We’re all sharing a bit less personal information on Facebook, and while this should probably be hailed as a positive thing, it’s enough to set the Silicon Valley alarm bells ringing.
People are less willing to put personal information on their profiles, let alone share the more intimate details of their lives on their walls, and for many good reasons. Privacy is more of a concern nowadays, as it should be. Plus, we’ve all added co-workers, acquaintances, and friends of friends we met at some party and never talked to again. They don’t really need to know everything about us, or where we are geographically, and sifting through our friends lists to add people to specific groups is a pain in the ass. Better to just not share.
It probably doesn’t help that the targeted advertising is so blatant. I had one private message conversation about whiskey bars in Sydney the other day right before a promoted post about the five best whiskey bars in Sydney popped up in my feed. Helpful, but… Kinda creepy.
Where we are sharing though, is on Snapchat and Instagram — the latter of which is owned by Facebook.
While Mark Zuckerberg says overall sharing is similar to what it has been in recent years, this is mainly buoyed by linking news articles from other websites — something that’s bound to increase with the entertainment bonanza that is the US presidential election, and everyone’s favourite clown candidate Trump manipulating the news cycle.
As for the sharing of original, personal material, that’s down a whopping 21 per cent. That’s a worry for Facebook in a business where we’re the product. So far, it’s made moves to make sharing easier, such as prompting users to upload the last photos taken on their phone. It has also brought in the ability to do live video.
But there hasn’t been anything addressing the core problem of not wanting everyone to see everything. Something akin to Google+’s accessible tool to add people into groups might be a start, though I doubt many people will even bother to do that, and at the same time I’m skeptical of any AI effort to auto-organise friends into categories.