The Innovation Facebook Failed to Make

PUBLISHED ON APR 22, 2010 — RANT

A lot of ink and pixels are being spilled this week about announcements made at the Facebook conference this week. Many of the new things announced are already live.

Facebook is still lacking in one major area, and until this is fixed I and a lot of other people will remain uncomfortable. We need to be able to layer our social circle like an onion. We know lots of people, close family, distant family, close and casual friends, friends from the ‘old days’, close business partners, associates, people who you want to get to know better, the variety may be endless. At a minimum there is family, friends and business. For years I’ve made an effort to at least keep business and the rest separate, keeping business to LinkedIn. It looks like the Facebook future is being forced upon us anyway and things are about to get messy.

Having a social graph is useless without some degree of control over who gets what. I’m sorry, but everyone can’t be my ‘friend’.

I don’t think I’m being fuddy-duddy, this is actually a younger generation attitude. After all our teens don’t tweet specifically because they want to control who sees what and they don’t have granular control on Twitter.

The current Facebook privacy choices; Friends, Friends of Friends, and Everyone, is useless. It is a cop-out.

The things announced this week are interesting, but also a scary power grab (by an arguably shady company that is more Borg like than anything Gates ever imagined) that will have far reaching implications for your privacy. A social graph with degrees of exposure is a hard problem but a real one that must be solved. How about some real innovation, ZuckerBorg?

TAGS: STARTUP