Facebook and Privacy

So I’ve got a profile on Facebook. A friend invited me there.  So what is there to say about Facebook that hasn’t been said already?

Well, I’ll start with what people have probably already said. It is very much a ‘platform’ as well as a social network. The social network is just the basis for all those little application that exist there. For those who don’t know – Facebook is filled with applications, most of them useless fun, some of them really interesting. Each application uses the details available in your profile and in your friends profile, and adds some small UI to your profile page. One interesting application graphs the connections between your friends. Another application ‘matches’ your friends according to some heuristic. All harmless fun.

Well, one thing I did notice on Facebook is that almost all users have a real picture of themselves. That’s quite new for me. Granted, the ability to put your profile picture has been available for quite some time now on many networks (including the ICQ\Skype variety) , but I find it interesting that on Facebook most profile pictures are real. This also made me think about how people connect on the internet. Let’s take a second to review the progress shall we?

IRC\Usenet\Email -> ICQ and other IM clients -> other social networks, Facebook, blogs and comments

What is clearly noticeable for me, is that the amount of detail people supply in each medium increased. This is notable in itself. Also note the possibility of ads given a service such as Facebook. Up until now, Google ads could have used your search history, as well as your current search, and your Gmail account to target ads. Now, with the data supplied directly by the users, Facebook based ads have a potential to be much more targeted. The beauty of it all is that no underhanded techniques were used. The information is given away freely. I wonder what the next step will be.

And what about me? well, I didn’t put a real profile picture. As far as I know, today there is only one picture of me that is available via a Google search on my name. I’d like it to stay that way for now.

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