Yesterday on Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow posted a link to an article on TechCrunch, breaking down the ways that Facebook's new app interface is more manipulative and dishonest than their previous ones. I haven't actually seen the new interface, because I've logged into Facebook about three times this month, and that was only to check for messages after someone told me they'd sent one. The article, 5 Design Tricks Facebook Uses To Affect Your Privacy Decisions, is an easy read, and has accompanying pictures to illustrate the problems. The writer, Avi Charkham, points out:
Facebook keeps “improving” their design so that more of us will add apps on Facebook without realizing we’re granting those apps (and their creators) access to our personal information. After all, this access to our information and identity is the currency Facebook is trading in and what is driving its stock up or down.
Facebook's stock has not been doing well since the company went public. It seems like the company's approach to solving this problem is going to be to try and extract even more personal information from its users.
For the record, Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter all have a very good track record for not exploiting their users. If you're not ready to quit Facebook, a good first step is picking some of these other sites and getting active on them, as well. Get your friends to do it, too. Diversify your social presence online. That way, no one service can hold hostage relationships that are important to you.