Writing by James

Articles and opinions on technology, social media and innovation

Scribd – the wrong way to use Facebook personalisation – an update

6 Comments

Back in June I discovered that ‘Social Reading’ site Scribd had been using Facebook to personalise my user experience, but in all the wrong ways.

It’s three month’s on and I was reintroduced to the subject through a tweet from Laurence Buchanan (below). It seemed that Scribd wasn’t the only site in Facebook’s Instant Personalisation program. Rotten Tomatoes also takes the same approach. You can find out more at Techcrunch about the initial partnership.

To check the veracity of the claims, I visited the Rotten Tomatoes site. Without logging in or creating an account (this will become important in a moment) I did see my friends movie likes and dislikes. Imagine my surprise when, upon visiting the application settings page in Facebook, I was greeted with the following.

Rotten Tomatoes application setting in Facebook

I really don’t remember giving them permission to do anything. Not good.

As a result I decided to look a little further into the Instant Personalisation program.

Is this as far as it goes?

Instant Personalisation launched in 2010 with eight partners in tow. The eight were:

  1. Scribd
  2. Bing
  3. TripAdvisor
  4. Clicker
  5. Rotten Tomatoes
  6. Docs.com
  7. Pandora
  8. Yelp

A year on, I though it might be good to see how things had worked out for them.

Scribd

Hmmm…. I think we know about this one.

Bing

There was much fanfare about the launch, but as of today, I don’t get any Facebook personalisation. I can find the ‘Social Search‘ page, but when you try to connect to it, I get the following message:

Bing and Facebook - not working right now

Maybe it’s a UK thing, but I’ll take that as a ‘not working out right now…’

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor - home page menu

I can sign in with Facebook on TripAdvisor, but there’s no ‘instant personalisation’ going on as far as I can see. Another one that hasn’t worked out.

Clicker

Clicker - home page menu

Again, I can log in with my Facebook account, which all seems pretty sensible, but there’s no personalisation on accessing the home page. Scratch that one.

Rotten Tomatoes

Yep, we know about this too.

Docs.com

Docs.com - home page menu

At Microsoft’s Docs.com site, there’s a Social Plugin displaying activity from the Docs.com Facebook page and the ability to log in via Facebook Connect. No instant personalisation though, maybe it’s catching.

Pandora

Sorry, I can’t check this one, as it’s US-only. If someone could give me an update I’d be happy to publish it.

Yelp

Yelp - home page menu

Wow! This is a good one. At Yelp it seems that Facebook never existed. Not only is there no mention of Facebook on their home page, but when you try to create an account there’s no option to use your Facebook account. That’s a quick turnaround: launch partner to estranged relative in just 12 months.

6 out of 8 isn’t bad

So it looks as if the majority of the launch partners have seen sense. I have to say that I’m glad. I’ve got nothing against using my Facebook credentials to create a more social experience on the web, but it has to be my choice, not some faceless organisation’s.

Maybe it’s time Facebook updated the Instant Personalisation page at http://www.facebook.com/instantpersonalization/.

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Author: James Gardner

I'm a digital technology strategist working in the pharmaceutical industry in the UK. This blog contains my views and opinion on technology, innovation and marketing, and do not necessarily represent the views of my employers.

6 thoughts on “Scribd – the wrong way to use Facebook personalisation – an update

  1. Pingback: Conexão TE » Blog Archive

  2. Pingback: Scribd – mais visibilidade para seus documentos « Blog do Enio de Aragon

  3. It gets worse with Rotten Tomatoes. Not only did I not give permission, I actively selected ‘Don’t share’ but it made no difference. When I looked at my facebook settings it said I had given them permission. Absolutely disgusting. Is it even legal?

    Paul

    • I’m not sure Paul. If you selected not to share your details and they still did then it may be worth following up with them. At the very least you should check their data policy. I’ve half a mind to check it out a little further myself.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing your experience.

      Cheers,
      James

  4. Pingback: Scribd – the wrong way to use Facebook personalisation « Writing by James

  5. Pingback: Writing by James – The Top 5 Most Popular Posts of 2013 | Writing by James

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