Summary: A look at Facebook’s sheer hypocrisy and close ties with Microsoft (which tighten further this week)
FACEBOOK is the latest villain in the village and there is a good reason for it. Facebook’s use of AstroTurfers and loyalty to Microsoft are no recipe for popularity. As we explained some months back, Facebook disrespects people’s privacy like no other company does, and that too is not bound to make it popular. The mining private of data, as we explained before, is not done just by Facebook but also selected allies. As the news reminds us this week, Facebook AstroTurf funding may have well have come from Microsoft. To quote the new report: “The changes to Bing come at a strange time in the history of social searching. Just last week, Facebook got busted planting a story that slammed Google’s social search options as having privacy problems. That move by Facebook seems even odder this week, since if anything, the Microsoft announcement really emphasizes how little Google uses Facebook data. Google does have a “social search” system that includes data from Twitter, YouTube, and other sites—but it doesn’t appear to use Facebook data in any significant way.”
“Puts the Facebook smear campaign against Google into perspective, doesn’t it?”
–Pamela Jones, GroklawGroklaw (Pamela Jones) asked, “do you still believe that it was only Facebook who got the idea to hire the same PR firm that represented Microsoft in a previous anti-Google PR campaign?”
And in relation to another report (about Facebook lobbying against privacy), Groklaw wrote: “Facebook in stealth mode against user privacy, eh? Last we looked in on Facebook’s stealth mode, it was accusing Google of not respecting user privacy. This is hilarious.”
This type of situation is terribly familiar as Microsoft has been doing exactly the same thing for years. It is still shaking the “privacy” stick to daemonise competitors, calling the kettle “black”. The partly Microsoft-owned Facebook shows that it’s like father, like son. Regarding this pair, adds Groklaw: “Puts the Facebook smear campaign against Google into perspective, doesn’t it?”
In the “conversational search” category, Bing is introducing features to let users share results with their Facebook friends and request their input, such as when they are using Bing’s Shopping search engine and want advice on what to buy. When people are using the Bing Travel search engine, they will be able to share a travel wish list and see which friends live in those desired destinations.
Perhaps it is time for people to stop treating Facebook and Microsoft as entirely separate, We have argued in favour of this view for at least a year. People should flee Facebook like many are fleeing Skype these days (not just GNU/Linux users by the way). █