One of the first rules most of us learn in business is to avoid bringing up controversial subjects with co-workers, colleagues, and customers. Especially customers.
If you have business-related Facebook friends, you probably think twice about the sorts of things you share. The same unwritten rules apply on Facebook as in face-to-face interactions: you wouldn’t tell an off-color joke or start a political argument in either place.
So you might be shocked to learn that Facebook is automatically publishing posts under your name and placing them at the top of the News feed for your friends. In some cases, these posts can include controversial political content that you would never voluntarily post.
Consider these two examples, which are typical of posts I’ve seen in my news feed over the past two weeks. (I’ve blurred the names to protect the innocent:
So what's the big deal? People share stuff on Facebook all the time, right?
Except that's not what happened here. I've found more than a dozen examples of similar "sharing." I spoke with five individuals who supposedly shared posts in this format. All of them said they had done nothing to trigger these posts.
If you actively share a link, a post, or a photo, you expect that shared item to go out to your friends immediately. In this case, however, the posts are going out under your name because at some point in the past (in some cases in the distant past) you visited a page and clicked Like.
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This latest, though, this isn’t a feature. (Many Facebook “features” aren’t.) Instead, it’s yet another example of a fundamentally dishonest company, a company with no integrity, playing whack-a-mole with their users. They don’t change things every few days because it’s better for us. Notice how every time they update things they move where settings used to be? It’s not user-friendly, it’s user-hostile and it violates every core fundamental of user interface design, which is all about making a site or an application easier and better for the user.
Facebook does this intentionally to mask their real intent. Which is to package and sell the user, to deceive users into behaving in ways that they wouldn’t otherwise. The message is ugly, but simple: We’re not good enough to entice you to want our services, so we’re going to make you to take it. If we get busted, we’ll issue a statement and try again the next time we think you aren’t looking.