Recently, small unassuming icons started popping up on various websites, little “like” buttons that are springing up next to movie titles on IMDB, a restaurant on Yelp or the hundreds of other products and services on the web with that button.
If that was all that Facebook was doing, then it wouldn’t really require the Zuckman to put a full on show with bells and whistles and all to announce this. This feature has been available for ages, whether through the Digg/Reddit or more recently the Twitter buttons. However, there are two things that make it quite the big deal.
Two things that makes this a big deal…
First of all, this new feature will allow Facebook to share your information which will in turn influence your experience on other sites. For example, if you have a tendency to ‘like’ spicy Mexican food then Yelp will “suddenly” develop a tendency to show you more Mexican restaurants. This is only one of the ways that this information might be used.
The second thing that makes this freaking huge is just how ginormous Facebook already is. Currently, Facebook users share a lot of information and links on the site, but at the end of the day it is fairly contained on Facebook. But with this feature, Facebook is stretching its tentacles and reaching out to grab more information from more sources.
AdSense on steroids?
It doesn’t take a tech savvy person to explain the outcome of such development, even the fracking congress raised its eyebrows about the new feature. Facebook users are very active and are quite intent about letting others know what they like, so everybody who will be “liking” something on the web will be making a statement about where they are willing to spend their money; making it the ultimate advertising machine.
This invention will be the holy grail of marketing: you first make a statement about liking burgers and how much you like the cheese burger and you tell your friends and Facebook about it. Now, when you go to Yelp and other sites, you start noticing more and more burger ads and burger suggestions, then a burger company approaches Facebook and asks about placing an ad for those people who really like burgers, think AdSense on steroids. And viola! The cycle is complete.
As with everything that Facebook does, your privacy is just an afterthought. In order to protect yourself from this scheme, you will have to go through the now obligatory hoop jumping to disable this feature when it should be an opt-in feature.
So what do you think of this latest Facebook feature? Will you opt out of it?
Let us hear your thoughts… and don’t forget to “Like” this post ;)