • AC

        People aren’t looking ahead. The Internet that those like Schmidt (of Google) talk of as being the future is one that searches you, as opposed to you searching it. In order to do that and have your cup of joe freshly made awaiting you when you wake up, you must be transparent and give all to the hive…I mean, net. Even Wikileaks is likely a set-up since it promotes just that, transparency.

  • http://simplyevolve.com DanielDubya

    Good for you, Geoff! In addition to all of the points around privacy & ownership above, I would add that this will also make FB feeds that much more messy. From a practical standpoint, I don’t need to know every single thing my friends do online. Additionally, I wouldn’t want to bother some of my FB fans with essentially spam on things I might comment on. I have all sorts of connections on FB, some professional, some personal. There’s no way to really distinguish between the two, which just makes these changes more annoying to me and my connections.

    • Anonymous

      I have heard several others complain about the comment spam in their stream. This makes sense to me. There is clearly a conflict of interest in owning the page view versus turning off visitors.

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    We were having the Facebook monopoly conversation the other day – because it’s free, the government can’t (and won’t, if what Steve is saying is true) restrict what they’re doing. The issue really is not Facebook or the Zuck. The issue is us. We all moan and groan about the opt-out policy, yet Facebook continues to grow in popularity. What it comes down to is we’re social beings, us humans, and this provides not only a way to connect with people around the globe, but does it in a very intuitive way.

    Like you, though, the Facebook comments won’t be found on my blog. If people want to like a post and add it to their stream, I won’t complain, but I can’t stand the thought of seeing a bunch of comments in my news stream.

    P.S. Thanks for the shout out!

    • Anonymous

      Social beings migrate. Before the Open Graph protocol, Facebook was losing its juice. It will again, it’s just a question of how and where, but I think the iPad and other tablets will have a large role in that. May be it’s a fool’s error, but I refuse to get over invested, and certainly not with these risks. Thanks for the comment, Gini!

      • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

        Well, I misspoke when I wrote that we wouldn’t add the Facebook comments to Spin Sucks. Livefyre, the commenting system we use, has a box to check it you want to put your comment on Facebook or Twitter. But I still stand by not wanting my friends to see all of the comments I write on blogs.

    • AC

      Unless you consider the possibility that Facebook *is* the government (NSA, more specifically). The best puppet is one that no longer needs its strings. Facebook is every governmental intelligence agency’s wet dream.

      • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

        I just saw something (I haven’t read the story yet) that said Facebook has worked with the government on a couple of initiatives. So you’re likely right!

  • Jason Spencer

    Interesting post, Geoff.

    As a content generator myself — I’m a newspaper reporter — though, I find two of the three new features very helpful. The sharing of personal data does bother me tremendously, and when I first read about it I immediately deleted my cellphone number from Facebook — though I don’t even remember adding it.

    I agree that Facebook should never replace a person’s (or company’s) website.

    However, the expanded capabilities of the like feature to me are simply the equivalent of saying, “Hey, did you see this in the paper today?” — except it takes less effort. In the comment features, too, I see positives, like giving our readers the ability to connect with one another. The comments themselves aren’t as important as the revelation of new potential friends, readers, or people simply to have a conversation with. All it takes is a basic understanding by the reader/user that by posting a comment using Connect, they are opening themselves up to a larger community.

    Any platform seeking to monopolize the social web is dangerous, but I don’t think readers will ever let that happen. And there’s too many forward-thinking individuals, like yourself, filling the role of watchdog.

    But when I look at the increasing number of Facebook comments on our news stories, I see a wide sampling of our readership, mostly casual Facebook users, young and old, tech-savvy and those still learning the technology. Some of them are just discovering the social web, and anything that helps them share the various content they find online is a plus in that it contributes to the larger conversation, imho.

    Twitter and LinkedIn remain my favorite social media platforms, but given the popularity of Facebook, I feel like it would be irresponsible of us not to take advantage of it.

    BTW, I spotted this post when a mutual friend, Olivier Blanchard, shared it on Facebook :)

    • Anonymous

      “but given the popularity of Facebook, I feel like it would be irresponsible of us not to take advantage of it.” And I think it would be irresponsible to do it without advising people of the intellectual property risks, or taking those into account. This is the devil we must all chose to dance with or not. I would much rather see people opt-into sharing my content.

      Media has a hard time with social media. While reads may be the end goal, I am not sure if the media will be happy with the end result. An over investment in a social network that may or may not stand the test of time.

      Even in the monopoly world, AT&T the landline company fell. The AT&T we know today came from one of its split offs, SBC, which acquired as many telecom cos as it could, including it’s dying old parent.

      • Jason Spencer

        I would only publish substantive original content (articles or blog posts) on our website. Minor updates, typically geared toward niche audiences, I would post on Twitter or, in some cases, Facebook. For instance, we ran a story about Mike Huckabee coming to town, testing the water for a possible presidential bid on a book-signing tour. Sharing that link on Facebook wouldn’t strip of us our rights to that intellectual property. However, if I found out he was also going to have a private meeting with local activists while in town, and posted that on the social web — it sounds like you (or Facebook) then lays claim to that one piece of information? Taking it to the extreme, then, if that was included in a follow-up story or blog post, then Facebook could technically sue us for incorporating our own post into original content that would be posted, again, on a proprietary site? That’s troublesome — but, again, it’s hard to imagine happening. I think if Facebook tried to push the matter the platform would find that it has overestimated its own importance.

        The larger issue, it seems, is Facebook “owning” comments. This is difficult to surmount. Newspaper message boards, ours included, tend to get overrun by a handful of hard-liners who dominate the discussion and scare away people who want to have a rational conversation. Comments on Facebook tend to be more civil — thanks, in part, I’d argue to people being forced to put their name on what they say. I don’t think a soccer mom commenting on a story about a local soldier dying in Afghanistan would think her 2 cents would become the property of Facebook or could be exploited. What would Facebook have to gain from this?

        We want people to participate, interact, engage. Telling our readers that if they post they are praying for an abandoned baby we recently wrote about then that post could be used against them would discourage them from interacting. I would think most readers, even those that aren’t tech-savvy, realize that posting data to any site (Facebook included) means that data can be mined. It seems to be understood about GMail, for instance, and people still use it.

        As for media having a hard time with social media — I agree. But around our ever-shrinking industry, you’ll find people in the trenches trying to change things from within. We’re trying. I’m trying, and have been for several years. Implementing Facebook Connect was one of the first social media practices that I was glad to see come to fruition — so, forgive me if I’m having a hard time accepting that it’s a Trojan horse.

        …Although having read (and re-read) this post, I’m now a bit paranoid about reverse publishing reader comments from our Facebook page in the paper.

        • Anonymous

          Great second comment. I’ll need to reconsider this from the media perspective. Thanks for coming by. Again!

          • Jason Spencer

            I have a hard time digesting some of the cutting edge social media thought lines because it’s hard to force myself not to see it from the media perspective — you work all day to learn things that generate content that you want to everyone to know, even though giving it away for free isn’t a good business model. The dual “personal brand” posts you and Olivier did a few months back blew my mind ;)

  • http://www.purplecar.net/ PurpleCar

    For now I’m sticking with Disqus. Content ownership clauses are just plain crazy-talk. But I fear the day when I’ll be forced to find my audience on FB and I’ll have to switch if I want any readers at all. I hope that FB does get some competition soon and does fall out of favor like you said, Geoff. Zuckerberg and Facebook would sell our souls if they could, and in essence, they already do.

    • Anonymous

      I hope Disqus, LiveFyre and Intense Debate continue to offer or incorporate a Facebook share option. It makes me feel better about the whole thing. Thanks for coming by, Christine.

  • http://twitter.com/Chris_Eh_Young Chris Eh Young

    I prefer to maintain ownership of my physical, digital, and intellectual property thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/KevanGC KevanGC

    It’s gay – I just use Twitter a lot. Follow me @KevanGC.

  • Andrea

    I agree with Jason, there are good things about these developments. Yes, you have to watch out for your personal data but don’t you do that anyway when you’re on the web? Do you not check a site’s policy when you give your details? Do you not tell your friends and family to do so? I don’t like it when people blame others instead of acting responsibly. Like those stupid legal cases where people won saying that it didn’t say on their cup that their cof fee is hot. Or not reading the manual about not putting a live animal into the microwave.

    About the likes being a coontent share: it already works and it clearly says it’s a facebook like, so I logically expect it to appear on facebook. In factt, that’s why I click on it. But again, it’s up to the site whether to use it or not and up to the reader whether to click it or not.

    The third, the comment system: we’ll see how it’s going to work. Don’t ditch before you’ve tried it.

    Calling facebook “evil” is quite naïve I think. It’s a business. It’s trying to make money. It wasn’t created for us, so don’t expect it to work for you. Use it responsibly.

    • Anonymous

      Well the Likes went from a single line to a full on share with no warning. It may be something you expect. I expect to see less Likes as a result of that, but to each their own.

      As to the comment system, I’m not trying it. I’ve seen enough from Facebook to know what it is, and I have also seen it on freind’s blogs. It has no place here. It’s a business decision.

      • Andrea

        I didn’t mean try it on your site, as you say it’s the site owner’s decision – you’re not forced to use it.

  • Andrea

    I agree with Jason, there are good things about these developments. Yes, you have to watch out for your personal data but don’t you do that anyway when you’re on the web? Do you not check a site’s policy when you give your details? Do you not tell your friends and family to do so? I don’t like it when people blame others instead of acting responsibly. Like those stupid legal cases where people won saying that it didn’t say on their cup that their cof fee is hot. Or not reading the manual about not putting a live animal into the microwave.

    About the likes being a coontent share: it already works and it clearly says it’s a facebook like, so I logically expect it to appear on facebook. In factt, that’s why I click on it. But again, it’s up to the site whether to use it or not and up to the reader whether to click it or not.

    The third, the comment system: we’ll see how it’s going to work. Don’t ditch before you’ve tried it.

    Calling facebook “evil” is quite naïve I think. It’s a business. It’s trying to make money. It wasn’t created for us, so don’t expect it to work for you. Use it responsibly.

  • http://thepracticalcafe.com TPC Online Marketing

    Geoff, you have echoed my concerns exactly. In fact I made a much shorter comment in a major Facebook hoorah blog just after the news broke. I foresee businesses, particularly small business, losing valuable customer data and their impact becoming significantly weaker as more and more corporations jump on the bandwagon. The idea that businesses would hand client data to Facebook so FB could sell it to competitors to make a buck seems to have missed many of the proponents of these changes. Of course it shouldn’t be missed that most of these proponents are in the business of selling Facebook instead of what is good for their clients in the long term.

  • Joe

    I think you are 100% right. I have been weighing FB’s access to people against their total control of everything and it seems the balance is tipping.

  • http://twitter.com/ColinStorm Colin Storm

    (Disclaimer: I don’t actually know what I am talking about) Interesting how it seems clear Facebook is trying to create a monopoly around content. Yet, they leave the element of choice, as if to someday be able to say we did it to ourselves. We can opt in, and we can opt out. The bet is that if enough people opt in to (or don’t opt out of) features, the fighters will eventually feel like they have to give in.

    I have seen it said that Facebook could easily go the way of MySpace. Not sure if that will happen, but it is this sort of activity that makes me think it’s possible.

    • Anonymous

      If Vegas is taking money, I’m putting my money against Facebook. Just saying. Maybe Goldman Sachs has a counter fund. Thanks for coming by, Colin.

  • http://bonniecranmer.com bgreen

    you are entirely correct on the continually expanding reach of this dark giant, yet how to explain to a business person who wants to be part of the focus and energy on Facebook how to do it in a way that’s beneficial and safe… will continue to watch your posts for best practice advice, Thanks!

  • http://remarkablogger.com Michael Martine

    In ten years Facebook will buy Google and be renamed Skynet.

    • http://twitter.com/stevehaak steve haak

      Or maybe “The Tyrrell Corporation” … I used to think that Bill Gates would be Tyrrell in the future, but now I am thinking that Mark Zuckerberg is much more fitting of this honour.

    • http://ariherzog.com Ari Herzog

      Back to reality, I’d be surprised if Facebook as we know it today looks and acts the same in two years. Maybe there’ll be a new thing.

  • http://twitter.com/lexx2099 Matt Owen

    I definitely don’t see brands replacing sites with Facebook, but given the new functionality we’ll be seeing there in the next few weeks, I definiteely feel that facebook will become a major direct commerce channel over the next few years. The sheer size of the audience there means that businesses simply can’t afford to ignore it in many cases, and once true in-page ordering is implemented (which I imagine will occur as soon as iframes are functional) the value of embedded customers is likely to be huge. It’s al;so quite interesting for smaller brands -a glance at the most popular shops on Facebook reveals a lot of bands with fairly niche audiences, who do extremely well on Facebook (Finnish metal band Children of Bodom anyone..?? 3rd largest band shop on Facebook).
    Ultimately I think although the more net-savvy among s are aware of the dangers of information sharing, the concerns have been over reported in the press, with the avaerage user really not being that bothered about sharing their info or ‘liking’.
    Jake Hird wrote an interesting post about f-commerce recently that’s worth a look if you’re interested: http://ecly.co/gOgTzB

    • Anonymous

      No business should ignore Facebook. Every business should be smart about it and draw very interested traffic back to its site and not give up SEO, its intellectual property, and the ability to control its own user experience. As to privacy and the dangers, I think we see more and more cases of identity fraud every year for a reason… There’s a reason for that!

      • http://paulgailey.com Paul Gailey

        Geoff – by using Disqus your site does not gain direct SEO benefit from the comments here neither, I find that argument somewhat underpowered.You gain the feature benefits of the platform in exchange for choosing it, much like Facebook does. Of course Disqus does not provoke such polemic….Now if Facebook allowed the comment posting options to be displayed to the user’s lists/groups at the point of posting that would be a different story…

      • http://paulgailey.com Paul Gailey

        Geoff – by using Disqus your site does not gain direct SEO benefit from the comments here neither, I find that argument somewhat underpowered.You gain the feature benefits of the platform in exchange for choosing it, much like Facebook does. Of course Disqus does not provoke such polemic….Now if Facebook allowed the comment posting options to be displayed to the user’s lists/groups at the point of posting that would be a different story…

        • Anonymous

          Uh huh. OK, then the point still is why would you ever give Facebook ownership of your comments? I’m sorry, even with that feature addition, I would not move to Facebook. There’s no inherant value to me.

          Disqus, you own the comments, can port them back at any time, and its multiplatform, allowing posts to Twitter and Facebook. Disqus has other issues such as slow load time, but it’s better than the WP native comment capability. I may move to IntenseDebate.

          • http://paulgailey.com Paul Gailey

            @geoffliving yes you can port them back with Disqus, and infact you can do the same via Facebook API with modrate developer skill. The truth is hardly anyone will bother, it’s just a comfort blanket. I do understand your reticence over FB comments, but I don’t discount it for some clients, it really depends on the market. Your commentor profile maybe more likely to have twitter profile or be an internet marketer so FB comments may not be appropriate, but the FB commenting system is not aimed at that, as much as the blogerati will fulminate over monopolistic behaviours. I tend to agree with @ericschwartzman comment earlier. People may modify their bbehvaiour over time on FB but with such a deep allegiance to it, it’s unlikely to wilt any time soon.

  • Facebook

    i have heard facebook already had deals in place to buy twitter and my space…to create Twit on MyFace…

  • Xavi

    When anyone creates an account in facebook accept the policy privacity (that more than 500 millions of users accepted) , where facebook have the rights for all the content posted there, from my point of view is a normal evolution, … because remember… FACEBOOK IS A BUSSINES

    • Skatalanista

      sorry for my english :p

  • 017renegade

    I really like the idea of a single big, maybe monopolistic social network, where all conversations are aggregated and publicly available.
    While we are still far away from this situation, the approaches that Facebook took in the past months are going to bring us quite near to an ideal social experience, where content and conversations are easily linked together and advertisements are oriented on the contents of this network. The amount of spammy ads will massively drop in such a social internet!

  • Flatworldbusiness

    Privacy in the flat and social world….isn’t it just an illusion? We have to rethink privacy when we enter the online world.
    I don’t think we will have much privacy left in the online world, and not only Facebook (they all invade our privacy!), but we should think about a social web, where we own our personal information?

  • AC

    For anyone interested in the origins of terms like public and private, I always recommend the radio series on the McGill University project, The Origins of Modern Publics. A fascinating historical look at the differences between “the public”, “a public” and “privacy”.

    http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/features/2010/04/26/the-origins-of-the-modern-public/

  • http://bit.ly/bceuf ericschwartzman

    I can’t refute your argument, Geoff, but in spite of your logic, I don’t see it impacting The growth of Facebook’s empire anytime soon. They solved a very real problem for individuals and marketers. People get a global party line and marketers get demos. As deceptive as the Like button is, it’ll be years until the world wakes up to how they really work.

    • Anonymous

      A lot of people won’t care, and its the traffic (or perceived traffic) they are after. That’s fine, but one would wish the decision was an educated one. We all make decisions for traffic and monetization that affect the integrity of our content. Thanks for the comment, Eric.

  • http://www.facebook.com/TroyRoaster Troy Roasty

    No kidding……….

  • http://www.facebook.com/TroyRoaster Troy Roasty

    as long as lcroastery.com is around you can still get fresh roasted coffee

  • http://bit.ly/bceuf ericschwartzman

    If the FDA won’t compell Monsanto to label GMOs, the chances regulators will step up to the plate on Like bttons is pretty much hopeless, wouldn’t you say? ;-(

  • Anonymous

    Excellent. Like you, I loathe the new changes and refuse to use the “like” button and am removing from our sites. This just stinks. And you’re right – it’s on us. Let’s man up (and woman up) and just say no. Dammit.

  • Callum

    This is a very interesting conversation, but I don’t understand how the conversation can be had without drawing the parallels to Google?

    The common argument, my own for many years went:
    I don’t like Facebook because I don’t want to share that much personal data with them.
    Yet, I ‘trust’ (am prepared to make the convenience/fear trade off) Google with everything. All my personal emails, my work mails, my calendar (business & personal), all the documents I own, my personal photos, my search history and even my location at any given time through my phone. And probably more I haven’t thought of. So really, why not Facebook?

    Whatever the values/morals of the current owners of both companies (and my perception is only based on PR which as we know is always true), the reality is that both could be bought by new owners with a different game in mind.

    The human species has evolved so successfully because we gave trust to one another in order to be more effective as a whole. We might not like the power the governments, or the media companies or Google or Facebook have, but as long as they continue to help us achieve our goals more effectively we will continue to stack trust on them.

    There are plenty of valid criticisms of Facebook but I just don’t see how the conversation can take place without placing it alongside Google for context.

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Patrolling the Potomac by Geoff Livingston
Haunted Tree by Geoff Livingston
HDR Sunrise on Dyke's Marsh by Geoff Livingston