Facebook Comes to the Wall Street Journal

WSJ SeenThis ScreenshotCurious as to what articles your friends find interesting on Facebook? Worry no more! Facebook and the Wall Street Journal have added a new feature that make it possible to view what articles are popular among your friends. All of the responses that I’ve seen related to this news have revolved around how this is a violation of user privacy and that Facebook is yet again crossing the line. This time I have to disagree and say that this is probably one of the more useful tools I’ve seen to leverage the “social graph.”

The new tool leverages the Loomia SeenThis application. Once you’ve added the application, any site that uses the Loomia tool will be able to track what articles you are reading and share them with your friends. The real issue arises when your friends start getting alerted that you are reading certain sites that you don’t want them to know that you are visiting. For the time being, Loomia controls what sites can join and there is a low risk of your friend getting alerted that you just visited an “adult oriented” site.

As some developers pointed out last weekend, the ability to extend Facebook to other websites has been available prior to the launch of the new javascript library. It just wasn’t publicly announced. The trend of extending functionality that we see within Facebook to external websites is going to continue over the next few months and I wouldn’t be surprised to start hearing more reports of shocked users that feel this is a violation of their privacy.

In my opinion, social functionality improves the overall experience on any website. Do you feel that these types of applications are a violation of your privacy or do they improve your overall experience on the site?