Facebook Killing 'Become A Fan,' Embracing 'Like' (via ClickZ)

why does this matter? It marks another step in facebook's transformation from a purely social entity to one with more commercial appeal.
ClickZ News

Facebook Killing 'Become A Fan,' Embracing 'Like'

By Christopher Heine, ClickZ, Mar 29, 2010

Facebook is scaling back on the word "Fan" and ramping up usage of "Like" on brand pages. According to a confidential e-mail sent to ad agencies today, the social media site will change the "Become A Fan" button to read "Like" within the next few weeks.

When asked about the change, Annie Ta, spokesperson for the Palo Alto, CA-based company, confirmed via e-mail that the words on the button would be changed. But she wasn't able to offer other specifics about whether "Like" would replace "Fan" in other places on Facebook. "We're still working on some of the details, but brand Pages can still be referred to as 'Fan' Pages after the change," Ta replied.

Facebook, in the note to ad agencies, said it wanted to give the agencies advance notice about the change that could affect upcoming advertising campaigns or Facebook strategy.

Part of the confidential e-mail read: "Over time, as users adapt to the language change, we recommend that you invite people to connect to your Page by saying 'Find us on Facebook' or 'Like us on Facebook'. You may also choose to put more emphasis on your custom URL than you used to."

The e-mail also explained how the new "Like" button will be differentiated from the "Like" feature already seen in user updates.

How it may affect ads was also addressed in the e-mail to ad agencies. "Users will understand the distinction through explicit social context, messaging and aesthetic differences. An Engagement ad unit, capable of making connections, will feature the 'Like' button and show social context above it such as, 'John Doe and 3 of your friends like [Page Name].' Standard ad units, not capable of making connections, will simply feature the word 'Like' by itself, and may show social context above it that says 'John Doe and 3 of your friends like this ad.'"


Facebook users have been clicking the current "Like" feature nearly twice as often as the "Become A Fan" button, according to the memo. And the social site appears convinced using "Like" more often will increase engagement between consumers and brands.

The e-mail read: "'Like' offers a simple, consistent way for people to connect with the things they are interested in. These lighter-weight actions mean people will make more connections across the site, including with your branded Facebook Pages. We believe this will result in brands gaining more connections to pages since our research has shown that some users would be more comfortable with the term 'Like'. The goal is to get the most user connections so that you can have ongoing conversations in the news feeds of as many users as possible."

Scott Kleper, CTO for the San Francisco-based social marketing firm Context Optional, suggested that the change could indeed create greater engagement as Facebook intends. "Becoming a fan of a brand is perceived as a large commitment and is an important measurement metric... 'Liking' can be another great driver of awareness and an opportunity for users to show an additional form of affinity," he said.

Scores of brands, such as Coca-Cola, Starbucks, and Skittles, have cultivated online communities on Facebook.

You can follow Christopher Heine on Twitter at @ChrisClickZ.


Facebook To Release A “Like” Button For the Whole Darn Internet (via techcrunch)

One of the new features we’ve been hearing about is the extension of Facebook Connect and the Facebook API to allow publishers to add a “Like” button to any piece of content on their site.

Sound trivial? It isn’t. This is likely part of Facebook’s Open Graph API project that will incentivize third party sites to interact deeply with Facebook by sharing content and associated metadata.

Today you can “share” content with Facebook via a simple button (you can see our implementation at the top of this post). The new Like feature goes way beyond the Share button, we’ve heard.

Good for publishers? Yes. But it’s also very, very good for Facebook as hundreds of thousands of websites will rush to format their content to exactly Facebook’s preference and send over all their data without a second thought.

One way to think of this, says a source with knowledge of the product, is this. Google spends billions of dollars indexing the web for their search engine. Facebook will get the web to index itself, exclusively for Facebook.

Yes, it’s a big idea. Or, as MG put it, the entire Internet will be turned into a tributary system for Facebook. And it all flows from a simple Like gesture, and a few other features we’ll be writing about shortly.

Google Displaying Facebook Friends and LinkedIn Profile Details In Search Results (via techie-buzz.com)

even more reason to check those facebook privacy settings...read my post http://btrandolph.com/2009/12/guilt-by-association-keeping-your-facebook-frie... to check yours!



While routinely searching for a person on Google, I came across a new feature in Google Search where Google is displaying friends for a particular user in the search results.

Google Facebook Friends in Results

As you can see from the screenshot above, searching for my own name resulted in the following search results, the more interesting thing though is that Google is also displaying names of friends from Facebook (the above account is not mine though and belongs to another Keith D%u2019souza).

The friend list snippet is displayed for public Facebook profiles of users, it is not available for Facebook users who have disabled third party sites from accessing their information. Here is another example for a search I did for Robert Scoble.

Robert Scoble Facebook Friends Google Search

Google did not display the Facebook Friends for Amit Agarwal, which might suggest that there are privacy settings restricting it. However, it did display the LinkedIn Profile information for the same search.

Amit Agarwal LinkedIn Profile Details in Google Search

Why would Google want to display Facebook Friends in search results? The only reason I can think of right now is to allow users to see find people based on common friends. This could also mean that Google is trying to make it easier for people to find and connect with others through search results.

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to remove this information from the search results at Google. You will have to explicitly change the settings in Facebook and LinkedIn to make the information more private.

What do you think about the new additions to the search results? Do you think it would be helpful in finding the correct person? Or do you think that it is an invasion of your privacy?




Ok You Luddites, Time To Chill Out On Facebook Over Privacy (via techcrunch)

my favorite quote from this techcrunch rant yesterday: "Honestly, a picture of you taking a bong hit in college is mice nuts compared to the mountain of data that is gathered and exploited about every single one of us every single day. You just don’t really see that other stuff because those companies don’t like to talk about the data their gathering. I don’t see an Equifax blog post outlining exactly how they are gathering and selling your information, for example."


In 2004 everyone freaked out when Gmail launched because Google would be reading your emails to figure out what ads to serve you. “Privacy advocates objected to the advertising model, which involves Google’s robot eyes scanning every e-mail for keywords and displaying contextual advertisements alongside a user’s inbox,” noted Wired.

That might sound familiar to your great-great-great grandparents. Supposedly many people were apprehensive about using telephones in the early 1900s because they knew the phone companies could listen in on their phone calls. There are people who won’t use phones today because of the ease in which calls can be tapped.

But the rest of us seem to be ok with Gmail. And our phone. That’s because the benefits of those products far outweigh the privacy costs. And people are going to be just fine with Facebook, too. Even if they did do a switcharoo on privacy settings a month ago that is still reverberating through the tech press.

Contrary to published reports, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg did not say “the age of privacy is over” in my interview with him last Friday evening at the Crunchies. You can watch the video here for yourself. What he said is that he wants Facebook to change with its users, and keep its product fresh. Which is exactly what they are doing.

The fact is that privacy is already really, really dead. Howard Lindzon nailed it the other day when he said “Equifax, Transunion, Capital One, American Express and their cousins raped our privacy,” Everything we do, everything we buy, everywhere we go is tracked and sitting in a database somewhere. Our location via our phone, or our car GPS. Our credit card transactions. Everything. Honestly, a picture of you taking a bong hit in college is mice nuts compared to the mountain of data that is gathered and exploited about every single one of us every single day. You just don’t really see that other stuff because those companies don’t like to talk about the data their gathering. I don’t see an Equifax blog post outlining exactly how they are gathering and selling your information, for example.

The point is that we like Facebook. Very, very few of us are going to stop using it. It was inevitable that they’d rip the bandaid off and try to get their users to make data public. It’s what’s best for Facebook. And if users hate it enough, someone else will launch a competing service that has different policies and thrive. You can guess what the odds of that happening are.

I spoke to Blippy CEO Philip Kaplan earlier tonight. Blippy is a service that lets users publish everything they buy with their credit cards.

Crazy right? Who’d want to do that? Well, apparently a lot do. The company has let in 2,500 people so far. Those 2,500 people are publishing $200,000 worth of purchases a day to their friends. It’s less than a month old and they’ve tracked $3.8 million in transactions already, with an average transaction size of $46.

And more than 10,000 people are on the waiting list to get an account and gladly share their consumption behavior with the world.

Why are they doing it? To share what they’re buying, and talk about it. Or to let advertisers see what they like and tailor offers to them. Or something. The point is, we don’t really care about privacy anymore. And Facebook is just giving us exactly what we want.

via techcrunch.com

Facebook Testing Reply by E-mail Feature (via mashable)

this will be helpful for people like me who might hop on facebook "just for a sec..." hours later, coming up for air!

Finally, all of those e-mail notifications you get from Facebook might become useful, as it appears that the social network is testing functionality that lets you reply to status updates (and conversations you’re involved with via others’ updates) via e-mail.

The feature’s not enabled for everyone yet, but DownloadSquad has seen it and says “it works seamlessly and it’s fast.” We’ve contacted Facebook to try and get some more details on when it’s being rolled out to more users, and also if it might apply to Facebook messages (we can dream, right?).

In addition to being a useful functionality, this is actually a fairly significant strategic move by Facebook, as essentially they’ve decided to sacrifice pageviews (by not forcing you to log in to comment) for conversation. In the long-term, that’s probably a smart decision, as it makes the Facebook social graph even stickier and alternatives (like Twitter) less necessary.

Update: A Facebook spokesperson tells us: “We are testing this feature and hope to roll it out to all users soon.”


Anniversaries Are the New Birthdays on Facebook (via mashable)

which one is the netbook anniversary?

Since the beginning, Facebook has incorporated birthdays into its social DNA. Part of the fun and utility of Facebook is wishing each of your friends a Happy Birthday note on their walls while rushing to the store to buy gifts for them at the last minute.

Now Facebook is (finally) including another important annual celebration into the social network’s mix: the anniversary. Facebookers that are happily (or unhappily) in a relationship or joined in holy matrimony can now go to their relationship status and add the specific day, month, and year in which they became a couple.

Facebook was originally a website for college students, so it makes sense that the company didn’t have this feature back then. Since then though, millions of married and/or committed couples have joined the service, so this is simply a natural extension of the social graph. Congratulating happy couples on their five year anniversary is just another way for Facebook to consume even more of our Internet time.




Facebook's New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly | Electronic Frontier Foundation

the dark side of facebook's drive to improve privacy settings for users

Facebook's New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Commentary by Kevin Bankston


Five months after it first announced coming privacy changes this past summer, Facebook is finally rolling out a new set of revamped privacy settings for its 350 million users. The social networking site has rightly been criticized for its confusing privacy settings, most notably in a must-read report by the Canadian Privacy Commissioner issued in July and most recently by a Norwegian consumer protection agency. We're glad to see Facebook is attempting to respond to those privacy criticisms with these changes, which are going live this evening. Unfortunately, several of the claimed privacy "improvements" have created new and serious privacy problems for users of the popular social network service.

The new changes are intended to simplify Facebook's notoriously complex privacy settings and, in the words of today's privacy announcement to all Facebook users, "give you more control of your information." But do all of the changes really give Facebook users more control over their information? EFF took a close look at the changes to figure out which ones are for the better — and which ones are for the worse.

Our conclusion? These new "privacy" changes are clearly intended to push Facebook users to publicly share even more information than before. Even worse, the changes will actually reduce the amount of control that users have over some of their personal data.

Not to say that many of the changes aren't good for privacy. But other changes are bad, while a few are just plain ugly.

The Good: Simpler Privacy Settings and Per-Post Privacy Options

The new changes have definitely simplified Facebook's privacy settings, reducing the overall number of settings while making them clearer and easier for users to find and understand. The simplification of Facebook's privacy settings includes the elimination of regional networks, which sometimes would lead people to unwittingly share their Facebook profile with an entire city, or, as Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg explained in a recent open letter, an entire country.

Perhaps most importantly, Facebook has added a feature that we and many others have long advocated for: the ability to define the privacy of your Facebook content on a per-post basis. So, for example, if you only want your close friends to see a particular photo, or only your business colleagues to see a particular status update, you can do that — using a simple drop-down menu that lets you define who will see that piece of content.

Most important, however, is the simple fact that as part of this transition, Facebook is forcing all of its users to actually pay attention to the specifics of their privacy settings. Considering that many if not most users have previously simply adopted the defaults offered by Facebook rather than customizing their privacy settings, this is an especially good thing.

No question, these are positive developments that hopefully will lead more people to carefully review and customize their level of privacy on Facebook. Unfortunately, the new flexibility offered by per-post privacy settings, a definite "good," is being used to justify the "bad"...

The Bad: EFF Doesn't Recommend Facebook's "Recommended" Privacy Settings

Although sold as a "privacy" revamp, Facebook's new changes are obviously intended to get people to open up even more of their Facebook data to the public. The privacy "transition tool" that guides users through the configuration will "recommend" — preselect by default — the setting to share the content they post to Facebook, such as status messages and wall posts, with everyone on the Internet, even though the default privacy level that those users had accepted previously was limited to "Your Networks and Friends" on Facebook (for more details, we highly recommend the Facebook privacy resource page and blog post from our friends at the ACLU, carefully comparing the old settings to the new settings). As the folks at TechCrunch explained last week before the changes debuted:

The way Facebook makes its recommendations will have a huge impact on the site's future. Right now, most people don't share their content using the 'everyone' option that Facebook introduced last summer. If Facebook pushes users to start using that, it could have a better stream of content to go against Twitter in the real-time search race. But Facebook has something to lose by promoting ‘everyone' updates: given the long-standing private nature of Facebook, they could lead to a massive privacy fiasco as users inadvertently share more than they mean to.

At this point there's no "if" about it: the Facebook privacy transition tool is clearly designed to push users to share much more of their Facebook info with everyone, a worrisome development that will likely cause a major shift in privacy level for most of Facebook's users, whether intentionally or inadvertently. As Valleywag rightly warns in its story "Facebook's New ‘Privacy' Scheme Smells Like an Anti-Privacy Plot":

[S]miley-face posturing aside, users should never forget that Facebook remains, at heart, not a community but a Silicon Valley startup, always hungry for exponential growth and new revenue streams. So be sure to review those new privacy "options," and take Facebook's recommendations with a huge grain of salt.

Being a free speech organization, EFF is supportive of internet users who consciously choose to share more on Facebook after weighing the privacy risks; more online speech is a good thing. But to ensure that users don't accidentally share more than they intend to, we do not recommend Facebook's "recommended" settings. Facebook will justify the new push for more sharing with everyone by pointing to the new per-post privacy options — if you don't want to share a particular piece of content with everyone, Facebook will argue, then just set the privacy level for that piece of content to something else. But we think the much safer option is to do the reverse: set your general privacy default to a more restrictive level, like "Only Friends," and then set the per-post privacy to "Everyone" for those particular things that you're sure you want to share with the world.

The Ugly: Information That You Used to Control Is Now Treated as "Publicly Available," and You Can't Opt Out of The "Sharing" of Your Information with Facebook Apps

Looking even closer at the new Facebook privacy changes, things get downright ugly when it comes to controlling who gets to see personal information such as your list of friends. Under the new regime, Facebook treats that information — along with your name, profile picture, current city, gender, networks, and the pages that you are a "fan" of — as "publicly available information" or "PAI." Before, users were allowed to restrict access to much of that information. Now, however, those privacy options have been eliminated. For example, although you used to have the ability to prevent everyone but your friends from seeing your friends list, that old privacy setting — shown below — has now been removed completely from the privacy settings page.

Facebook counters that some of this "publicly available information" was previously available to the public to some degree (while admitting that some of it definitely was not, such as your gender and your current city, which you used to be able to hide). For example, Facebook points to the fact that although you could restrict who could see what pages you are a fan of when they look at your profile, your fan status was still reflected on the page that you were a fan of. But that's no justification for eliminating your control over what people see on your profile. For example, you might want to join the fan page of a controversial issue (like a page that supports or condemns the legalization of gay marriage), and let all your personal friends see this on your profile, but hide it from your officemates, relatives or the public at large. While it's true that someone could potentially look through all the thousands upon thousands of possible fan pages to find out which ones you've joined, few people would actually do this.

Facebook also counters that users can still control whether non-friends can see your Friends List by going into the hard-to-find profile editing settings on your profile page and changing the number of friends displayed on the public version of your profile to "0" unchecking the new check-box in your Friends setting that says "show my friends on my profile". However, if the goal with these changes was to clarify the privacy settings and make them easier to find and use, then Facebook has completely failed when it comes to controlling who sees who you are friends with. And even if you do have some control over whether non-friends can see your friends list — if you hunt around and can find the right setting, which is no longer under "Privacy Settings" — Facebook has made the privacy situation even worse when it comes to information sharing with the developers of Facebook apps.

The issue of privacy when it comes to Facebook apps such as those innocent-seeming quizzes has been well-publicized by our friends at the ACLU and was a major concern for the Canadian Privacy Commissioner, which concluded that app developers had far too much freedom to suck up users' personal data, including the data of Facebook users who don't use apps at all. Facebook previously offered a solution to users who didn't want their info being shared with app developers over the Facebook Platform every time a one of their friends added an app: users could select a privacy option telling Facebook to "not share any information about me through the Facebook API."

That option has disappeared, and now apps can get all of your "publicly available information" whenever a friend of yours adds an app.

Facebook defends this change by arguing that very few users actually ever selected that option — in the same breath that they talk about how complicated and hard to find the previous privacy settings were. Rather than eliminating the option, Facebook should have made it more prominent and done a better job of publicizing it. Instead, the company has sent a clear message: if you don't want to share your personal data with hundreds or even thousands of nameless, faceless Facebook app developers — some of whom are obviously far from honest — then you shouldn't use Facebook.

These changes are especially worrisome because even something as seemingly innocuous as your list of friends can reveal a great deal about you. In September, for example, an MIT study nicknamed "Gaydar" demonstrated that researchers could accurately predict a Facebook user's sexual orientation simply by examining the user's friends-list. This kind of data mining of social networks is a science still in its infancy; the amount of data that can be extrapolated from "publicly available information" will only increase with time. In addition to potentially revealing intimate facts about your sexuality — or your politics, or your religion — this change also greatly reduces Facebook's utility as a tool for political dissent. In the Iranian protests earlier this year, Facebook played a critical role in allowing dissidents to communicate and organize with relative privacy in the face of a severe government crackdown. Much of that utility and privacy has now been lost.

The creation of this new category of "publicly available information" is made all the more ugly by Facebook's failure to properly disclose it until today — the very day it is forcing the new change on users — when it added a new bullet point at the top of its privacy policy specifying this new category of public information that will not have any privacy settings. The previous versions of the policy, however, either didn't disclose this fact at all, or buried it deep in the text surrounded by broad assurances of privacy.

For example, in its previous privacy policy before it was revised in November, Facebook didn't specify any of your data as "publicly available information," and instead offered broad privacy assurances like this one:

We understand you may not want everyone in the world to have the information you share on Facebook; that is why we give you control of your information. ... You choose what information you put in your profile, including contact and personal information, pictures, interests and groups you join. And you control the users with whom you share that information through the privacy settings on the Privacy page.

Meanwhile, the privacy policy as updated in November did specifically call out certain information as "publicly available" and without privacy settings nearly half-way down the page, surrounded by privacy promises such as these:

  • "You decide how much information you feel comfortable sharing on Facebook and you control how it is distributed through your privacy settings."
  • "Facebook is about sharing information with others — friends and people in your networks — while providing you with privacy settings that you can use to restrict other users from accessing your information."
  • "you can control who has access to [certain information you have posted to your profile], as well as who can find you in searches, through your privacy settings."
  • "You can use your privacy settings to limit which of your information is available to 'everyone.'"

These statements are at best confusing and at worst simply untrue, and didn't give sufficient notice to users of the changes that were announced today.

In conclusion, we at EFF are worried that today's changes will lead to Facebook users publishing to the world much more information about themselves than they ever intended. Back in 2008, Facebook told Canada's Privacy Commissioner that "users are given extensive and precise controls that allow them to choose who sees what among their networks and friends, as well as tools that give them the choice to make a limited set of information available to search engines and other outside entities." In its report from July, The Privacy Commissioner relied on such statements to conclude that Facebook's default settings fell within "reasonable expectations," specifically noting that the "privacy settings — and notably all those relating to profile fields — indicate information sharing with 'My Networks and Friends.'"

No longer. Major privacy settings are now set to share with everyone by default, in some cases without any user choice, and we at EFF do not think that those new defaults fall within the average Facebook user's "reasonable expectations". If you're a Facebook user and you agree, we urge you to visit the Facebook Site Governance page and leave a comment telling Facebook that you want real control over all of your data. In the meantime, those users who care about control over their privacy will have to decide for themselves whether participation in the new Facebook is worth such an extreme privacy trade-off.

Related Issues: Privacy


via eff.org


it’s privacy day at facebook (via mashable)

I I posted the message from facebook ceo zuckerberg last week, and today mashable reports that the promised "pushed" privacy efforts are underway. that is to say, rather than waiting for users to go set their own privacy levels, the site is basically putting the options in front of users, offering recommendations, etc. Please talk about your experience in the comments!


We’ve known that a major privacy overhaul has been in the works for some time at Facebook, and last week a letter from founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg let everyone know that changes were imminent.

Today, the company plans to start asking all 350 million of its users to review and update their settings as they roll out the new simplified privacy interface.

While Facebook’s spinning the changes largely as being about making things easier for users (which is true; the current privacy settings are enormously complex if you care to dive in), it’s also all about encouraging them to share more stuff publicly by letting them choose an “everyone” option each time they post something.

That will be key for Facebook (Facebook

) becoming as valuable as Twitter (Twitter

) in the realm of real-time search, where both are now integrated in Google. Although it has many times more users than Twitter, to date, most Facebook data remains private and, hence, inaccessible to search engines. We’ll see how that starts to change after today.

See Also: Facebook’s New Privacy Features – A Complete Guide


Report: Facebook Popularity Not Fading Among Young Users (via AllFacebook)

so much for that bit of internet "fact!" I was actually more interested in the last paragraph, which echoes what I have been saying for the last several facebook-y posts. facebook is going to be how a lot of communication gets done.

case in point: my girlfriend and her kids got a new kitten today. the kids went over to stay at their dad's. so I'm talking to alice and she suddenly says, "she's purring! they said she never purrs without her mama. our internet is down - can you go post on lu's facebook account?" she knew that her daughter might see a text or might answer her phone, but she was for sure going to see something on her facebook page...

-College Icon-A new study being released this morning by Anderson Analytics reveals that prior reports suggesting Facebook may be losing it’s [sic] coolness factor among college students are inaccurate. Facebook was viewed as “cool” by 82 percent of males and 90 percent of females in the study. While the study does not allude to reasons for the site’s continued popularity, it does suggest that Facebook is becoming a “new mass medium”.

Also of interest was that Facebook overtook Google in terms of popularity among both genders. Despite the increased usage by parents, younger users have not left the site for the most part. Instead, younger users are most likely becoming more educated about the privacy settings made available by Facebook. With the new privacy settings rolling out in the coming weeks, younger users will be able to post content which their parents won’t be able to view.

That means users will have more control over the content visible among their diverse relationships (e.g. professional, family, and social) on a single account. That Facebook continues to maintain its popularity among all age groups is phenomenal as most other social networks have failed at diversifying their user base beyond smaller demographic groups.

It will be interesting to see if new users find the new privacy settings to be easier to understand and take advantage of the soon to be released publishing features. For now it appears that Facebook is truly becoming a mass communication tool, not just a “social network” as many still refer to it.