Facebook is Stalking You Beware

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

“Just kidding” is what Facebook management said to The Hollywood Reporter on Monday, June 25, 2012. A new application from Facebook, “Find Friends Nearby” was put into play, but quickly pulled because it was labeled the “Stalker App” just hours after it was launched.

Facebook claimed “This wasn’t a formal release – this was just something that a few engineers were testing. With all tests, some get released as full products, others don’t.”

THR reported this scenario: “You’re out with friends at a bar or restaurant and you meet a person with whom you want to keep in touch with. Rather than hand out the prerequisite business card, you say, ‘Hey, friend me?’ But even that may be too much work after a rambunctious happy hour.”

Hence, the new Facebook app, also known as “Friendshake,” which Facebook users could locate through the apps menu for Android and iOS and by visiting Facebook’s mobile site.

Then, THR reported, “The reason that the new app was pulled could be as simple as its news report nickname, the ‘Stalker App.’ When an app uses GPS to tell strangers that you’re nearby, it’s going to raise privacy concerns, the same ones that surfaced about other geographically social apps like Glancee, which was acquired by Facebook two months ago.”

Since Facebook seems to do things in pairs, the Associated Press reported Wednesday, June 27, 2012, Facebook unilaterally – and, without permission of users – replaced the e-mail addresses users chose to display on their profile pages with @facebook.com addresses.

Not only did Facebook replace all of the addresses with it’s own domain address, but it also redirected each address to send all mail to the message section of a user’s Facebook profile instead of the original address destination outside of Facebook.

This was done to increase advertising revenues; the more Facebook members use the social networking site for communications amongst themselves, the more Facebook can charge target ads based on the conversations they have on the Facebook platform. This is similar to the way Google targets ads to Gmail users in their e-mails.

The Facebook e-mail system has been only lightly used, this heavy-handed approach was designed to increase volume,

After the change was pointed out by bloggers, leading to complaints by users on Facebook pages and Twitter, the company let it be known users can manually go into their profiles and reset the e-mail addresses to their original appearance without the @facebook.com domain name.

In one final bit of news, The Wall Street Journal reported on its front page on Tuesday, June 26, 2012 Mac users see more expensive hotels when using the Orbitz travel agency online booking engine than Windows users.

Orbitz claims a typical Mac user spends as much as 30% more a night on hotels, so the company changed its protocols to automatically display more expensive hotel options for those users.

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