Just because you live in Baltimore, that doesn’t mean you want to belong to a group whose only connection is that they all live in that city. Just because you hang your hat in the Lutheran church doesn’t mean you want to join a club of Lutherans. And for that matter, you may not want your Republican mother to know you “like” the ACLU.
And until last month, if you worked really hard at it, you could express those interests and commonalities without being automatically stuck in a group of people you don’t know. But Facebook has just made that impossible. Anything you list in your “Likes” and “Interests” now turns into a link to a page you may well have never visited – and turns you into a follower of that page listed on its site. The only way you can list an interest without linking to somebody’s page is to put it in your bio, where they still allow you to type without linking – for now, at least.
Here’s how Facebook describes the changes in the Facebook Blog:
Now, certain parts of your profile, including your current city, hometown, education and work, and likes and interests, will contain “connections.” Instead of just boring text, these connections are actually Pages, so your profile will become immediately more connected to the places, things and experiences that matter to you.
For another perspective, here’s how the very credible Electronic Frontier Foundation interpreted the changes
The issue with Facebook’s latest change is not that they force you to link your interests without permission, but rather that they remove an option to express yourself on the profile without links. As we noted, Facebook users now face a Hobson’s choice between the new Connections and no listed interests at all. As Facebook explains, “If you didn’t connect to any of the suggestions, the sections of your profile to which those suggestions corresponded will now be empty.”
Here are some links to excellent resources that can help you understand the issues and reclaim your privacy: