Facebook’s reputation erosion?


Facebook sad logo.

@jowyang commenting on #smba:

Many attendees say they don’t trust Facebook. Concerned about how their data is used, permissions, and connecting personal with work

It seems this attitude is spreading. Having spent some time at my uni's computer barns recently, I've overheard conversations even by non-techie people about how Facebook is starting to worry them. Some naturally talk about how their significant others, bosses and the like accidentally saw something they weren't supposed to, but others talked about the issues Owyang is hearing too. This is a fundamental shift in attitudes.

The vast majority of Facebook users probably don't know or care, but all it takes is for enough people to become worried for a shift to start happening. The Facebook guys should be taking this gradual erosion of their reputation very seriously because unlike their constant remodelling that angers people but then gets ignored, this could be enough to scare people away from their service.

The problem is, with MySpace and Friendster back in the day there was a viable alternative in the form of Facebook to move over to when things starting getting icky. What is there for disaffected Facebook users? Twitter is a different type of service, and Orkut doesn't seem to be getting anywhere outside South America.

I suppose we've got a while yet before things really change.

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