Thursday, May 6, 2010

Is Facebook evil?

Posted By on Thu, May 6, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Sometimes I think so. A friend twisted my arm until I joined. Once I did, I was inundated with ridiculous games and moronic requests to accept non-tangible "gifts." Today, I've successfully blocked most of those apps but I still wonder what the hell I'm doing on Facebook.

I have one relative who freaks out if I don't post regularly, but mostly I forget who I'm "friends" with and wonder if any of them could give a crap about the random stuff I post. At least once a week I think about quitting, but posting links to things I've written or events and organizations I support has proven helpful in the past.

So, for Cousin [redacted] and for the love of networking, I guess I'll stay.

Some folks, though, definitely put Facebook in the "evil" category:

Pop quiz! What do you call "the act of creating deliberately confusing jargon and user-interfaces which trick your users into sharing more info about themselves than they really want to?"

Give up? Don’t feel dumb. Even the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a free speech, privacy, innovation and consumer rights advocacy organization, had a tough time wrapping its collective brain around the concept as it built its tutorial to help users through Facebook’s most recent privacy changes. So EFF turned to Facebook and Twitter users for help.

Suggestions for a term to easily describe mishegas such as “Facebook's bizarre new ‘opt-out’ procedures” rolled in. These included "bait-and-click," "bait-and-phish," "dot-confidence games," "confuser-interface-design,” and though EFF didn’t mention the social network specifically, more than a few that made creative use of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s name, such as this one called out on EFF’s site from @heisenthought on Twitter: “How about ‘zuck’? As in: ‘That user-interface totally zuckered me into sharing 50 wedding photos. That kinda zucks’"

Read the rest of this article, by Helen A.S. Popkin, and find out how to protect yourself Facebook here.

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