Okay, so after joining Facebook early Saturday morning, I’ve come to several conclusions and a possible looming decision.

Facebook and Permissions.

When I signed up for an account with Facebook one of the first steps I was asked to complete was to upload my email contacts list so that FB could find my friends that are already on FB. Seemed familiar to other social networking sites I’ve tried so I said “sure, go ahead”. Little did I know that it would notify them without my permission that I just signed up for FB. Now, maybe I glanced over certain wording somewhere — though I don’t think so — but this isn’t permission-based behavior. WTF? I don’t walk into a crowded bar and yell “I’m here!” Within moments I was already being followed. Literally before I went to the next step my email Growled at me that I had confirmed friends. (Thanks FB for confirming my friends. That’s a relief. More on this later.)

Now, after that irk, I was certainly going to read the wording before I mashed any button on the next step. This one asked me if I wanted to contact those who weren’t on Facebook. Umm, hello?! After abusing my relationship with my friends in the previous step, I dare say I would tell everyone else I know to sign up for this.

[Mental Note: Mollie and I are arguing whether my first argument above is correct. Did Facebook notify my friends without my permission? She says it’s implied.]

Update: Confirmed! Facebook doesn’t notify me that they will be sending emails to my friends already on Facebook telling them that I just joined Facebook. To wit:

(Note, I had to set up another FB account temporarily to prove this point. I have since deactivated it.)

Step 1, part A: Providing contact list

Step 1, part B: Add friend. I used an older email account that I knew had one friend.

Step 1, part C: (ahem) Success!

Okay, so I’m not crazy. Facebook did NOT tell me they were going to contact my friends! In essence, they were a permission-less proxy for behavior I would have never approved of.

If anyone out there (Facebook user or not) thinks I’ve blown this out of proportion, misinterpreted the situation or actually totally agrees with Facebook’s implied decisions philosophy then post a comment. I really, trully want to know.

Part 2: Facebook and Privacy coming soon. You can follow along on my RSS feed (with your permission).

Advertisements