The lock-in of Facebook takes away our freedom

A pretty walled garden

A pretty walled garden

Facebook is quickly becoming the biggest platform in the world. I have a serious problem with that. I don’t mind Facebook becoming a successful and profitable platform. I do mind that their current scale lets them dictate what the web will look like for all of us.

Facebook is getting its tentacles into areas far beyond their original focus, connecting people. Instead of a walled garden site they are quickly becoming a walled garden platform. They are now big enough to compete with anything on the outside. Either by copying (Friendfeed) or just plainly buying any possible successful innovative company (did I mention Friendfeed already?). It’s like a big black hole sucking everything in, and never letting it out again.

And now there is the possibility of a Facebook browser (mentioned here, and here). It’s a smart move backed by some very powerful and smart people. Building a new browser is hard, but the real hard part is getting it distributed. And that is where Facebook can now play a big role. It’s got some 300M users, becoming a possible powerful distribution source for new services. A browser, tailored to the needs of Facebook users would make sense. It would likely distribute fast across the Facebook platform.

I’m troubled by the idea that 300M+ users in the near future might not realize there is a web beyond that of Facebook. I do not like the idea of one huge Facebook dictating to us what the web will look like. It’s the biggest walled garden out there, and there seems no stopping its growth.

I think that is the main reason why people tend to find Google more sympathetic than Facebook. While Facebook tries to redefine the web to its own platform, forcing both users and developers in, never letting them out. Google adds value to each part of the web, and in most cases tries to open it up as far as it can for its users and developers. Google’s walled garden is the planet and beyond, Facebook is the walled garden, Big difference.

Facebook has become a much more powerful and penetrated platform than AOL ever was. But I hope this growth will stop. I don’t want a single company to decide for me what the web looks like. I want an ecology of companies competing and cooperating, making our experience better and better. Without asking us to give up the one thing that is precious to us. Our freedom.

Facebook is the biggest walled garden there is. I think it’s big enough already, what do you think?


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14 Responses to The lock-in of Facebook takes away our freedom

  1. Facebook is taking over the world. At the current rate of growth (around 8% per month) I think it’s going to be a real competitor for Google.

    Do you remember when AOL was all the buzz? People thought the whole web was inside of AOL. That’s the same thing we’re seeing here on facebook.

    Here’s the deal, facebook is an even bigger threat than most people think becuase of all the information they have on us. They have all our likes, dislikes, and interactions logged. Talk about a threat. They know more about us than we know about ourselves at this point.

    Google better watch out, because all the data that facebook has on us will make ads inside of facebook more effective than ads on Google.

    They are also opening up more of their platform to take over in search rankings too. Will the future of the web be inside of facebook? I’m afraid it might be.

  2. Obviously this is a conceirn. The only thing anyone can do against it is to express this conceirn to facebook users over and over again and stop using facebook altogether.
    I don’t use facebook and don’t feel I would need to. I don’t feel it would add to my private live and I know it wouldn’t add to my professional live as my entire professional network is on LinkedIn any way.

  3. Todd says:

    I think that without focus, without a social object to rally around, Facebook will meet the same fate as FireFly, Friendster, Myspace.

    See the 3:42 minute mark of Jyri Engeström’s presentation:

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  5. Ru Viljoen says:

    Great post, I agree one hundred percent and I always tell people to upload photos, videos other personal info to niche sites or a personal weblog, it makes it too difficult to leave otherwise.

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  7. Zoltan Toth says:

    I have been making worries about Facebook in the last year, too. Thanks Alexander for sharing this. I fully agree with Jonathan, but once it can get to the point that you are not able to delete your Facebook account. At one point, you are going to be trapped. The same happened to me, it is the only platform to keep in touch with a big amount of “friends” living in other countries.

    I believe the best you can do is:
    1. Change your name
    2. Detag/Delete your photos
    3. Do not share/comment anything


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  11. shirley says:

    I recently joined facebook. Do not like the whole concept at all and would like to get out of it. Do no know how.

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