trenchant.org

by adam mathes
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Requiring Too Much ID

This week Airtime was released.

The idea of Airtime – “Create shared experiences with people you know, and people you want to know.” – seems appealing in the 90’s cyber-utopian sense.

But the actual reality of a video chat service that requires your Facebook credentials to be used seems a bit more dystopian.

After agreeing to give Airtime unfettered access to my profile just to see the application (in order to write this, primarily) and seeing it was, basically, an instant messaging client focused on video using my Facebook friends list, I lost interest and removed all the permissions.

I understand the concept that Facebook logins will lead to better behavior, and the product advantages of having a social graph from the start, but the web has not gotten to be a more civil place due to Facebook authentication, for example, in comments sections or web sites.

Do I really have any idea how this service will use all this data about me? Or share it with strangers? Or my friends? Or tie it back to Facebook?

Chatroullete with Facebook is a night club where you have to show a passport, business card, and high school yearbook to get in.

I don’t even trust Facebook, let alone a brand new company and site I have no relationship with.

As users increasingly distrust and dislike Facebook putting a Facebook authentication barrier to even trying a service may drive many users – especially the savvy early adopters so critical in early days – away from a service.

So as Facebook launched its long rumored application store my view is this is not a place you want your app to end up.

You would not shop at a store that asked you for identification to walk in the door.

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