About half an hour ago I bought tickets to see No Country for Old Men using fandango.com. Later I logged into Facebook.com (for which I use a different email ID and password) and saw a new entry on my news "mini-feed." It said, "Nick bought No Country for Old Men on Fandango." What? The Fandango purchase had absolutely nothing to do with Facebook; there was zero visible overlap. Has Facebook been signing agreements with online commerce companies so that whenever I make any sort of online purchase -- or sign up for anything, or just do anything -- it'll show up on my Facebook page as advertising?
(If so, let me just take a moment to say that Fandango.com sucks. It's an incomplete and poorly run site with absurd "convenience charges." Don't buy from them.)
Also alarming is the apparent cross-pollination of information between Facebook and Fandango. The only data that Fandango has is my old AOL email address and my credit card (which Facebook doesn't have, unless I'm forgetting something). And I use a newer email address as a Facebook login. So how did the two companies know for sure that I'm the same person? Ominous. And perhaps kind of creepily admirable?
Facebook in general has been getting worse and worse. It used to be a streamlined and intuitive network; now it's messy, ugly, intrusive. All these applications that automatically send invitations (Do I want to take a movie quiz? Do I want to bite someone? Do I want to buy a pony?) are the Facebook version of panhandlers on the subway, and the lack of a capability to put absolute filters on the news feed means that you can't accept anyone's friend request without reading about everything they do. To the handful of strangers I've friended in the past, I apologize.
There are still uses for Facebook -- well, two: looking up people you like and looking up people you don't like -- but the signal-to-noise ratio just keeps getting nastier.