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March 3, 2011 / assembled

Facebook is taking over the Internet

Facebook would like to become synonymous with the internet- we just have to accept this. With 500 Million + users and blow-your-mind statistics about user generated content and time spent per day on the site, these aspirations aren’t so far-fetched. Though the hype sparked by The Social Network Oscar and Golden globe wins, and visions of Mark Zuckerberg on the cover of TIME Magazine have started to slowly fade from memory, Facebook’s recent 50 Billion dollar valuation won’t be so easily forgotten.  We don’t know what the future looks like for Facebook, but a lot of people are betting a lot of money that it will be very bright. 

On March 1st, 2011 Facebook unveiled a very sophisticated comment system that will revolutionize the way we interact with content online. When commenting on an article on a news site, you will have the option of “posting to Facebook” which will allow the article and the comment to appear on your Facebook wall. Subsequently, any comments left by your Facebook friends will then appear both on Facebook and on the original outlet’s site.

In addition to this new comment system, Facebook also recently tweaked the functionality of company/brand pages by allowing a branded page to comment on Facebook stories as the actual company or brand. This, combined with the new comment system, gives a company/brand the option to comment officially on a news story; having their comment appear both on Facebook and on the news outlets site (otherwise known as killing two birds with one stone.) Though TechCrunch is the only news site testing this feature, it will be interesting to follow the traction of this service as other news outlets identify what appears to be profound opportunities and benefits.

Based on some of the comments left on the TechCrunch article (Facebook Rolls Out Overhauled Comments System (Try Them Now On TechCrunch), it looks as though there are mixed opinions; some users are against this new comment system, citing it as “creepy” and an “invasion of privacy,” however several comments spoke to the real benefits this services will provide: 

1. News content and user generated content (comments) will be integrated and appear in a single space.

2. The accountability and responsibility that comes along with having to use your real name (your Facebook name) may result in comments of a higher quality (no spam, no trolls, etc.)

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook has boasted in the past about taking Facebook to the next level with “personalized” capabilities and services. We all know that with greater personalization comes increased privacy concerns. For a company that has been somewhat controversial in their privacy settings, users must be wary of how their privacy will be impacted by this new comment system.

What are some of the benefits and risks of this new comment system?

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3 Comments

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  1. lizlevine / Mar 9 2011 8:44 pm

    This scares me a little. Our privacy is jeopardized enough already by social media, in my opinion. By posting an article to Facebook and having the comment appear on both Facebook and the Web site, I wonder what information about a person or even a person’s Internet browser history a hacker could gather through the comment alone. Social media has tremendous benefits, but as we’ve discussed in class, it also has risks for personal safety – both online safety and physical safety. I certainly understand the comments people are leaving saying the new technology is “creepy” or an “invasion of privacy,” but then again, I think these people will get used to the change over time and will not find the feature bothersome. I remember the uproar that came about when Facebook introduced the “News Feed” feature. Honestly, it didn’t provide anyone with any information people could not already gather – it simply made the information readily available and grouped it in a cohesive way. Over time, users grew accustomed to it. I can hardly remember what Facebook looked like before! When used responsibly, these functions and tools can yield great results. But how can we truly prevent information from getting into the wrong hands? The only answer I can think of is to avoid social media altogether and fall out of touch with the modern world.

  2. Cecile / Mar 10 2011 3:24 am

    We talked about this in class — not everyone wants to integrate their various online personas. While there are people who are comfortable posting comments in various websites with their real names, I don’t think everyone wants their online presence searchable and trackable. I am sure the people in Facebook are constantly looking over their shoulder and trying to avoid falling into the fate of MySpace and Friendster. It looks like they are trying to expand their reach in a way that makes them irreplaceable. I wouldn’t use this new comments system. I too wonder how it will fare in the long run, and which websites it would work best for.

  3. leamaya / Mar 10 2011 4:26 am

    This seems to be a positive advancement for companies, but I definitely think it brings up the topic of privacy. I did a paper on Facebook in one of my undergraduate classed and I remember the one thing that everyone wanted to know was if there was a way to see who was looking at your profile. I searched and found no evidence. I finally got to an article that explained that Facebook is centered around the privacy aspect of the unknown. Its brilliance is centered around its ambiguity. The more they push the privacy boundaries the less appealing the network will be.

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