Facebook users who choose not to link their user accounts to Facebook’s public Pages are ending up with blank profiles containing no information at all. If you haven’t experienced this problem, it’s probably thanks to the somewhat high-pressure tactics Facebook is using to get you to accept these changes.
The next time you visit your Profile page (if you haven’t done so already), you’ll be introduced to the new “Connected Profiles” option. With this option, the text in your Facebook profile section where you list your hometown, education, work and interests, is now being linked to the respective pages on Facebook.
Those who choose not to link, though, are informed via a Facebook pop-up box that their Profile page will be left empty.
How Connected Profiles Work
When you revisit your Profile page, explained Li on the Facebook blog, you’ll see a box pop-up asking you to link your profile to Pages that reflect your listed interests and affiliations. You can either pick some of these pages or click “Link All to My Profile” to accept all of Facebook’s suggestions.
Yet in examining the design of the pop-up box itself, it’s clear that it’s been crafted so that the “Link All” button, shaded in blue, is the option hurried users will click in an effort to get back to what they were doing – attempting to edit their profile.
Opting-Out a Poor Option
But even for those who actually do consider the implications of everything about themselves being made public, they’ll soon encounter another issue. Something that Li didn’t explain in the cheery blog post was what would happen if you refused to link to these new Pages: your profile information will be removed and your profile page will be left empty.
Making Your Interests Public
That’s not to say that this forced link-building doesn’t have its pluses – Facebook can now build a web of connections from people to their interests and then allow those details to be shared with the “instantly personalized” websites like Pandora and Yelp. If you leave the privacy issues aside momentarily, you’ll see that does offer some intriguing possibilities for a more social web.
However, the high-pressure tactics being used to get people to link to Facebook Pages are a good example of how Facebook is coyly forcing people to go public with their previously more private, personal data.
So what should your takeaway be from all this mess? Look before you link.
In fact, it may be best if you just assume that everything on Facebook will be public from now on and act accordingly.
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