The Guardian spells out doom. Zuckerberg is King, even if I didn't vote for him. In "Why Facebook's new Open Graph makes us all part of the web underclass" Adrian Short even pulls out the old 'if you're not paying for it, you are the product', a cliché I am also guilty of using when hating on Facebook. He dubs the phenomena of 'if you're not on Facebook you're not on the web' to antisocial networking.
You can turn your back on the social networks that matter in your field and be free and independent running your own site on your own domain. But increasingly that freedom is just the freedom to be ignored, the freedom to starve. We need to use social networks to get heard and this forces us into digital serfdom. We give more power to Big Web companies with every tweet and page we post to their networks while hoping to get a bit of traffic and attention back for ourselves. The open web of free and independent websites has never looked so weak.
Spotify and Facebook made bedfellows this week as well, now you will need a Facebook account to access Spotify! When 188 people asked the question of how to get around this on GetSatisfaction a Spotify employee suggests quietly that you can make a empty/fake facebook account for this purpose only. I guess even they hate the "spotify-ticker" showing every song ever played by anyone, ever. Why would Spotify do this then? Advertising reach, silly.
Adding to current FB-paranoia, Nik Cubrilovic demonstrates that logging out of facebook is not enough, they can still track you all over the web.
With my browser logged out of Facebook, whenever I visit any page with a Facebook like button, or share button, or any other widget, the information, including my account ID, is still being sent to Facebook. The only solution to Facebook not knowing who you are is to delete all Facebook cookies.
Listen. I got some scary news for you folks out there. Most sites don't invalidate cookies. Amazon has been tracking you for years. Any site that has widget buttons on other sites (think facebook, reddit, G+, twitter etc and so on) can do this. This is why Heise created the two-click buttons, so that the scripts load when their readers chose to use them - well, that and the tracking is illegal in Germany. It took me years before I used the FB like button here precisely for this reason. Google was already tracking you anyway (yep, adsense, feedburner and embedded youtube videos no matter how much I try and avoid them). You were all sharing links on facebook anyway, so I give already. Now that Facebook implements yet another re-design everyone spends their facebook time either complaining about or testing out, the privacy issues pops up again.
Look, there's one way of stopping this. Stop using Facebook. Completely. Kill the account and do not go back. Pray you don't click on a youtube link routed via facebook during the next three weeks so that your account may remain dead. We know you won't do this though. Your mom thinks it's email.
Perhaps using adblock filter is more your cup of tea.
What amuses me here is that the web, so clearly an idea about a network of many nodes connected is quickly becoming a network of the major players, Google, Yahoo, Facebook and even old AOL, instead. Everything we put on the web, read on the web, or interact with on the web belongs to them in some way. It makes it a lot easier for advertisers to spy on the punters for sure, but 'man on the street' is still busy directing their ire at advertising people when they really should be giving the evil eye to swelling dot.coms. Bill Hicks would have had a field-day with this.
Update - just ran into this link which is important too: Facebook Defends Getting Data From Logged-Out Users
Facebook acknowledges that it gets that data but says it deletes it right away. The company says the data is sent because of the way the "Like" button system is set up; any cookies that are associated with Facebook.com will automatically get sent when you view a "Like" button.
"The onus is on us is to take all the data and scrub it," said Arturo Bejar, a Facebook director of engineering. "What really matters is what we say as a company and back it up."
In a statement, a Facebook spokesman said "no information we receive when you see a social plugin is used to target ads."
Soooo.. they get the data, and then they delete it right away. So it can't - nay, won't - be used to target ads. Yeah. Sure.