Amy writes about how Coke is at least making the right noises about respecting users wishes in relation to Facebook Beacon. Dave thinks Facebook was deliberately testing the waters. Of course leaking to test or dilute reaction has been a political tool for eons.
I’ve heard Roger Law, one of the creators of the famed satirical 1980′s TV puppet show Spitting Image talk about pushing the envelope of what is acceptable socially. He said that at that time in the UK, it was much more difficult to publish questionable material in the print media, whereas censorship was less strict and it was easier to get away with more on TV. He wondered if a reason might be that TV was taken less seriously. He added that if your show was successful, you could then be more audacious next time, even from week to week. I thought that was really interesting, and I’ve watched it happen since. The Chaser is an example; you couldn’t imagine them getting away with things like the APEC security breach or the Eulogy Song if they were new kids on the block. Think, too, how the excuser of the disastrous Lindsay fake political flyer, tried to palm it off as a ‘Chaser-style prank’ without understanding that tradition.
I guess the web is also somewhat differentiated from the older media with regard to pushing the boundaries of conventional feelings about privacy and social mores, and advertising within it is pushing the envelope in every which way it can, seeking new niches. I don’t want anything to do with Facebook’s advertising, and it is one of a number of reasons I remain somewhat aloof from FB. But I expect that what seems audacious today, the type of targeted advertising within social networks that Facebook (even if it has backtracked to an opt-in basis) has introduced, will become just like the furniture tomorrow, for better or worse. Chris Matyszczyk challengingly points out that this sits with a tradition, too.