Facebook Hails ‘Like’ Button Success, But Critics Uncomfortable

May 12, 2010

(ChattahBox) – After announcing that they would be putting ‘like’ buttons all over the web in a major collaboration with other websites and companies, Facebook has deemed the project a major success. But critics are becoming increasingly uneasy about the ever expanding reach of social networking.

I already covered my own concerns back in April when this project was first announced. With the increased access through other websites that will connect directly to our profiles, we are sharing our personal information in droves all across the web.

This doesn’t just offer some privacy violation issues – which are disturbing enough. It also has to make one wonder how that information might be used by these websites that are utilizing them.

Here is an example for you:

Facebook used IMDB (the Internet Movie Database) as an example of how this is working well for all involved, saying that double the traffic from Google as people rush to show people their favorite movies on their profile using the individual ‘like’ buttons now placed on film and TV pages.

But what information does that give IMDB, and the wider film industry? Who can find the statistics and individual details on it? Could it possibly be used for marketing research to see what certain age groups, genders, ethnicity types and income status levels have on film certain entertainment genres? Are we giving ourselves over to a market that will be ethically dubious for profit too easily?

Maybe I seem paranoid, but I don’t think it is unwarranted. After all, how often do companies who questionable tactics for marketing research? A lot, and the buying and selling of information is a common practice. But why should they go to the trouble when we give our personal details over for free?

The truth is, whether this is the case or not, we are still sharing too much. The backlash against Facebook for these changes only seems to prove that I am not the only person who feels this way.

In any case, be cautious of the ‘like’ button that now seems to factor on every major site to ever exist. Be mindful of what you are sharing, and to who. Sites like Failbook and Lamebook didn’t come out of nowhere, you know.


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