Why the Facebook Personal News Feeds won’t Work

It’s the INUNDATION factor.

Since I do not intimately know most of my Facebook friends, I do not want to be inundated by:

1) Where they have checked in

2) What music they listen to

3) What they “like” on Facebook

Facebook’s new platform changes confirms their mission to broadcast (or a more kind term, to “share”) everything people do on social applications associated with Facebook by default. The new protocol is called “frictionless sharing” . This comment from Hacker News “Facebook is Scaring Me” explains the problem:

The reason why this bothers me is that there is no longer any EXPLICIT confirmation that I want to post something. Not sure who said it but I read it in a TechCrunch article, “Just hit play in Spotify and it will share with your friends”.

No, any sharing I do HAS to REQUIRE an EXPLICIT action on my part. I have to be in full control. Visiting a web site does not mean that I believe it will be interesting to my friends NOR do I want that information shared with people on Facebook.

A like button that shares, much like the Google+ 1+ button is perfectly fine, I have to hover over it, and choose my circles to share with, and then share. It is not automatic once I visit the site.

I don’t want articles automatically being linked just because I visited a page, or clicked play in Spotify, or put the toilet seat up.

It is not just privacy concerns, it is the image I try to convey while using social media sites where it is common place to be friends with your boss and or co-workers. I don’t need them knowing I like the Bloodhound Gang or that I read articles about atheism in the NYT but have never read a single article about religion.

Eventually all this collected data will be used against me. What if I do a simple Google search for cancer and I end up reading an article about it, that is now shared publicly, my insurance company a few years later gets a claim for cancer they claim it was a pre-existing condition and deny me coverage.

These are all scenarios going through my head. I am all for the interconnected web, and making it easier for me to introduce my friends to new content across it, however it has to be done on my terms, it has to require explicit authorization and must never do something automatically without my consent.

The reason we’re all seeing second-by-second updates on everything being listened on Spotify is likely due to the default checkmark that enables Facebook sharing (at the bottom of the screenshot). Spotify in fact now requires new users to be on Facebook so it’s automatic. Nobody gives it a second thought to uncheck it because it seems like a good thing.

"Get personal recommendations by sending music you play to Facebook's Open Graph"

When every social app defaults to frictionless sharing (and they all will because it is potent viral publicity), Facebook will become unusable.

It’s always been my philosophy on social media to contribute critical and interesting information related to my business, causes and hobbies, but not the daily personal life stuff that really doesn’t matter to the world.

Advice: turn off Spotify and other notification settings on Facebook app settings (Account Settings / Applications); you’ll likely need to go directly to the apps preferences page to turn them off manually. It’s a bother to do, and that’s why you’ll eventually be inundated with notifications from thousands of apps by millions of people who aren’t turning each one off individually.

I don’t think I’m alone here in hating this.


About Pat Kitano

Patrick Kitano works with brands in developing hyperlocal engagement solutions and is administrator of the Breaking News Network, a national hyperlocal network devoted to community service. He is the author of The Local Network on Street Fight, and is reachable via Twitter @pkitano and email pkitano@gmail.com.

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