Love privacy? Love Facebook? Nope, you can’t have both. Now after all those careful privacy settings to keep your information private, Facebook’s decided to let other users annoy you until you let your privacy shields down. Facebook manages to keep it’s hands clean while still taking away a little more of your privacy. It’s an amazing balancing act that’s sure to stir up yet another round Facebook change complaints.
Facebook Equals Singles Bar
CNN described the new feature pretty well by calling it “a singles bar at closing time.” The way the feature works is if a friend hasn’t disclosed their relationship status, you’ll be able to click an Ask button to request the details. Whether it’s just a noisy friend or someone who’s been crushing on you from afar, anyone can ask if you’re single or not.
Not only can friends ask about your relationship status, but they must also include a note saying why they’re asking. Basically, this is the spot for that awkward first date invitation. While you can ignore the question, you can also answer it. Answering will update your status, but only you and the friend will see it. Luckily, Facebook realizes you might not want to share your status with everyone by default.
Not The First Ask
You may have already noticed the Ask feature showing up for other profile information, such as phone numbers, hometown and employer. The feature was rolled out several months before on most profile details. Now, it’s being tested and is pretty much fully available for US Facebook users on relationship status as well.
Somehow, I have the feeling the relationship question will be asked much more often than other details. Even before the Ask feature, friends usually never hesitated to send private messages asking about your relationship, including status, who you’re with and how long you’ve been together. For once, Facebook is probably giving users a feature they’ve been wanting for a while.
The Real Reason Behind Ask
Did you really think Facebook would implement a new feature that wasn’t mainly for their benefit? Ask is no different. Facebook users all your profile information to cater ads to you. For instance, set your status as “Engaged” suddenly and watch all the wedding related ads start to appear. While others may not be able to see how you answered a friend, Facebook can.
Facebook uses the newly collected data to earn even more revenue from you as you navigate the site. Imagine the goldmine of new details Facebook’s collecting just from the Ask feature. If you’re not too keen on sharing more private details with Facebook, you might want to send the friend a private message, though that’s not a guarantee Facebook won’t gather the data anyway.
What do you think about Ask? Have you received any annoying or awkward Asks yet?