No friends of Facebook

After all we’ve seen out of Capitol Hill in recent days, it’s hardly encouraging to see four senators, including Michael Bennet of Colorado, weighing in on Facebook.

Facebook, for those who don’t have a page — and yes, The Daily Sentinel has a Facebook page — is a pioneer in the social media that has formed around the Web. Some 400 million people have pages on Facebook.  Users can decide the level of access they want to allow people who identify themselves as “friends” on Facebook.

That’s apparently not enough for the senators, who say Facebook should make it easier for its users to protect their privacy as the site opens a way for them to share interests and information.

Facebook last week introduced three new features, including one its calls “social plug-ins.” The feature interfaces with more than 75 websites. Users can “like” or “recommend” items or topics to friends and their names and pictures are then displayed on the website for other Facebook friends to see.

Bennet’s point is that Facebook users have to opt out of the plug-in if they choose to use it.

The key phrase of course, is: “if they choose to use it.”

The plug-in doesn’t work until the user plugs in. In other words, a user has to make a conscious decision.

Sens. Bennet, Charles Schumer of New York, Mark Begich of Alaska and Al Franken of Minnesota, all Democrats, seem to have their work cut out for them without trying to shepherd the 400 million users of Facebook. We’d like to see Sen. Bennet focus more on Colorado and less on Facebook.


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