from the promiscuous-sharing dept
I've become steadily less enthralled with Facebook applications as I've become more familiar with them. In theory, a platform strategy
is a great idea -- indeed, few tech companies have been really successful without building platforms that other companies can leverage to dramatically increase the value of the whole ecosystem. But not every platform strategy will necessarily be a success. And often, the crucial thing that separates a successful platform strategy from an unsuccessful one is the ability to design a good interface between the core technology and the add-on functionality. If the interface is too limited, other companies won't be able to do anything with the platform. Conversely, if the interface is too expansive, it can allow the entire platform to descend into a chaotic mess, as shoddy add-on products can undermine the reputation of the entire ecosystem. It appears that Facebook's application platform is in danger of falling into the latter trap.
Chris Soghoian has a great post arguing that Facebook's permissive policies regarding application access to user data poses a serious threat to user privacy
that could seriously damage Facebook's reputation. Soghoian says that applications are given access not just to all of a given user's information (much of which is unnecessary for the application to perform its functions) but also to a lot of information about a user's friends
, many of whom will not have consented to have their information shared with random third-party applications. There's is a page buried deep in the Facebook preferences