Facebook rolled out a number of updates and a host of new features at its recent f8 developers conference. The changes to the newsfeed and the introduction of the timeline, in particular, have resulted in a userbacklash. Such is the level of fury (and resulting sarcasm) that a few tech sites have even gone as far as to let users know of workarounds so that things can go back to “normal”.
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The timeline furore largely overshadowed the announcement that Spotify and Facebook were teaming up in order to allow Facebook users to listen to their friends’ music while browsing their newsfeeds. This is part of the improved OpenGraph element which Facebook launched during F8.
The idea behind OpenGraph is to allow Facebook users to hear what their friends are listening to, see what their friends see and play games that their friends are currently playing by showing their activity in the ticker (located at the top right of the new layout).
The launch of the improved OpenGraph has caused a massive privacy uproar, especially as Mark Zuckerberg believes that “public is the new social norm”. Although Facebook’s privacy settings haven’t really changed, what has changed is how visible this data is. Take the Ticker for example: We can now see every single like, comment or addition from our friends; we’ll be able to see what games they’re playing, what music they’re listening to; and what apps they use. Now imagine I’m using a ‘porny’ app and displaying that in the Ticker every time I do — not the best scenario for my social media entity. Still, privacy settings are based on an individual level so it’s up to the user to ensure they’re safe.
Now, while all of this is deeply unsettling to the hardcore “old-school” Facebook user, a massive bet has been placed both on the acquisition of new users to Facebook via their partners and vice versa; and the increasing “stickiness” of the Facebook platform. One example of the increase in shared users is this interesting data from AppData which indicates that within 48 hours after the F8 announcement, Spotify increased its userbase by 1-million:
Facebook and its partners both benefit from the deal as the partners get access to Facebook’s massive user-base while Facebook makes it harder (and harder) for its users to sign out. This also has a massive effect for the media partner’s bottom lines as Spotify CEO, Daniel Elk said those who connect their Facebook accounts are twice as likely to become paying customers. In light of the OpenGraph privacy issues Daniel Elk has gone on to tweet that Spotify will be introducing a new desktop client which will allow users to opt out of displaying their listening information on Facebook’s Ticker.
Instead of moving between different platforms, Facebook is creating a “one-stop shop” similar to what Google+ is doing by bringing its disparate products under one social umbrella. This has the knock-on effect of making Facebook a lot stickier in the sense that users stay longer on the platform:
Google+ increased its userbase by 30% last week as it came out of “field trial” last week but gone are the days of boasting about numbers of users and how quickly Google managed to get users the information they wanted and off its platform. The new “it” word is “sticky” and how it applies to the users you have on your platform. As a repost to the oncoming F8 onslaught Google+ opened up its API to developers last week as well as offering the Hangouts API to third party developers.
As social media’s main aim is engagement it will be interesting to see what new innovations both Facebook and Google+ bring to the party in order to win over the sticky users.