After all, as he rightly points out, false information is a form of privacy. If I go by the pseudonym Jesse West on all my social networks (ok, it's my stripper name), then people I meet in the real world can't Google the public record of my indiscretions. Until I reveal my online persona, my virtual activities are, for the most part, hidden from you.
And, from the perspective of Facebook, there should be no issue with this. My friend's social network profile is exclusively for personal use. It's his only account and he connects only with people he knows well. Unfortunately for him, he's in violation of Facebook's Terms of Service, which state specifically, "You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook."
To make things more difficult, Facebook's new profile settings require you to connect to the Fan Pages they've created for your hometown, your employer, and the rest of your personal information. If you don't connect, those fields will be left blank. This means the ASCII mouse has now become a fan of the TV station listed as its employer, and is no longer allowed to list its residence as "Drain pipe, New York City."
Want to play by your own rules? You can't. Want to disconnect entirely? Possible, but challenging. After reading this post by Marshall Kirkpatrick, I tried to deactivate my own account. "Are you sure you want to deactivate your account?" asked FB solicitously. "Your 374 friends will no longer be able to keep in touch with you. Michael will miss you."
That quote is verbatim, and, for the record, Michael is my husband. I'm pretty sure he will still find a way to keep in touch with me.
It's increasingly evident that the multitudes have given up on any semblance of privacy. I concur with Alex Iskold of Read/Write Web, who says, "Personally, I am skeptical that the average Facebook user is going to care all that much. People are notoriously naive about being watched on the Web, and this is likely to be no exception. More likely than not, Facebook users will enjoy the personalization aspects of the new platform and won't think much about it - until Facebook starts openly targeting them." And I don't really see an issue with this. If people don't care enough about their privacy to protect it, then there really isn't much of an issue at all.
What we're seeing, though, is that even people who take their own privacy quite seriously, and who are willing to go to some lengths to protect it, are being forced to comply with a disrespectful system.
Ben Popper on BNet made an apt comparison between the Open Graph and Google's original PageRank system, pointing out that the social connection has effectively replaced the link for relevance -- which is why Google should be scared: "In an Open Graph world, users will turn to their social connections to figure out where to shop, what to watch and when to travel." But given the hundreds of millions of people who are gleefully proffering up their likes and dislikes at Zuckerberg's altar, do we really need to force compliance in order to make this Graph searchable?