JCL Blog

Facebook's Intention: To Own Your Identity Information

Yesterday I took a shot at figuring out what Microsoft, Apple, and Google's intentions were.  Now let's try Facebook.

This week Facebook announced that it wanted to extend its "Like" feature to all web sites on the internet.  The way I understand this, Facebook will track what web sites you go to and whether you click the Like button associated with that site.  

Sounds pretty cool when Facebook defends the idea as being something we would all want.  When you arrive at a web site, wouldn't you like to know which of your friends had been there?  Wouldn't it be even cooler if you could see whether they liked it there?  In the context of the New York Times it could be harmless, unless you are one of those people that obsesses about the obits.  In the context of Amazon or Netflix -- well OK.  In the context of the bank, travel, healthcare, government, political, legal... now that is scary.

How would it work?  I gather that if you have Facebook open on your machine it knows where you go on the web and loads that information into a database at Facebook.

Therefore Facebook's intention is to be the keeper of your identity as reconstructed through the profile information you fill out at Facebook, your association with friends and groups, and now your activity on the web.

There is really no reason to discuss why Facebook would want to do this -- identity information is the single most valuable thing on the Internet.