Push Button to Stalk *insert cutie’s name here*

25 Sep

What if Facebook makes stalking “legal”?

Remember my post about Google bringing out stalking in the real world? Well, Facebook stalking stays online. But this time, it’s going to be more legit.

Facebook is apparently testing a ‘stalker button’. This subscription feature allows users to receive alerts whenever a certain person does something on Facebook. You’ll get notifications in your notifications bar whenever your “stalkee” posts a new status or uploads new content.

This feature might be useful for those who want to be constantly updated about their friends’ and family’s activities. Especially when you have a lot of Facebook friends already, it’s hard to sift through that mixture of nice+ugly things called the News Feed.

But when put in the hands of an envious friend, a jealous ex (or a girlfriend jealous of the ex for that matter *evil laugh*), or an insecure boss, the ‘stalker button’ may be more of a weapon than a tool. Always knowing what someone is doing abolishes whatever kind of relationship it is that you have with that person, and the boundaries that comes with that relationship. Of course, I know all of us has his or her own stalker moments every once in a while. But to receive notifications effortlessly? That’s just too easy. And what’s scarier is that it somehow gives stalking a more innocent face – I’m just subscribed to his/her updates blah blah blah.

When put in the hands of corporations, the ‘stalker button’ is more of an information gathering tool. By just subscribing to people’s profiles, they can now monitor what consumers are doing and when they do it. It will save companies millions of pesos (or dollars, for that matter) in consumer research and insight work.

But the question is, is this ethical? Facebook has yet to come up with specific terms for this feature, but I hope that they won’t overlook privacy along the way.

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10 Responses to “Push Button to Stalk *insert cutie’s name here*”

  1. dreamsanddoodles September 27, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    Hi Angel!

    I found this new application quite interesting. However, I don’t think that the word “stalking” does not fit the application at a certain point. I remember one lecture where sir Barry told us that whatever you post on the internet can be seen by anyone. If a person posts something on his/her page, then he/she already gives people the consent to view it.

    Maybe what Facebook should do is rename this application to favorites or something. I think the purpose of the application is not to stalk people but to get updates of the people who are important to you. Multiply already solved this problem by using the menu bar on the dashboard. In multiply, you can monitor posts of a certain friend by including him/her on a “favorites” list. On list, you can see how many times the person posted something new.

    I think this kind of application will really be helpful to those who already have so many contacts on Facebook. I hope that Facebook develops this and release it soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. littlebluedreamer September 30, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

    Hello Angel!

    You’re the victim, err, recipient of my very first comment! ๐Ÿ˜€

    I have two things I want to say regarding your post.
    1. Stalking does not make you immune to the act. While you are looking at somebody else, you are also being watched by someone or some organization. It is not exclusive to you. We are always focused on stalking someone, following their every move but have we ever wondered that as we follow other people, we are also being followed? And that person is being followed too and so on. We should be reminded to notice what’s behind us while we are busy looking at what’s in front.

    2. We should not always think of how beneficial or detrimental new things are for yourself. Instead, we should also think how other people or organization will use it to their advantage and disadvantage. When we discover something new, we always think of how it will help us, how we can use it and how it can lead to our fall. It’s always the “me” perspective. What we should be aware of is how our new discovery will be utilized by other business and people that would, in turn, affect us. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’ve loved stalking ever since I learned how to. I already mentioned that in one of my blog post, in I Googled you, I guess. Stalking is one of the awesome-est things the Internet has to offer. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. marievalbuena September 30, 2010 at 9:17 pm #

    Wow, never encountered this news before and it certainly feels a bit disconcerting. I think that Facebook can never really achieve a pure “stalking mode.” There would be too many laws on privacy it has to hurdle, don’t you think? Perhaps a more feasible feature would be something like following people as in twitter. Approval from the Facebook account user would have to be paramount on this feature – which isn’t really stalking, but still. This way, it could still be ethical to “stalk” on Facebook.

  4. niccy October 2, 2010 at 7:15 pm #

    This feature would certainly put a lot of awkwardness on the idea of stalking but I guess it’s okay if both parties know- the stalkee knows who’s stalking him/her while the stalker get to stalk.

    This is the only setup that would be feasible for me- or for that matter, be ethical. At least if you are aware that your stalkee will be informed of your act of stalking then that would make you ask yourself if it’s worth the trouble.

  5. chocostraws October 2, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    I want to try this feature. haha.

    On your perspective about organizations using this, I think it would be hard for them if they subscribe to every consumers profile because that would make them open to a lot of random stuff that people do Online. For organizations to really maximize this tool, they must have keener sifting abilities to know what is and what is not relevant in all those information that they wil get.

    And this is where we get in. They have to get tons of OrCom abilities for this, and so, they have to get OrCom people like us.

  6. Comm Detective Eric Wong October 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    I have to try this one myself. Haha. I do think however that Facebook should stick to their privacy policy. In the first place, what “stalkers” can see is limited to what the “stalkee” allows to be seen. In short, if you think you’re being stalked on Facebook, change your privacy settings.

  7. Marj Casal October 2, 2010 at 8:45 pm #

    I guess there’s no need to put a stalk button because we can make use of the filters (which exactly serves that purpose) or the list, like Ellis’ said, that makes it easier for us to check on the updates of a specific group of people such as our family or friends. Putting a stalk button, I guess will drive away some of its users because that would really suck. I might leave Facebook if they try to do this (not that I assume someone stalks me. haha!)

  8. Grace October 2, 2010 at 10:05 pm #

    A stalking app? Whew! I’m not sure I’m gonna like that. I’m fine with being stalked on Twitter but not on Facebook where I talk to friends and post more stuff like pictures and videos. When people can start stalking me on Facebook, I just might start using it less.
    You make a good point about its potential use for corporations. It may be good for market research.
    I don’t want anyone using it on me though. :/

  9. commbustiblethoughts October 2, 2010 at 11:15 pm #

    This will be AWESOME if a person has nothing to hide. But for most of us, err, this stalking feature might bring more damage to relationships. We all have family on Facebook, and parents are more likely to use this application to constantly follow the activities of their children. For children like us, that’s just scary. We lose our privacy, and we are limited to what we can do online. Say goodbye to photo albums containing crazy, wild night pics, or the emotional status messages, or whatever. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I agree with Ate Nix’s proposal. This application -should it be developed- must incorporate a sort of agreement between the “stalker” and the “stalkee”. It’s just like saying that the stalker asks permission from the stalkee to be constantly receiving updates from the latter’s activities. If the stalkee approves of it, then there’s no reason to hide. ๐Ÿ™‚ In that case, the terms “stalker” and “stalkee” no longer apply. Maybe we can call them “paparazzi” and “celebrity” instead. HAHA. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. athousandfootnotes October 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm #

    I do agree that each of us has our own stalker moments once in a while (well, am quite guilty of it. Haha. Quite). Even organizations stalk. They have their tools and means. But with respect to the use of the โ€˜stalker buttonโ€™ by corporations, I think Facebook has first to be clear with its terms. As you said, it will definitely save businesses the resources that they traditionally allot to doing extensive consumer researches. If it will make them cut across a long list of expenditures, what company would not want to be an online stalker?

    But we have to consider the side of the stalkee. How would the consumers feel when they get to know that they are being monitored in their every single behaviour? This would greatly affect the brand-consumer ties. I think what we need to do at the moment is to recognize the fact that boundaries exist in every relationship and it is a good practice to respect such.

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