I love the freedom and random expressiveness of the modern service-based, social Internet. I thrill to every new development as it comes up, reading Mashable.com as my first source for the latest news. But its always worth considering whenever signing up for the next new service what that next new service will mean to your privacy and that of your audience. I noticed that Mashable.com is now using FaceBook Connect to authenticate those audience members that want to roll that way:
Example article on Mashable.com.
Wonderful. It’s a nice convenience to only have one login and use those credentials in many places at once. Its also nice for web designers to have some of the authentication burden lifted from their shoulders and have the ability to update their user’s FaceBook space with content from their Connected websites. I very much plan on implementing at least some of this functionality into PotholePatrol.org.
But how much is too much? It seems to me that FaceBook’s checkered past with user privacy – such as adding the ability of advertisers to use your images in advertisements, kind of slipping it in there unannounced – leaves me wanting a little less contact with FaceBook. I realize that my content is my own and that – at least for now – there isn’t any way for FaceBook to coopt my stuff into their own profit-making materials. But I feel as though allowing them to authenticate my users means handing over a significant portion of my site’s credibility to a company which has thusfar not proven itself worthy of that trust.