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ACM Opinion

Facebook's 'evil Interfaces'


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Social networking companies don't have it easy. Advertisers covet their users' data, and in a niche that often seems to lack a clear business model, selling (or otherwise leveraging) that data is a tremendously tempting opportunity. But most users simply don't want to share as much information with marketers or other "partners" as corporations would like them to. So it's no surprise that some companies try to have it both ways.

Last Monday evening, after an exasperating few days trying to make sense of Facebook's bizzare new "opt-out" procedures, we asked folks on Twitter and Facebook a question:

"The world needs a simple word or term that means "the act of creating deliberately confusing jargon and user-interfaces which trick your users into sharing more info about themselves than they really want to." Suggestions?

And the suggestions rolled in! Our favorites include "bait-and-click", "bait-and-phish", "dot-comfidence games", and "confuser-interface-design".

Although we didn't specifically mention Facebook in our question, by far the most popular suggestions were variations on this one from @heisenthought on Twitter.

From The Electronic Frontier Foundation
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