Friday, June 29, 2012

Facebook Engagement = Logging in to Update My Settings

It strikes me as funny that the biggest driver for my engagement with the Facebook platform has become a semi-annual log-in to update some aspect of my Facebook account settings. This week, it's updating my email because Facebook decided that I would probably prefer a "Facebook email address". In the past it's been to make sure that the data that I thought was private was private -- I know, that's actually more than once.

What always surprises me is the way that Facebook seems to want to ignore this idea of opt-in to change. Instead, it's always we make a change that's good for us, then you can go turn it off if you can find the setting and think you want to undo the change. They might want to blame it on the nature of the cloud or modern software, but I think that the reason that so many people are troubled by the company's behavior when it comes to this issue goes back to the freedom to choose to opt it.

When you download an updated version of software, you choose to opt in. When updates the way that their platform works, most of the time you have the option to enable the feature or not -- particularly when it may affect your data and your relationship with your customers. If there were a software bill of rights, your right to choose whether to opt in would probably rank high in that list.

With Facebook, configuration and privacy settings are kind of like one of those mental dream puzzles in Inception, an ever shifting landscape. Considering that distrust of the Facebook platform is so strong, it leads you think that trust is not an overriding goal in their brand strategy.

Unless, like Inception, there is a bigger, hidden factor behind the ever-shifting landscape of distrust -- yet another engagement algorithm mining your behavior data?

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