As many of you may already know, Facebook has recently redesigned its user profile. In the past, Facebook has received considerable grief over what many users felt was a strong-handed and calloused disregard to their opinions in forced, wholesale roll-outs. What is so remarkable about this particular instance is that Facebook is giving its users an opportunity to “opt in” rather than require a mandatory migration. While I am sure that Facebook will eventually require everyone to convert, for now users have a choice and the feedback generated will be invaluable in making additional changes and gauging the right time to force a wholesale roll-out. One can only wonder if this is a sign that Facebook is learning its lesson.
Facebook has also come under fire in the past for its “secret” (officially undisclosed but publicly known) agreements with various government agencies, not the least of which are those agreements which allow back-end access to otherwise confidential personal user information without a court order or user notification.
For those of us who have switched, after a period of usage Facebook requests that we participate in a short survey. The dozen or so questions were multiple choice except for the last, which was short answer, and it took me less than five minutes to complete.
The short answer question was: “Why do you think that Facebook has redesigned the user profile?” Here is my response:
I think that Facebook has redesigned the user profile to encourage users to share more personal information and generate a higher level of user interaction. The long term strategy over the past several redesigns appears to be to acclimate the user to revealing more personal information without considering or otherwise giving due regard to personal privacy implications. While I cannot know what the underlying motives for this are inasmuch as I cannot read minds, I note that this will probably increase the ability of Facebook to attract more advertisers and thereby generate a higher revenue stream. It also gives law enforcement officials and other persons who do business with Facebook easier access to information that would have been otherwise more difficult to obtain in the past.
So, why do YOU think that Facebook has redesigned the user profile? Is Facebook learning its lessons?