I’m afraid to click any links on Facebook these days.
No, it’s got nothing to do with the spam attack and the flood of nasty images making their way into news feeds all last week. Instead, it’s because the slow spread of Facebook’s Open Graph scheme is totally ruining sharing.
I know you’ve seen this at the top of your news feed: a list of stories your friends have been reading. Or, simply, a single post with a great headline leading to a story that you’d really like to read. So you click it, because your friend shared it, and you really want to read it. And instead of the story, you get this:
I want to read a story, not install an app.(Credit: Molly Wood, CNET)
If your friends are using an app like The Guardian or The Washington Post’s new Social Reader, you’ll get an intercept asking you to authorize the original site’s app so that you can read the story. And, of course, so that every story you read will start being shared automatically on Facebook, thanks to the magic of Open Graph!
Now, it’s tempting to blame your friends for installing or using these apps in the first place, and the publications like the Post that are developing them and insisting you view their stories that way. But don’t be distracted. Facebook is to blame here. These apps and their auto-sharing (and intercepts) are all part of the Open Graph master plan.
When Facebook unveiled Open Graph at the f8 developer conference this year, it was clear that the goal of the initiative is to quantify just about everything you do on Facebook. All your shares are automatic, and both Facebook and publishers can track them, use them to develop personalization tools, and apply some kind of metric to them. More