Today on the ides of November, Facebook has rolled out a new platform for messaging that seeks to compete with gmail, everyone's favorite en vogue email platform with 7519.735045 megabytes (and counting) of free storage. Here's why you should be worried:
On The Facebook Blog this morning Joel Seligstein gave a sappy account of how this new framework will allow for family bonding to strengthen the American foundation:
"Imagine the kind of family you might see in a modern American sitcom:loving parents trying to maintain a family unit with a teenager engrossed in text messaging, a college-aged child who is always chatting online, and various wacky relatives who spend their days sending "funny" emails to the family."
The evolution of "Messages" through Facebook will allow for a multi-platformed interface that allows the use to dictate how to conduct communication--via SMS, chat, email, or Messages--based on whether you want to write your teenage cousin, say, who only responses to texts and your grandmama who only uses email. Every Facebook user who wants one will be given an @facebook.com address that the company has modeled to resemble chat to make the conversations more interactive. In fact, Mark Zuckerberg doesn't think email will be the dominant communication mechanism of the future--envisioning more of versatile platform that condenses all forms of communication into one unit and allows users and recipients to customize their preferred methods of contact.
Besides this one-stop-shop feature, another advantage of the new system appears in that your Messages Inbox will contain missives just from friends and their friends; other messages such as bills and bank statements will go to an "Other" folder.
Which brings up the issue we have the most trouble with in this new platform: privacy.
Do we really want Facebook, which has had its fair share of security breaches and slackened privacy settings, in control of our bank statements? Gmail has ads that correspond to what is written--frightening enough for us to fathom. Yet, giving Facebook access to personal and highly delicate emails opens a Pandora's box given the privacy problems. Gmail may troll through message to enhance targeted advertising, but Facebook has a vested commitment to exporting user data and information.
Whatever your opinion and cost benefit analysis of convenience vs. relinquished personal privacy, we urge you to tread carefully. See an educational video below that reveals some insight into the reasons for Facebook's revamped messaging system:
[Image via Facebook]