Facebook Messenger "privacy concerns" are due to lack of understanding of technology
August 09, 2014 • 1 Comment
Smartphones for smart people?
These bloggers get caught up in overly explicit legal terms probably meant as a CYA ("Cover Your Ass") by a global corporation like Facebook to avoid getting sued by regulators around the world (a la Microsoft in the 1990s). A conspiracy theory goes viral and next thing you know, there is that paranoid friend who refuses to switch from their archaic Nokia "flip" phone to a "smart"phone. (I guess it makes sense -- one should be at least a little bit smart to use a smartphone!).
While there are many examples of these "concerns", I will pick one that showed up in my Facebook feed twice, along with an admonition by my friend to those who use the app: "Two words. Just don't." That made me smile and I had to write this post.
Show the terms!
The first thing I noticed with this example fearful blog post was that it did not quote the original Facebook terms anywhere. When analyzing legalese, I think it is important to provide the actual terms so readers can draw their conclusions instead of going by one person's half-baked views. My cursory search could not find a blog where the actual terms from Facebook were linked to. I looked at Sam Fiorella's blog (which supposedly started this whole 'controversy') and could not find a link to the actual terms.
Most of these blog posts mention the concerns below about what the Facebook app can do, given the permissions:
I could go through all the concerns but I think people are missing the point, hence I would just stick to stating the point. For those interested, Facebook has explained its mobile app permissions here.
Facebook is primarily a digital marketing engine. Even someone with a basic understanding of its revenue model (which is largely based on ad-sales revenue) would understand that the commercial value of Facebook to advertisers is in its innovative ability to tailor and personalize content and have an intimate and deep understanding of the consumer's habits, patterns, preferences and social connections.
It is no different from what Amazon started 15 years ago by recommending "similar books" to people who were browsing or buying a book. "Other customers who bought this book also bought....". That personalization and analysis will be taken to an extreme by Facebook and other marketing automation apps.
If someone is uncomfortable with it, they don't have to participate in it. Just don't use Facebook! But my guess is a large majority of people will like to keep up with the times.
I don't do Facebook because ... ?(non-registered)
I still don't do social media. I do text occasionally.
It will be nice to hear about your travels.
No comments posted.
As a tech consultant and photographer, asking 'WHY?' and 'WHY NOT?' helps me form a point of view on improving the bigger picture; simple improvements can often resolve bigger symptoms. Hence, the unabashedly opinionated point of view expressed in these musings.
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