Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why do social networking sites hide the logout button?

Facebook (and some other sites I use) recently "updated" its user interface. One of the changes was to "hide" the "Logout" button under a new dropdown menu. (A couple other sites have either done the same or relegated the logout button to another page entirely.) This decision is deliberate. Facebook wants as much of your online behavioral data as they can get. And governments want that data, too.

By hiding the logout feature, you're more apt to simply close the browser or tab, but effectively remaining logged into a service. This allows Facebook to openly track your online whereabouts via advertising partnerships that all report back to Facebook (a couple years ago, they called this "BEACON.")

A potential solution is Ipredator, an encrypted proxy from The Pirate Bay. I'm not sure how long this service will remain viable (the U.S. could simply shut off access at whimsy), but for the short term, it's an easy way to remove yourself from the trackable net. This is probably a good thing.


Anonymous said...

Not only that, they made it much harder to remove connections to friends and groups too, and even play on guilt for good measure.

Previously one could just "un-friend" people by pushing the X button in the friend list. Now, one has to browse through the friend's profile page and press a tiny link at the bottom of it. When this is done, "Are you sure you no longer want X to be your friend?" along with a big photo of him/her is displayed.

I guess being able to show off a high average friend count per user is splendid for them when it comes to selling ad space and so on.

Seeing how much emotional crap they have started to throw into the mix, I opted for deleting my account completely.