Has Facebook 'Sold Out' Your Privacy?

Last week Facebook unveiled it's new Open Graph API. What this means is that other websites will gain the ability to customise your web experience more easily using your data from Facebook.

For instance, if you have logged into Facebook and then went to another website which used the new Graph API you would find the website more customised and personalised to your tastes. This is the next stage in Facebook's plan is to 'socialise' the web. Facebook aims to be the first port of call when you open your browser and they also want the websites you visit afterwards to have customised content based your usage of Facebook.

Is this a good or bad thing for users?

The jury is still out on that one! Facebook has been transparent in their explanation of what is happening and their plan for a Social Graph. However, do people or even Facebook themselves or other companies involved really understand the consequences of such an action?

Facebook's rise to dominance has seen its user-base grow to over 400 million. It is now in a unique position to attempt such a bold feat as 'socialising' the web. Thanks to its continued popularity Facebook has a massive amount of user data which up till now has been used for social adverts and applications within Facebook.

I am sure other companies have been dying to harness the power of this. Not least of these is Microsoft now who want to offer their Office Software as social web apps. This means you might soon be logging into Facebook in order to use Word or Excel online!

However, there are privacy issues that go along with this. Lots of people have trusted Facebook with private and personal data and to be seen as exploiting this could be disasterous.

From a user's perspective Facebook will argue that this will enhance your experience of the web and make it more personalised. Of course we will have the chance to opt of this new development but how many people will understand the intricacies what the social graph could mean for them. We should ask ourselves is this something we really want and are we willing to be just swept along with the tide? Are we happy about other companies using our data for their research? Facebook can certainly see the benefits and will shout to the hills about it but can we?

Maybe you have all the information and customisation you need right now and do not need anything else....