Facebook screwed up, what they SHOULD have done…

I’ve been a bit off with a cold the last week or so, although having stayed in the loop I think it’s been an interesting week or so with several things happening that caught my eye, mainly though was the stupid changes with privacy on Facebook, we should all call it faceache, that’s certainly what it gives us.

No doubt millions of eyebrows went up when they realised what had happened.

I wasn’t going to post about it, mainly because I shared several good links on my own facebook page for others to read, some missed it though, and some readers on here don’t see my facebook page.

Then I realised I already shared what they should have done, they already had/have the right solution… they ignore what’s right under their noses, I’ll explain that in a minute…

On the week where that nasty scum who abused kids in a nursery then sent pics to perverts met VIA facebook I found this move very very distasteful, in fact facebook LOST trust, that trust they built up over the last few years dropped overnight.

Jason Calacanis asked a pretty strightfowrd question with…  Is Facebook being unethical, clueless or unlucky?

Before you go rushing to read that, my thoughts…

I think I tend to fall into the unethical argument, I felt it was a very sly move dressed with spin, IE they say one thing while it’s actually the opposite, they say it was to give more control over privacy yet they changed it without saying so, if you think the pop up box give us a say… you will find it was already changed, they are banking on ignorance.

If it was two days between your last signing in and getting that pop up box it means your profile and it’s contents were available to the search engines for those two days, enough for it all to be indexed!

In real terms facebook has been built on privacy, sharing with chosen people, family, friends co workers etc.

Most of the users are parents, family members, aunts, uncles, etc and don’t mix much with “everyone” online.

Facebook’s betrayal of your trust is immense… and they did it to several hundred million people!

It’s like you invite your family, friends round to your home, then share your latest holiday snaps with them, after they leave and you go to bed, facebook come into your home and took the photo album outside and put it onto a magazine rack outside your  front door, that’s the sight which greets you in the morning when you go to get your pint of milk from the doorstep!

A bunch of strangers and a possible pervert stood there rifling through your photos!

How would that make anyone feel?

As someone said.. they are the foxes guarding the hens!

They are indeed preying on peoples ignorance, how many of the 350 million people got confused and did nothing about it?
How many of them millions don’t even realised what’s been done?

Even if it was only a paltry 5%, that’s a HUGE number of people.

So, why did they do all this really?

Traffic, and money, NO other reason, they wanted profiles to be indexed by search engines which would create traffic, traffic they would like to monetise because they are useless at monetising in reality, how can anyone with 350 million users struggle to monetise it??

They have had crappy apps do better at monetising then them on their own site!

Yet, it’s a dilemma, they created a closed walled garden which was the main reason for that huge growth in the first place, now they realise it is also a hindrance to their own monetisation plans, so they tried to slyly trick us into it think it wouldn’t kick up a stink, daft move!

So, what should they have done?

Lets look at this from their point for a second, they wanted this purely so they could expand their reach using search engines and also as a way to battle twitter, which is in my view could have happened IF they got it right.

The already have the twitter rival in Lite.

Let me explain, when I first saw lite, my immediate reaction was to think, “wow, well, if they let us have both lite and normal facebook, yet seperate them completely they could probably dent twitter in a huge way”.

Not only that, a rival with an already bigger userbase than twitter! 350 million!

At the moment, every facebook user has a lite version, there is an option to make lite default but it’s just that, a smaller neater version of the facebook we already use.

What’s stopping them from keeping lite as a standalone platform with slight differences than the normal facebook set up?

Nothing! Less excuse now when they already have the great friendfeed team on board who know a thing or two about all this stuff.  It’s all in place already!

Here’s how I would set it up…

Don’t copy twitter, beat them at their own game.

Keep the main facebook is it is, have the settings so we do have complete privacy control and we decide in total what gets shared and with whom, keep the friend limit as it is or lower, 5000 is too many anyway IMO.

Have lite set up with no friend limit and have it default as open, but let people have the option to deactivate it completely, if they don’t want to use lite, let them choose to not use it.

Have the option to import all friends on your main facebook who use lite into your lite friend list, have the option to use the lists feature like we can on the main facebook and the option to have one list set to private… this could be the friends from your main facebook set up.

Have the option to cross post from lite to the main facebook but not the other way round.

Make lite work in real time like friendfeed does, use facebooks own fb.url shortner on lite and give us the metrics to use and work with so we can improve our lite experience as we go along.

Make lite a great addition to facebook not a small alternative.

That’s what I would do. What do you think?

P.s If facebook use this, a beer or two would be nice as a thanks Mr Zuckerburg!

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