Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Nation-New Facebook Feature Puts The Stalker in Stalking

Facebook logo:
(Story reported by Ari Melber for The Nation)

Facebook is more than a social network. It's the most popular website on earth outside of search engines, and increasingly, it acts as the most important unifying grid where young Americans connect with each other and access information. So when the site launches a new feature automatically enrolling its 500 million active members in an elaborate geographic surveillance program, it's kind of a big deal.

I could try to explain how Facebook's new Places program puts the stalking in "Facebook-stalking" -- a once-hyperbolic bit of Internet slang that has now caught up with reality -- but the company launched its own creepy video to share the innovation (below).

The short version is that it's like FourSquare, a site that enables people to "check in" to locations and see if their friends are nearby. Well, it's like FourSquare if FourSquare forced you to join without telling you, and allowed other people to broadcast your location without your consent. Like so many other Facebook "innovations," this program looks like a bait-and-switch from the site's original offering (or promise) to users.

(click here to read the full story on The Nation website)

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