Automatic sharing of user activity on Facebook has reached a turning point when the company made known its resolution to trim down implicit sharing of information from third party applications on its site.
The company’s co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has over the past been promoting auto-posting of what Facebook users are doing on other sites such as the Facebook owned Instagram, Spotify, Runkeeper, Farmville and Pinterest on Facebook.
This meant that when you posted a new photograph or liked one on Instagram then your Facebook newsfeed would have a notification to your friends of this activity. The same would happen when you listened to a song on Spotify.
Statistics showed that a large number of Facebook users would mark these notifications as spam. Stories shared by the users on their own volition however would not meet the same kind of response from the other Facebook users. To the company’s service providers, this was a subtle indication of users’ disapproval of the automatic posting service.
The bottom-line is that people have selective preferences when it comes to what should and what should not go public. Majority are thrilled to notify their friends about a nice song they just listened to, say on Spotify, but when it is about watching or digging into some half important or half accepted stories or pages, many people naturally become cagey.
Insistence of Facebook on letting out these pieces of information on their newsfeed would therefore not augur well with their customers.
This ultimate step by Facebook to trim its newsfeed was heralded last week when it stopped sharing activities by its users on the affiliate site Instagram. In that case an activity such as liking a photo on the updated Instagram would not be shared on Facebook unless the user opts for it by tapping the Facebook tab on the app’s sharing panel.
More control over the content of Facebook newsfeed is going to rest upon the individual users. They will have the option of keeping their doings on other social sites private, or sharing on Facebook if they wish to divulge.
Facebook is not doing away with implicit sharing completely though. This type of information is still deemed fundamental by the company. It will simply give an upper hand to explicitly shared stories, meaning that if a user personally clicks the ‘Share to Facebook’ option from whichever third party app, more of their friends are likely to see the notification unlike the case where the sharing option is activated but not prompted by the user for that particular activity. This case, described by Facebook as implicit, is less likely going to have the activity appear to friends.
Facebook will continue to collect data shared by users on these other sites even without posting the same on the site’s News Feed. This could be important for marginal purposes like advertising or gathering certain needed statistics.