Brace for Impact! Facebook Walled-Garden Is Finally Coming Down!

In: Facebook

25 Jun 2009

Facebook LogoFirst the ‘River of Stream‘, then the Public Username, and NOW … yes … the Public Status Update !  I don’t care what people say, but this Facebook’s Twitter Phobia, as one commenter in this ReadWriteWeb post (where I heard this news) mentioned, has finally reached its ‘climax’.  It’s really interesting to watch the mighty Walled-Garden that was once a sanctuary (or a prison) for many, bits by bits comes crumbling down with every moment passed, as if it were Berlin Wall itself.

The only problem is, who’s got the key to the gate?

What’s the deal?

So what’s the deal this time?  What will change is that, all the status updates, the links, the photos and videos you share will potentially be visible to the people outside Facebook, member or not.  Of course, you will have a choice ‘not to share’ these updates to the world.  Facebook will add a privacy options drop-down menu on the status update box, which will enable you to control who can access this information.

facebook-new-status-update

My question is, what Facebook will put as the default access?  ReadWriteWeb and some of the commenters on the original Facebook post seem to think that the ‘Everyone’ option will be the default option.  If this is true, then I think Facebook is about to commit its biggest Social Media suicide!  Imagine that one day, your status updates, your late-night party photos and your oh-not-so-flattering videos, suddenly get blasted all around the Cyberspace.

Now, I’ve read the announcement post a couple of times, and I couldn’t seem to find any references where it says that Facebook will do such a thing, and I really hope that they won’t repeat Twitter’s mistake.

What would great is if the default option is user-definable, maybe via one of the Privacy Options.  This way users will have a complete control on how they want their updates to be visible by default, and still have the option to choose other options in those odd times.

Another thing that I’ve read there is that Facebook will utilize the concept of followers, which means exactly like you think it is :)  Here is what Facebook said regarding this functionality:

Additionally, when you add a new friend, you’ll begin to start seeing posts they have set to “Everyone” before they have confirmed you as a friend.

Data Miners Heaven

The thing is, these public updates will not appear just like that, somebody/something needs to ‘harvest‘ this data and ‘spit‘ them back to us.  Somebody like, say, Google :)

They key here is, whether Facebook will let anybody do just that, and just like the RWW article says, whether Facebook would provide an API (free or paid) to enable other entities to make use of this data.

I think Facebook should ‘open this last gate’ of its Walled-Garden, because what’s the point of having public updates if nobody can’t ever find it!  Heck, even right now we can’t even find our own updates!

Think about all those wonderful 3rd party apps that came out from Twitter opening up its API.  Of course there will be many mediocre or even crappy ones, but the point is openness fuels creativity and innovation, and we really need a lot of those.

I won’t blame Facebook if they keep the gate closed (or at least selling very expensive key), because this sense of privacy, the feeling of being protected, is one of the major reason why people love Facebook so much.  I was actually a bit surprise when I read the comments on the announcement post that many of them were actually happy with this change, in fact some of them said that it’s about time Facebook does this (huh?).

Nevertheless, let’s hope that Facebook learns some lessons from its peers and do the right thing.

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1 Response to Brace for Impact! Facebook Walled-Garden Is Finally Coming Down!

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Michael

June 26th, 2009 at 22:58

Hey, have you seen this news article?
New details about Michael Jackson’s Death Emerge
I was wondering if you were going to blog about this…

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