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Facebook meets the “Unlike” button


The site that functions as one big popularity contest looks a little unpopular today. After a series of changes that eroded its users’ privacy, Facebook has been getting smacked around in public, the Washington Post reports. A Wired blog post declared the widely-used social network “Gone Rogue.” A team of programmers looking to develop an open alternative to Facebook quickly raised tens of thousands of dollars from strangers. A series of bold-face names in technology have canceled their Facebook accounts. I am neither terribly surprised about this nor too sympathetic for Facebook. The Palo Alto, Calif., company has earned this scorn. First, consider the changes it’s imposed on its users. One turns many parts of your personal profile–your city, employer, hobbies and so on–into public links unless you remove that information. Another change can expose your endorsements of links at various sites, this one included, with a click of Facebook’s increasingly-ubiquitous “Like” button. (Note that my first posts on these changes failed to capture their privacy implications.) A third, “Instant Personalization,” shares some of your data, without your advance permission, with other sites…

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