Facebook, Facebook, everywhere but no privacy to be found.  Much like the, "Water, water everywhere but not a drop to drink." quote punned here, I think the questions that arise using Facebook are poetically fundamental. 


          When Facebook started it was a members only situation.  As it grew and the base of users spanned more than just collegiate alumni they continued to maintain the same working business model.  As any company grows it must adapt.  Change, transform completely at times to meet the needs of the market and the users.  The privacy issues arising have not stifled the Facebook growth.  As Facebook expands into more service avenues the privacy problem could become a real issue. 


          Facebook recently announced acquisition of Pursuit.com.  This is a job-search site similar in respect to LinkedIn.  Going to the site currently only shows a nice place holder page outlining some features.  Looks like some development is coming down the pipe.  Recruiters have long used Facebook to find candidates and keep in touch with their respective networks.   This combination will most likely provide a more official, and hopefully functional, platform for mining candidates on Facebook, perhaps across all social networks. 


          For recruiters and HR professionals this can sound like an ultimate tool.  For candidates it is a pinnacle of giving up your privacy for some digital trinkets and bobbles.  If you don't like the idea of giving up your online anonymity, what would you pay to keep it, or control it?  Let's face it, you could go without a Facebook account and you could also put up a 20 foot wall around your house.  It has become a part of the modern culture and has shaped many aspects of our current communication practices. 


          So, what would it be worth to you, the end user, the consumer and the one whose information is being provided to advertisers and soon employers to control what is seen and by whom?  The current privacy settings allow for this to some extent.  Further granularity of control over what is actually shared with whom may be the next great service from Facebook.  I could see easily spending $5 a month or more, depending on specific use, to maintain deep information access levels as Facebook begins to provide higher end services such as job-search and candidate representation.  Perhaps the depth and breadth of the information access control could be so great as to warrant a specialist in the matter.  It's hard enough just managing group access and levels currently available.  Now imagine on a corporate scale, with hundreds of broadcast communications both public and private. 


          I think eventually, this is the only direction that will make sense for Facebook.  They will need to find a way to curtail the largest Privacy issue in history causing user backlash.  Allowing the user full control and decision to pay or waive privacy rights is the only fair market option I see available.  They will have to formulate a price and structure that will allow them to cover the lost ad revenue while not appearing over-priced. 


          So now that we have ruptured the personal information pipeline, that is Facebook, into the social ocean of the world, how much would you pay per month to put a personal valve on it? 


John Reagan 



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