Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Google Launches Facebook Disconnect

I've always found Facebook's cavalier attitude toward its users' privacy a little worrisome, but I still maintained my Facebook account. Even after they rolled out feature after feature that was always "opt out" instead of "opt in." Instead, I barely used it, logging in once a week or less for 10 minutes at a time. (Given that the average Facebook user spent 7 hours a month on the site in February, it seems like my account is getting dusty by comparison.)

Then, Facebook rolled out "Facebook Connect" in May, which allowed its users to see which article his or her friends were reading (or "like"ing) on sites other than Facebook. Many news websites reported a traffic boom as a result of the service. Other sites, like Boing Boing, ran articles like "Six reasons to hate Facebook's new anti-privacy system, 'Connections'" citing a serious lack of privacy concerns on the part of the company.

Now, Google, the other kind-of-evil internet company that everyone still uses anyway, has rolled out it's own new weapon in the battle to be the biggest company to control the user experience: Facebook Disconnect. This seems like a good step for those who would rather not have Facebook track all of the sites you're visiting, but given that Google has had some of its own privacy flubs, it makes me wonder what Google's real motivation is here. I'm guessing it's not just about concern for my privacy.

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