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September 24, 2011


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What does the ap do apart from letting people see what you read? Is its whole purpose to show people what you read? Because I'm not sure what else it might be good for, but it seems odd to write a concerned article that essentially says "If you use an ap designed to let people see what you're reading, as a consequence, people will be able to SEE WHAT YOU'RE READING!" Is the point not to opt in to a social experience whereby you share this information?

Phil Bradley

Yeah, I think you're rather missing the point Max, or I didn't explain myself clearly enough. The app is designed primarily for you to read news items. So that you can stay within Facebook but still read the Guardian. Second point - if I want to share what I'm reading, that should surely be my choice shouldn't it? And shouldn't I also be able to choose who I share that information with? Which bit of all of that didn't I make clear the first time around?

It could also be argued that while Facebook IS a social experience, you're in an environment where you don't necessarily show everyone what you're doing all the time, for various reasons. There has to be the element of choice in what you share and what you don't - if that wasn't the case you couldn't interact privately with people.

Of course, if you're happy doing that, it's cool, but other people have different views.


I can't find anything about the Guardian's, but the Washington Post one makes a big deal about being a thing that lets you share what you're reading and calls it a "social reader", not an "integrated reader" or something that doesn't imply that it's about being social. Quotes are littered all over the web with comments like this:

“The Washington Post Social Reader is a way for people to connect around the day’s latest happenings and discover real-time news with their friends on Facebook,” Donald Graham, chairman and CEO of The Washington Post Company says.

It is a social thing, for connecting, and discovering *with friends*. This is its entire point, so if you don't want your friends to discover what you read, don't want to share and connect and discover and be social, then there's no invasion of privacy, you just go and read the stuff on the Washington Post's own site instead.

Phil Bradley

Yes, of course you can still go and read the WP or the Guardian on their websites. However, the reason that they've got these new apps - with others from other companies to follow - is to keep people on the Facebook site. If it wasn't such a big deal they wouldn't have developed them. The point remains however - once you start using a resource like this sharing becomes obligatory, rather than by choice. The mere act of looking at a webpage triggers a response. That is a fundamental change in the concept of 'social' since you're not actively sharing, you're passively sharing.

If you're having problems finding out about the Guardian app can I suggest that you follow the link I've provided to their FAQ page which provides you with more information.

Vicky Ayech

So if you want to read an article you need to click to read on the newspaper direct, not via fb?

Phil Bradley

Vicky - there are two ways to do it. Go to the website and read the articles there, and not share anything with anyone unless you choose to. Stay within the Facebook garden and use the Guardian app and share with everyone by default. Oh, third choice is to go out and buy the thing, but no-one does that anymore. :)

orange county tech support

Facebook is quite safe. You can alter your privacy settings so only your friends can see your profile, and if you don't want some of your friends seeing everything, you can give them limited access to your profile.

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