April 29, 2010

Facebook Starts Mandatory Profile Linkage to Public Pages

With the company's new "Like" feature launched and controversial Open Graph API introduced last week, Facebook looks to be further extending the visibility of the Pages within the network - asking users to connect their various interests to the numerous Pages within the site, instead of them simply being loose preferences that led to search results, only slightly helpful at finding people with similar interests. Upon logging into Facebook, and visiting your profile, you might be asked to automatically connect your profile to each of the corresponding Pages, and if none exist, you may be prompted to create a new Page so it does.

Meanwhile, by linking your profile to these Pages, these connections are Public, another big move for the network to get our data out in the open.

Some of the 52 Public Pages Facebook Wanted Me to Connect

My Likes And Interests Translate to Public Pages, Pre-Checked

In the "Info" tab of your profile, it may now say "The things you care about will now link to actual Pages". Facebook scans your profile, finding if those things you have entered as your Likes and Interests, including your favorite Music, Movies and TV Shows, have corresponding pages. Similarly, it will try and match you with Pages for your "Work and Education", matching you with your colleagues, alumni, and even fellow citizens of your hometown and current city.

The Fine Print: Uncheck to Opt Out, and All Pages are Public

The more data you have on your profile, the more Pages you are prompted to connect to. For me, I was asked to Link to 52 separate pages, and all were pre-checked, by default. Facebook asked me to "Uncheck any Page you don't want to link to". Ominously, if I said I don't want to link to any Pages, these sections on my profile will be empty.

After Linking to Dozens of Pages, My Profile Is Much Cleaner, but Public

With the company moving away from "Fans" of Pages, the standard to date, and to the new "Like" model, considered more lightweight, this move to make it easier, and practically mandatory, to connect to public Pages, should see member counts on Pages skyrocket, and the available real estate for partners and advertisers to further mine your public data even higher.

While I had liked my profile being Page-free, I have to admit the new linkage is much more visually appealing.