New Facebook Profile, Apps Want You To Share Everything You Have Ever Done, Ever

Does Facebook Want You To ShareMuch?

The new Facebook, unveiled by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the f8 Conference in San Francisco, just might remind you of an ex-girlfriend or ex-boyfriend you once had. You know that high school guy or gal who wanted to know every single thing about you? That ex who wanted to hear what you were eating, who you were with, where you were when you weren't where you said you were, and what you did with your day, and what about after that, and what about after that, and who your ex-lovers were, and whether they were pretty, and if you still talked to them, and did you think that you were in love with them back when you were together?

Everything, everything that you could possibly say about yourself on a daily basis, this ex needed to know; and now Facebook does, too.

Facebook's new profile and social sharing apps have taken the jealous lover's spirit of paranoia and desperate need for information and turned them into a user experience. Facebook does this through two huge new updates to the Facebook website: A Timeline profile that can display your entire personal history all the way back to your birth, and new Facebook social apps that want you to share everything you're doing at any given moment in time.

(This is unconfirmed, but I've also heard that when you log in to the new Facebook, "Every Breath You Take" will play in a loop until you sign out.)

These new features are incredibly appealing for the sentimental and social, yet undeniably "stalkerish" for the cynical and wary. Facebook doesn't even have to ask where you were and what you were doing and who you were with; it is going to get that information automatically, if you allow it to.

There is, for better or for worse, plenty of reason to stay in this relationship. First, there's the Timeline, the unifying thread of the new Facebook profile. When used to its full potential, it can transform "Facebook" into "Scrapbook": A beautiful and illuminating archive and interactive document of your entire life, auto-populated with all of the material you've been uploading to Facebook all these years. At the f8 Conference where the new profile was announced, CEO Mark Zuckerberg also encouraged users to fill out the years before Facebook (yes, they exist!) with baby photos and class pictures to complete their stories.

Facebook member: This is your life! And your ex-girlfriends! And your NSFW photos from college! And a slew of other memories you would rather not be immediately visible with one scroll of the mouse-wheel!

While the new Timeline has your public history displayed for all of your life's judges to see, the new social apps take care of your present and bring the potential for Facebook stalking to a higher order of magnitude. Zuckerberg said that you can now "verb any noun" you wish on Facebook; meaning that you're no longer limited to "Liking" things, and that you can now "read a book" or "watch a movie" or "make a real friend" (well -- you can verb almost any noun, I guess).

These updates would appear in the Ticker, Zuckerberg assured everyone, so as to encourage high-volume posting of verb/noun combos without clogging up the News Feed. Of course, this says nothing about clogging up the Ticker: Facebook users will soon be able to update their statuses constantly, and I personally look forward to flooding my friends' Facebooks with essential, second-by-second updates to my life like:

Jason O. Gilbert took a breath.
Jason O. Gilbert took a breath.
Jason O. Gilbert took a breath.
Jason O. Gilbert took a breath.
Jason O. Gilbert took a breath.
Jason O. Gilbert took a breath.

Yes, Zuckerberg's ideal Facebook would be one on which everyone was sharing everything they were doing: He became strangely excited at the prospect of being able to look back on every meal he had eaten, every exercise path he had run, every song he had listened to and every show that he had watched over a year's time.

Now that music (Spotify, Rhapsody), movie (Netflix, Hulu), newspaper (The Washington Post, Huffington Post) and games sites are totally integrated into Facebook, sharing all of your listening, viewing, reading and playing information with Facebook could become second-nature.Mashable reported that Facebook will only have to ask your permission once when you use one of its new apps; after that, all of your activity on these websites and platforms goes straight into the Facebook Stalk-O-Matic 9000.

This is not to say that Facebook has any malicious or evil intent for all of this data; just that, if it wanted to be malicious or evil, it really, really could be.

There is a big upside to the new Facebook. The new profile looks incredible, far more beautiful than it has ever been before; sharing activities, interests and locations on Facebook has never made this much sense; and the idea that all media consumption could be done from one location on the Internet, with the opportunity to do so in real-time with friends is awesomely exciting -- Zuckerberg was right to visibly geek out on-stage as he made his presentation.

Yet as these apps roll out -- as Spotify, and Netflix, and Hulu and all of the news sites and radio players and video services of the world race to make themselves "frictionless" apps -- I can't help but hum that familiar tune about undercover surveillance by The Police in my head.

Every move you make, every smile you fake, every breath you take -- Jason O. Gilbert took a breath, Jason O. Gilbert took a breath -- Facebook will be watching you.

Welcome back to high school.


Popular in the Community


What's Hot