facebook’s invitations a violation of privacy

I don’t care much for marketing, be it guerrilla, word-of-mouth or viral or whatever. In every case, it’s always a been thief of my time. The reason I mention it is that I was a recent victim of the viral marketing time thief and worse a victim of privacy violation on facebook.

In one such viral campaign, a facebook friend was obviously tricked into spreading a company’s facebook event invite to a not so much “event” but a campaign poster. What an interesting media, I thought.

In response, my viral marketing antibodies engaged and I immediately began searching for the facebook feature to dismiss this annoyance, to erase it from my facebook existence. I was heavily disappointed to find that no matter what decision I make in response to this campaign invite, I will result in being a marketing statistic and worse suffer serious violation of my privacy.

Facebook has been battling the privacy daemon for quite sometime. The most recent have been related to security, and a “Groups” feature resulted in facebook users “talking to lots of people who aren’t on your Friends list at all”, again a serious violation of privacy. It was attempting to dismiss the marketing campaign invite on facebook that I realized yet another violation of privacy within facebook–this time within the event invite feature. The marketing firms are quite aware of this flaw.

Let me explain it. Recipient of a facebook event invitation has three options to respond to such a solicitation: “I’m Attending”, “Maybe”, and “No”. The recipient is of course not forced to answer the question; however, their name will remain in the “Awaiting Reply” bucket of names. Worse, no matter which option is selected, there exists a corresponding bucket, accessibly by anyone, including the solicitors, allowing them to view each persons response to the invite. We then have no choice, but to submit our unsolicited participation as a statistic to the marketing campaigns. This is a major flaw in the facebook event system!

Privacy settings should be granule enough to allow control of every piece of public facing piece of information. This includes my response to unsolicited event invites. Facebook, please fix this flaw.