November 22, 2017

Helping PR pros make smarter decisions

Facebook’s Stupid Adventure

Facebook’s Stupid Adventure

Remember in school when you were chosen for a team and, unless you were doing the choosing you hated it? What would happen if Facebook was doing the choosing?

Imagine that one day you posted something on your Facebook wall that included the words “my stupid boss.” Oopsie. You may now be part of the new Facebook-created group “My Stupid Boss.”  Welcome to Facebook today.

Here are a few posts found on the “My Stupid Boss” group, described on the page as “the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic.” I’m sure that these posted were never EVER meant to go public, but here are a few, including the misspellings:

“So I had a complete emotional breakdown after getting harassed  …  I said stupid things to my boss’s boss. I’m headed the direction of homelesness  again.”

“I hate my boss….threatens my job over stupid shit. Im tired of it! I know jobs are scarce but anyone know anyone hiring?”

“HAHAH my Stupid Boss Doesn’t Realize I’m calling him STUPID on Facebook.”

The last one was an “example” posted by Altimeter Group partner Jeremiah Owyang.  Earlier in the day he posted on Twitter that he was “Still shaking my head at all these people who don’t realize their Facebook Wall is public.”

To answer one person’s question and test posted on their wall, and by default the ‘stupid’ page: “so does that mean if I include the words my stupid boss in a status update that it automatically feeds into this page, even if I haven’t liked the page?”

Yes that is correct.

Robert Scoble, known for his video blog on technology, in an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said “Folks like [technology broadcaster and entrepreneur] Leo Laporte deleted their accounts…  People are posting your supposedly private texts from when you were a teenager (I don’t even know if those are real, but they are getting reported as if they are).” It leads to “The common feeling that we can’t trust Facebook anymore.”

He’s right. A lot of the early adopters I know have limited their Facebook profiles and many are deciding to “slash and burn” their Facebook account. I’ve never seen the defection this bad, but as one of the warned: “Read the TOS [Terms of Service].” They have changed a lot.

Vice President for Public Policy at Facebook, Elliot Schrage, was made available for a rare New York Times interview. In answering reader’s questions Schrage said “Clearly, we need to rethink the tempo of change and how we communicate it.” When asked about sharing user information, he felt this is one of the most common misconceptions about Facebook. “We don’t share your information with advertisers. Our targeting is anonymous. We don’t identify or share names. Period. Think of a magazine selling ads based on the demographics and perceived interests of its readers. We don’t sell the subscriber list. We protect the names.”

And here comes that Trust thing again.

Social media is based on managing trust between people. What happens when you can’t trust the platform?

I went back to the search on my Facebook page and typed lazy. I got some really lazy people and newly formed groups. Scary – they probably don’t know they’re in there.

If you type in a word, some brand names, band names, high school names and song names – seemingly any phrase that repeated in Facebook or Wikipedia, the chances are they created a group for it. No, they didn’t automatically populate the groups with people who identified themselves as a student.

The problem is these pages for non-profits, companies and bands could gain more people than the official Facebook page. The problem comes when the members of the page THINK it’s the official page.

They also created a Terms of Service group. By the way, the Facebook terms of service doesn’t exist on that group page.

This has reached such a fever point that Facebook called an internal privacy meeting. Many in the social media world felt it should have been open.

The demands around are pretty universal: Let us know what is being used, what for, and how can I easily opt out of it. Opt me out by default. Don’t sell my opinions, attitudes and values to everyone or anyone, and don’t give it away.

But that trust thing. Yeah. That’s a hard thing to get over.

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1 Comment

  1. kevin@micalizzi.com'
    Kevin Micalizzi

    Wayne-

    Thanks for sharing this. I've been heads-down on a number of projects and lost track of what the latest "Facebook privacy" concern was — these issues seem to be a recurring theme. Agreed that it all comes down to trust. Facebook hasn't made an effort to build that trust. They may have the momentum right now, but if history shows us anything, loyalty is a difficult thing. The fact that Facebook has helped so many connect also gives those same people a platform for letting everyone know where they're going when a more trustworthy alternative comes along.

    Thanks,
    -k

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