Facebook after wikipedia next?

Although most of the world is enamored with Facebook’s Foursquare killer, the Places system, a more subtle program has launched that causes me a bit more trouble. The new Community pages appear to be auto-generated pages created from scraped content for organizations, contexts and causes.

Why? I don’t know.  If you clicked the above link, you’ve no doubt realized how I discovered this new project.   They scraped wikipedia to create a new page for an organization that has been on facebook for a long time.  JUCCCE had an old school group, and dutifully upgraded to the new Organization Page when we were told.  When you search, it looks like this:Facebookforblog

Whatever bot is running to create these pages, it’s not that bright, and it isn’t tightly controlled by a human: my facebook profile says nothing on purpose, and facebook really wants me to ‘like’ a different auto generated page:
In the days since I discovered this page, a new header has appeared:

“Our goal is to make this Community Page the best collection of shared knowledge on this topic. If you have a passion for JUCCCE, sign up and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for your help. You can also get us started by suggesting the Official Facebook Page.”

Facebook is a gated community, promising some sort of environment where co-eds and their parents alike feel comfortable sharing their pictures & other personal information.  Facebook has suffered backlash about privacy over the years, but for the most part users willingly submit themselves to the Facebook domed web, which is, by design, closed off from the rest of the web.

This is where the ‘Community pages’ strike me as unsavory.

  1. These pages are being automatically generated for organizations that are tying to play by facebook’s rules of engagement and already have a Facebook page (or more than one)
  2. I threw a few random brands, famous people and mid-sized companies with public profiles (FMCG/Style goods) into the search bar.  Greenpeace had one of these auto-generated pages, Pepsi and Nike did not. So these pages are aimed at organizations too small to raise a fuss (or be an advertiser)
  3. I suspect the goal here is to provide a forum by which people may align their political and social opinions and aspirations with their buying preferences and favorite sports teams, all for the ultimate purpose of filling out users’ social graph.
  4. They’re scraping their starter content from Wikipedia, which isn’t in violation of the letter of Wikipedia’s license, but does seem to break the spirit.
  5. there are no clear guidelines from Facebook about how these new pages will be governed, or who will be chosen to moderate these ‘community resources’. I’m not worried that the JUCCCE community page will get over-run with negative information about JUCCCE, but as a facebook-wide feature? There’s a lot of haters out there

It sure is hard to compete with Facebook. Why’s it so hard to make Facebook play nice?

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