Breast-Feeding "Lactivists" Revolt on Facebook
As Facebook becomes more popular, it's bound to have every move it makes more closely scrutinized. This week, the social networking site made a couple of such provocative moves, one of which will likely piss some people off, and another that is already drawing the ire of some Facebook members.
First up -- Facebook has decided to open members' public profiles to search engines such as Google and make it possible for anyone to find a profile without having to log in the site. On paper, this sounds like a major invasion of privacy, but remember, public profiles contain only a member's name, a friends list, and the option to poke (a mildly suggestive Facebook term for instant messaging someone) or add as someone as a friend.
Secondly, Facebook lets you know about this change the moment you log in, and makes it very easy to opt out completely. MySpace already lets you view public profiles without logging in, and professional social networking site Linkedin is searchable via Google and Yahoo, and a LinkedIn member's profile will often turn up early in search results.
The other move this week that has already stirred up some backlash from the Facebook community is the site's recent decision to start pulling down images of women breast feeding, since it considers these pictures to be "obscene content." This move has created a group of angry breast feeders and supporters who call themselves -- semi-wittily -- 'lactivists.' Some of these protesters have complained about the obscenity label and have said that since they don't show nipple, the photos aren't obscene.
The lactivists have created a group on Facebook that has already garnered 7,000 members, so it's only a matter of time before they cave on that one.
Considering the recent anti-Wal-Mart action and anti-HSBC protests that students recently staged online, it looks like Facebook is increasingly as much a site for social unrest as it is for social networking.
From Tech Digest and Tech Crunch
- Students Stage Virtual Protest on Facebook
- Wal-Mart Woos College Kids on Facebook
- MySpace Users Turn on Founder