To “Like” Likester or not to “Like” Likester—that is the Question

  Likester—the self-proclaimed global popularity engine—is yet another utility designed to work with FaceBook. Google for reviews of  Likester, and you will find a lot of Likester enthusiasts, including repeated reports of Likester predicting winners of Ameican Idol.

There is a dark side of Likester.

The About_Likester page blithly says “When you sign up with Likester, you contribute your anonymous data (what you like), in exchange for seeing what everyone else likes. What you have “liked” is publicly available information anyway, so you’re not giving up any privacy to play here.” It’s one thing to have “likes” spread around one’s social network. The impact of compiling and reporting those “likes” is dramatically different—and can have consequences the end user never imagined.

I do not like apparent self-contradiction. While the About_Likester page says that “Once you join (without filling out any forms, I might add),”  the Privacy Policy says “At several places on our Website or in connection with our services, we collect certain information you voluntarily provide to us that may contain personally identifiable information. For example, our customer registration page requests your full name, email address, company, and postal address.”

I do not like tracking people who have not explicitly given their permission to a company that does not transparently explain how long they will keep a user’s location(s). Likester has yet to demonstrate a genuine business case for creating a “a heat map that shows you where the Likesters live” other than “We think this is really neat. We’re pretty geeky like that. ” The only people who would buy an attitude like that are under thirteen years old—the ones about whom their own privacy policy says “OtherPage’s services and the Website are not intended for and may not be used by children under the age of 13. ”

Sorry, Likester, but I think I’ll go read Shakespeare’s Hamlet instead.


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