Facebook To Open Up To Third Party Widgets

    May 21, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Social networking site Facebook is about to make things interesting. The company is expected to announce this week that it will open up its site to developers and Web services companies who want to connect on a more intimate basis with Facebook users.

The news comes courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, whose Vauhini Vara says Facebook will announce the details officially on Thursday.

There will be no revenue sharing, just an opportunity for companies to connect with Facebook users’ network of friends. If enough companies take advantage of it, Facebook could find itself beyond social network status, and square into portal territory.

The WSJ gives an example of an online retailer that builds a widget within Facebook that recommends books and music according to users’ stated preferences within their network of friends.

Though Facebook has allowed companies to set up pages on its site, this new offering is the first time companies would be allowed to directly interact with the users.

The question remaining then, clearly, is in regard to privacy. We could assume that Facebook has the foresight to address the type of information it will provide third-party users, and promise protection of sensitive information.

Deep Jive Interests blogger Tony Hung, explores a rather disturbing possibility:

What I do wonder is if any of them will *also* try collect Facebook data as well for their own databases and lists; whether this could be done sneakily as part of some automated scripts, or old school squeeze page styles….

But what I do mean is, say, amongst people who are recommending books at a bookstore, if that bookstore, for example, could collect the profiles of people who are sharing and having that conversation.

As Mike Sachoff has reported, social network user data is highly valuable to marketers, and plans to peddle it are already in the works.