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Feb12
Facebook’s Ills Highlight Balancing Act Between Commerce & Community

Yesterday, the New York Times published a story focusing on how hard it is tohotelcali.jpeg disengage from Facebook once one becomes a member.  Clearly, the story is having an impact because is currently most e-mailed, and blogged story on the Times’ Website.  

In the article Nipon Das describes how Facebook has become the “Hotel California” of social networks.  “You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave,” he quipped.  At issue is the fact that Facebook does not purge a former member’s information once they leave the social network.  In addition, even those who repeatedly contact the company to have their information deleted are often unsuccessful.  This is leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths and is yet another example of how difficult it has become for Facebook to monetize its content while respecting users’ implied rights.  

 

Facebook earns part of its revenues from providing marketers and others with valuable behavioral and demographic data.  There is nothing wrong with this.  However, it must ensure it gives people the ability to opt-out and better information about how their data will be used.  In addition, there is a danger that an ingenious hacker can crack Facebook’s servers and download credit card information people once thought they had deleted from the system.  

From an image and communications perspective, Facebook is currently in a tight spot. The company provides a wonderful and useful service to millions globally.  However, it does not want to be compared to companies who refuse to let you opt-out from e-mail lists or AOL, which infamously continued to bill customers after they thought they closed their accounts.

Facebook needs to move fast to correct its community relations problems or it may find itself crashing back to Earth.  

1 Comments/Trackbacks




Looks like Facebook is already addressing this issue.

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