When SocialCam first came out, I thought it was spam because of all of the weird videos that were being posted – and from people I did not expect to be watching them. Now that I know it’s not spam (though I could still argue that it’s a form of spam), I am embarrassed for my friends that were naive with their Facebook privacy settings and allowed SocialCam to have full reign of their Facebook account.
So, in the hopes of helping other people avoid the same embarassment, here’s a quick video of how to stop SocialCam from posting what you watch on Facebook for all to see. Stick around after the video, because I would really like your opinion on these social sharing apps!
Social Cam is just one of the many apps out there that request a ridiculous amount of access to users Facebook pages, and flood our NewsFeeds with bull minutia all day (BranchOut is another one of these apps we’ve talked about before on the Shift Digital blog). I hate these social sharing apps for mainly 2 reasons:
1. They take advantage of people’s ignorance of Facebook privacy settings.
All of the settings that Facebook puts into place for privacy are great. And as you’ll learn in this series, there are a lot of ways you can protect yourself and your information. But, for most people Facebook isn’t a part time job. They aren’t spending hours trying to figure out how to put it together, like it’s a piece of Ikea furniture or something. People spend time on the platform, of course, but they spend time communicating with other people and sharing their experiences. Plus, most people access Facebook through their mobile phone, which doesn’t even have the ability to change privacy options. The default settings on these new social sharing apps are way too generous, and someone who just wants to get to watching their Social Cam video will just click through them to get to the actual content. The process naturally opens people up to their permissions being abused, as is the case with SocialCam. Should users pay close attention to their privacy settings and everything they give permissions to? Absolutely. Will they? NO. They actually have lives.
2. They are just noise.
This is what I don’t understand about these automatic social sharing apps. Just because a friend of mine watched a video or read an article doesn’t mean that it was good or interesting. All it means is that they found the headline or the video screen shot intriguing. I would rather wait until a friend of mine thinks there’s a video or article that I might actually enjoy, and then conciously chooses to share it. These social sharing apps blur the line between what is important and what is noise, which devalues everything that is shared on the platform.
Here’s what I think Facebook should do about this problem. I’ve never really understood the point behind most of these social sharing apps, but one thing I do understand is that Facebook wants to track activity from these apps in order to include people in the same experience, and to gather a summary of online experiences on the Timeline. They have a great feature in the app permissions that allows you to share everything on your Timeline so that only you can see it. It’s the “Only Me” option in the app permission dialog box. All Facebook needs to do, is to require app developers to make the Only Me option the default. Then, if people actually want to share with friends, they can either change the option there or change it on the individual posts on their Timeline. Seems like a no brainer to me.
Facebook is in a precarious position with their users right now. They are losing trust because of these “bully” apps, and the company going public only adds to the fear and paranoia. Users see all of the changes and privacy settings as too difficult to figure out, and their NewsFeed is filled with noise that they don’t care about. The user experience is eroding, and we all know what happens after that (ahem, MySpace). Know the motto, “Keep It Simple, Stupid”? I think Facebook would do well to remember that. Most people don’t geek out about Facebook, and they don’t want to have to work and put effort into using the platform.
What is your opinion on social sharing apps? What do you think about Facebook now as compared to when you first started using it?