Thursday, April 22, 2010

Is Facebook worth it?

Facebook is making some changes. See here:

This isn't new, but the recent news revived my interest in the issue. I'm struggling with the decision over whether to delete my Facebook account. I realize Facebook can only exist if it can turn a profit, and this is the only viable mechanism yet discovered.

If I could avoid the problem by opting out, I'd definitely keep it. But it's truly terrifying that if ANY of my friends have a single app like Farmville or Mafia Wars, all my data is shared anyway. As long as that's the case, my privacy won't improve even if I avoid all apps. It's a perfect example of the prisoner's dilemma.

Although I hate the privacy implications and nefarious way this scheme works, it sadly might actually be worth it to me.

That being said, I'd greatly prefer the option to pay an annual fee to opt-out of all data collection. If your privacy isn't worth $30 per year, that's your decision. But it's very troubling that a high school classmate I havent seen in a decade can essentially trade all my personal information for a new barn in Farmville.

-- Post From My iPhone

1 comment:

Aaron Bushell said...

Brad, your other (and probably wiser) option is not to share anything on Facebook that you wouldn't want broadcast across the internet to begin with. While it is distressing to think someone I am acquaintances with on FB could share my information with Farmville or Mafia Wars or whatever the kids are playing these days, I and content in knowing that any information I choose to share on Facebook is information that I have no problems with sharing. The information I choose to share is relatively benign to begin with (University affiliations, marital status, state of residence) and while I'm sure it would be valuable to advertisers who would like to target their advertising directly to me, it is hardly different than the targeted advertising you get from a Google search or from (eventually) iAds on your iPhone.

I guess what I'm saying is the thing you are worrying about is already here.