I’m definitely not a big fan of Facebook policy to change design and direction on a dime. There are actually a lot of issues with Facebook that don’t sit well. “Why do you keep using it then??” Because I’ve spent the better part of 2 years looking for friends, connecting with friends, and creating a network of people. I don’t want to spend another 2 trying to convince everyone to go over to Google+. But recently I began looking for family members I haven’t spoken to in a while. Most of my cousins seem technology immune, living in the desolate reaches of wherever they are. Just haven’t been able to find them. And then last night, one of them showed up in a Facebook search. So I clicked the link. I thought, “HUH! He finally got himself a page!” But something was amiss.
First of all, “my cousin” set up what looked like a professional page. “A FAN page?” I thought. OKaaaaay. Whatever floats your boat. (You see, he’s not a celebrity or public figure…so it didn’t really make sense.)
But then I thought..hmmm…maybe so! He’s a professional. Maybe he’s utilizing Facebook for his marketing ventures. Smart guy! But on closer inspection, I found that Facebook had created this page on his behalf. And I don’t think he requested it…or had knowledge of it in any way whatsoever (referring back to my comment of technological isolation.) Whether they went through the digital phone book or through their own members’ contact lists…I don’t know. Somehow my cousin, who probably has only heard of Facebook while walking by a conference or ordering a latte in a Starbucks, ended up on Facebook with a page that highlights his professional standing. Odd. How do I know he didn’t make it? Because why would you make a page that anyone could claim and edit?
Turns out, Facebook is kind enough to let you “notify” the owner of the page if you know them or claim it for yourself! Really? I can simply claim my cousin’s page?? What else can I do?
I can even edit the apparently public information.
Although not immediately obvious, this page does look like some kind of a business listing. But it comes with a Friends Activity page. So really, it’s my cousin’s business as an identity page. And if left unclaimed, COULD be used by unscrupulous individuals.
Pre- and post-internet, I guess you automatically get listed in the phonebook. But that’s because you have a phone. For a fee, you can even opt OUT of being in the phone book. Which was always a little odd to me. So, in this new digital age, does Facebook as our new private, expanded phonebook, get to create a page for you because you have an identity somewhere? Seems a little presumptuous of Zuck. What do you think? And what happens if you don’t make it in time to claim your identity?? Isn’t that identity theft? Even though technically, it was simply there for the taking. Makes me shake my head.