Facebook Doing Its Best to Lose Trust of Its Users
Facebook didn't pick a good day to foist a change on all 901 million of its loyal users without asking.
On an otherwise slow news day yesterday (only Microsoft overpaying for Yammer to compete), the big social media dust-up was how Facebook changed the email address that appears in everyone's Timeline profile to an @Facebook.com email address.
The social media echo chamber was fired up for a few hours, and rightfully so. The background here is that two years ago, Facebook announced its "email killer" by giving everyone a Facebook.com email address that others could use to send messages to their Facebook message inbox from outside Facebook.
No one uses it. If the behavior of my Facebook friends is a representative sample, this is probably because most people use the "post comment" button just like the "reply all" button in email. When they are spending all their time posting and interacting with friends on the news feed, why use Facebook messages?
This is Facebook's lame attempt to force people to do so, but it is completely violating the trust of its users in the process. The right thing to do would be to reverse course based on the backlash that's already taken place.
I doubt they will, though, and fortunately you can change the settings back. But what gives Facebook the right to take up five minutes of my valuable time to have to change something it tried to sneak on me?
I tend to agree with Chris Taylor of Mashable who wrote that Facebook is the Honey Badger of social media. It don't care. It has a history of skirting the boundaries of user privacy, and it has apologized and reversed course a few times. But the pattern continues and changing someone's personal profile without asking is probably the most egregious.
We should count on the pattern continuing, especially now that Facebook is under the scrutiny of Wall Street. And since these kinds of issues could very well affect company pages as well, it's worth conducting a regular audit of your company page settings to be aware of any changes that might be made.
How do you feel about what Facebook did? Do you see it as a violation of trust?