Facebook is just one of those brands that regardless of what new product it unveils, somebody is bound to think that Facebook is over and that users all over the world will soon wise up and delete their 800 million accounts. Those of us who do Facebook marketing, however, know better. We’ve seen the complaints since Facebook’s inception — that the site exploits users’ privacy while giving their information to marketers, for one. Now Facebook’s “frictionless sharing,” which was released in September, is the latest Facebook product to tick off marketers and average Joes alike.
Frictionless sharing (an ironic name considering the amount of feathers that have been ruffled thus far) is an application for Facebook which, upon initial user approval, allows friends to see what articles you’ve read and music you’ve listened to. If you’ve noticed blurbs like “Monica just read ‘Beyonce worried baby secret would be revealed'” at the top of your news feed, you’ve seen frictionless in action already. The problem with this annoying yet at times comical over-share? Critics like Molly Wood of CNET say the one-time inconvenience could spell a lifetime of Internet issues.
“In search of ‘frictionless’ sharing, Facebook is putting up a barrier to entry on items your friends want you to see — that is, they’re creating friction,” Wood writes. “Even if it’s just a one-time inconvenience, any barrier to sharing breaks sharing. The barriers will keep popping up as more content publishers create social apps that have to be authorized before you can view their content. For every five people who authorize an app, I’d guess five will turn away, and eventually get annoyed enough to stop clicking links at all, and maybe eventually annoyed enough to stop visiting Facebook so often, and go searching for somewhere easier and less invasive to simply post a link and have fun with your friends.
“Sharing is the key to social networking,” she continues. “It’s the underlying religion that makes the whole thing work. ‘Viral’ is the magic that every marketing exec is trying to replicate, and Facebook is seriously messing with that formula. Plus, it’s killing the possibility of viral hits by generating such an overwhelming flood of mundane shares.”
Others say frictionless is damaging to newspaper sites and original online news sites. Personally, we find the app to be a bit bombastic. If several of your Facebook friends have read the same thing but at different times, the article will continue to show up in your feed. It’s information overkill and drains the personalized, audience-specific sharing we love from Facebook.
But we want to know what you think. Is frictionless a bad idea? Do you even care what your friends are reading or listening to?