The Facebook Community is Worried

I was interviewed yesterday afternoon on “Homerun“, the drive home show of CBC Radio One Montreal, about the new Facebook Pages and SocialAds products. The writer that prepared the interview was very well informed and had managed to capture a good portion of the blogosphere’s feelings about the new initiatives. A lot of the questions revolved around privacy. Will advertisers know anything about me? How does targeting work? What happens if I become fan of a business? Will my newsfeed be polluted by advertising? etc.

Wednesday night, I was sitting on a “Future of Facebook” panel at FacebookCamp Montreal. More than 200 people attended the event. I had the opportunity to talk to many people who are very passionate about Facebook. I quickly realized that, even though most of the attendees were hoping to use the Facebook ecosystem to do business (either through advertising or building apps), people were analyzing the Facebook announcement through their user eyes and many of them were worried the new ad products would break this great social platform.

Jean-Jacques Streliski, one of Quebec’s top advertising gurus and GM of Publicis Montreal, was sitting on a marketing panel. He admitted he was a complete Facebook junkie but he wasn’t yet prepared to push Facebook to Publicis’ customers. He talked about the fact that Facebook is a great social experiment and he does not want to corrupt the experience.

Forbes reports there is “fear among Facebook developers”, Saul Hansell from The New York Times wonders if Facebook’s SocialAds are illegal, and people are also coming up with ways to block the new Facebook beacon.

The whole ecosystem is worried and Facebook is not doing anything to assuage the fears. Facebook needs to put a stake in the ground and clearly explains the impacts of their new products.

Facebook, are you listening to your community?

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