Choose Your (Facebook) Friends Carefully
turbotodd 100000388Y Comments (2) Visits (1846)
Is it just me, or has Facebook jumped the shark, passed the tipping point, gone completely out of viral social networking control?
100,000 new users per day and counting.
Quick, somebody get them a McDonald's "100,000+ Burgers Served" sign and fast! And yes, I would like some ketchup with those fries.
I'll be the first to admit, though I joined the Facebook party a couple of years ago, I mostly stood in the corner and didn't pay much attention to the whole scene.
Not because I wasn't interested, but because there were all kinds of other tools to check out, social networking and otherwise, and LinkedIn seemed good enough for my purposes.
No more. Over the last couple of weeks somebody seems to have put their foot on the Facebook accelerator in a big way.
Even as Web 2.0 hip has IBM has become, Facebook has largely been operating at our margins.
Again, not because we're not interested -- we've just been preoccupied with trying to grow our business and, you know, help our customers.
But recently, Facebook has jumped the shark even around Big Blue in a big way.
I get (or now send) invites for new IBM Facebook friends almost daily, and have seen some really useful groups sprouting up that give me instantaneous access to some really cool and smart constituencies via Facebook groups, inside IBM and out.
Yeah yeah, I know, wake up and smell the coffee.
But like I said, when I first joined the Facebook partay it was kind of like showing up at a lame-o prom with a really bad band and a punch with no kick in it.
I suspect the network effect kicked in, oh, I don't know, about the time they opened up their API and created a platform as opposed to just a social network.
This is all good, and again, better late than never.
However, some recent stories would suggest Facebook users may not be taking their privacy seriously enough.
CNET's Caroline McCarthy reported yesterday that IT security firm Sophos conducted a recent Facebook ID Probe, whereby they tested how much personal information people would reveal to a new made-up Facebook friend named "Freddi Staur."
Not to be confused with the Freddy from "Friday the 13th" series, although, with friends like Freddi, who needs enemies, much less a good attorney who specializes in identity theft.
Uh, just about everyone, it seems.
Out of the 41 percent of those surveyed who accepted Freddi's Facebook friend invite, 72 percent provided at least one email address and 84 percent gave their full date of birth.
To a complete and utter stranger. Tell me, would you walk up to a complete stranger at 57th street and Madison in front of the IBM building in New York City and give them your birthday and phone number?
I didn't think so.
And yet, in the same survey, 23 percent provided a phone number and 26 percent provided an IM screen name.
Hey, why not go ahead and hand over your bank's routing number while you're at it?
I'm all about Facebook jumping the shark and going completely viral, but Facebook users, and Internet denizens en generale need to wake up to the grim realities of how their personal information can be used against them and for ill gotten gains.
Sorry to break the bad news, but you can't be friends with everybody. Nor should you want to.