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Important Facebook Changes And Why You Should Care

In an effort to become the center of the social hub and violate your privacy (which, incidentally, Facebook doesn’t believe in anyway), Facebook made some interesting changes recently to…well, nearly everything. As a marketer and, more importantly, your friend, I just want to point a few things out that may be of interest to you.

Privacy
Facebook changed its privacy policy AGAIN. You may want to check to see how much of your information is shared on Facebook to people who aren’t your friends. And I mean friends in the Facebookian sense, not, you know, real friends. Visit your profile while you are NOT logged in and see how much of your information you can see. My guess is, you’ll see a whole lot more than you thought. You can change this in the privacy settings. You should all do this. Facebook makes it a point not to widely announce these changes to the average user, so people who want to protect their info should regularly check to see what the privacy settings are. When the Internet nerd herd raises alarm bells about this, I’ll try to keep you in the loop.

Like
Facebook recently ditched the “Fan” in Fan Pages. You no longer become a Fan of something, you “Like” it. Do you have a “Fan us on Facebook” button that you’ve placed on your site? It’s obsolete already. Sorry. Facebook is aiming to add this “like” button across the web so you can become a fan…I mean “like” a brand or page from that brand’s own website. 

It’s an interesting move that continues to place Facebook at the center of social web.

Confusingly, this is different than the little “like” option that exists in your mini-feed that indicates you appreciated someone’s news item or post. The formal “Like” is the same as the old “Fan,” which adds you to the page as a Fan, er, Liker?, and gives the page admins your demographic (supposedly anonymous) data and makes it possible for the page admins to contact you with updates or have their news show up in your mini-feed. 

On top of all of this, Facebook is now sharing data with applications in a new way. I don’t have all the data yet, but I can tell you that when I go to Pandora now,  it shows me which of my Facebook friends has bookmarked this artist or song and other information. It would be interesting if it didn’t make me so nervous.

Community Pages
Facebook has added what are now called “community pages.” So instead of being a “Fan of Sleeping” or “Fan of cooking” you now “Like cooking” and it takes you to a community page. These community pages are often pulled right from Wikipedia or other sites. There is a place where people who “like” the activity (again, Likers?) can share their thoughts. The word is that Facebook will eventually ask its members to contribute to the project. For example: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cooking/113970468613229

The reason this is important is that Facebook is now rolling out “Community Pages” for brands who already don’t have a presence on Facebook, essentially forcing brands to play in the sandbox. If suddenly your brand has a Facebook page, this is why. Some examples are:

Likes and Interests
This change will more likely affect everyday users. Moving forward, Facebook is going to link the data you provided in your profile – such as hometown, schools, interests, movies, books and other interests – to Facebook Pages.

 A pop up will appear (if it hasn’t already) asking you which keywords in your profile you want linked to their corresponding Pages. The first time this happens you get an “ask me later” option. The second time it happens you don’t have that option. There is never a “Don’t link anything” option.

Once you accept the links, those keywords in your profile are now linked to those Facebook Pages and you are added to the list of Likers (that’s dumb) for that page. Again, now you will show up on those pages and the admins of those pages can contact you via Updates and that news will show up in your mini-feed. There is an option in privacy settings called “Friends, Tags, and Connections” that will let you specify who can see what connections. There is now also the option to hide your friends’ list on your profile.

So there you have it. Remember, check your privacy settings and, if you have non-techy friends or relatives, please educate them as well. A parting thought, the Terms of Service of Facebook basically say they can do anything they want with anything you post to Facebook, photos, video, etc. There’s not much we can do about that, but we can control who is seeing our info.

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4 Responses

  1. [...] then Facebook has repeatedly shifted the goalposts on privacy settings – even if you locked your profile down six months ago the chances are today [...]

  2. [...] then Facebook has repeatedly shifted the goalposts on privacy settings – even if you locked your profile down six months ago the chances are today [...]

  3. Interesting info…and interesting changes. Keep up the great work…
    Here I have very interesting portal Technfuture about technology world and its future go through this I hope you will like it….

  4. It is amazing that in the past five years business has changed so much. Social media used to be something that we would use to interact with our friends and have fun, now it is something that we use to do business. I am looking forward to the changes that will come in the future years as well.

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