Last week there was a lot of talk about Facebook's new setup, which would allow for tighter integration and sharing of everything that people do, with music being a key example. Whether or not that's a good idea, I have no idea. To be honest, I think that it could make sense long term -- but the way that it's been implemented seems like a disaster to me, as I discovered when I logged into Spotify today. Apparently, Spotify is pissing off a ton of people by requiring a Facebook login to use the service now
. I have less of an issue with that than I do with the fact that Spotify popped up a box telling me I had to connect to Facebook, but not making it at all
clear what that meant. It notes that Spotify can
share the details of what I'm listening to with others, but does not explain what that means. Will it share everything I play with everyone automatically? Will it give me the option of what to share? Will it give me the option of who I'm sharing it with? That's not clear at all. Even worse, nowhere is there any explanation of how or where I can find out more. Instead, Spotify just opens as normal.
It turns out that Spotify just starts sharing everything you play on Facebook, without even making it clear to the user that it's doing that. I couldn't find that info on my own profile. It was only after I asked a question and a Facebook friend told me what I was listening to that I knew the info was being shared. Even worse, how to turn it off is not clear at all either. Thankfully Lifehacker explains how to stop spamming everyone with what you're playing on Spotify
. You can do so by unchecking the following box, which makes no sense at all:
If you can't see it, it says: "Get personal recommendations by sending music you play to Facebook's Open Graph." But, what does "personal recommendations" have to do with anything? Why can't Spotify just be upfront and honest and say, "spam all your friends on Facebook with what you're playing"? Again, I recognize that some people want to do this, and I have no problem with people choosing to do it. My problem is with the way that Facebook and Spotify implemented this, where it's not even remotely clear what you're doing. Given Facebook's similar problems in the past (hello, Beacon) you would think that the company would recognize the importance of being clear
and totally upfront
about what info is being shared with whom and how to control it. Instead, it seems like the exact opposite.
Again, I'd have no problem sharing some of what I listen to if I have control over it. But, really, are any of my friends really going to want to know when I play the "lullaby playlist" I put together for my son? There are some friends with whom I have no problem sharing what I'm listening to, but plenty of others where it's just not something I'd share with them at all. And perhaps there are hidden controls buried in the preferences somewhere, but it's not at all clear, which leads me to now totally distrust Spotify and Facebook. Facebook I was already on the fence about, but I liked Spotify (and pay for a subscription). If these companies can't even get the basics right concerning how I can share my info, I'm going to have to look elsewhere. It's amazing how quickly a company can destroy a ton of goodwill.