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Facebook One Step Closer to Total Transparency


In a time when information has a valued half-life of hours instead of days, Facebook is lumbering forward with plans to release user-submitted data to third party developers; a move that will surely both anger and please its over 200 million of members.

Recently the social-networking giant has repeatedly made the news with a mixture of bad press and incidences of hard-learned life lessons about personal disclosure; instances where people have lost jobs over comments made on the site, while a Canadian politician was forced out of office.  Within the last month alone, Facebook has managed to both lobby the Attorney General, and sneak a Terms of Service agreement past its users despite uproarious dissent.   The political dabbling is, not surprisingly, in reference largely to privacy issues.  Meanwhile, it was announced just this week that the TOS will indeed be rewritten in deference to users’ privacy and content-ownership.

And content-ownership is just what is on everybody’s mind now.  The Palo-Alto based company announced its decision to open most user-submitted content to third party developers, in a move towards making Facebook updates part of the same real-time information stream as Twitter and Friendfeed.  Such a move would move the internet goliath into a position resembling a communications service rather than a website, and in this fast-paced internet market of today there isn’t anything hotter in the board-room than that.

Speculations abound as to whether or not users will be able to opt out of the new open-feed style, but given the recent turmoil over user-privacy and ownership of content, it’s probably a safe bet that keeping your updates closed will be available as an option.  That being said, with Facebook sidling up to the right politicians, we can never be sure of its intentions.  In the meantime, it will be interesting to watch events unfold, and see the effect on the already booming stream of real-time information.

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