Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Facebook Wants My Passport To Post Music

Here's is the background that led to this story: I was writing an email to someone I knew in college. I wanted to share some of the music I have recorded with them, so I thought of my options. Email, Divshare, MySpace...Facebook? Facebook Pages has a music player built into them, so I thought that this would be a good choice. Ready to take action...

I created the Facebook Page for myself, and then quickly hit a wall when I went in to upload my music. I was asked to verify that I "formally represent"...me? Facebook wanted me to upload an image of my passport, drivers license or school ID. Who would digitize something this critical to their identity and then readily give it away online to anyone, let alone a social networking website? There is an enormous arrogance swelling here. No thanks, Facebook.

I've been very wary of Facebook's handling of our private data, as have many in the blogosphere and beyond. Last November, Facebook's Beacon ad service made headlines on just that topic. Facebook installed user-interaction-sniffing cookies that worked even when users were logged out of Facebook. This led to the awful stories that circulated about Facebook letting friends know of the presents you bought for them. Bad User Experience factor of 99, Creep factor of 11. Debutante CEO Mark Zuckerberg took responsibility for Beacon transgressions and apologized a few months ago, but am I now ready to surrender my Passport information to his company? Strange notions of user experience going on here.

2 comments:

Merriyank said...

I just joined up a new Facebook page for a musician I manage. The instructions said photo ID and it was ok to block out any personal information - so I did - it shows it's a drivers licence, has my name and my photo - I figured that was no more information than you could already easily obtain about me in my Facebook/Blogger profile - probably less actually. Will be interesting to see if they deem it worthy of confirmation...

Michael Grossman said...

Maree,

I never saw the info that you could block out all that data. Maybe that is recent. That is strange then, because then it is kind of useless verification like you say. Why bother giving anyone angst then? Let me know how it works out and thanks for the comment.