Facebook Phones Home

Category: Mobile , Social-Networking

The long-rumored Facebook phone is finally here. Except it's not really a phone. It's YOUR phone, with a new face. But is it a friendly face, or another 'in your face' intrusive reach by Facebook into your privacy? Here's the scoop on Facebook Home, and your phone...

What is Facebook Home?

Mark Zuckerberg wants to be the annoying little brother who followed you everywhere when you were kids. You know, the one who was always in your face, getting in your way while trying to “help”... the one who memorized everything you did and spilled the most awkward parts to your parents and peers... the one you loved but wanted to strangle.

Of course, the founder and CEO of Facebook doesn’t see it that way. He figures that since 25 per cent of online time is spent on Facebook or its subsidiary, Instagram, then it makes perfect sense for Facebook to take over your Android smartphone’s home screen. That is what the company’s new app, Facebook Home, does. Hello, little brother... or is it Big Brother?

Facebook Home replaces your palm-sized desktop of handy apps and icons with a stream of Facebook and Instagram content. Photos of what your Facebook friends are doing stream by constantly. Status updates and messages of dubious importance roll by. And, of course, there will be ads.
Facebook Home App

It’s very convenient if you bought a smartphone in order to “like” things. But that means other apps like your web browser, Gmail, Maps, Twitter, and Angry Birds will take a back seat. They are still accessible but you have to work a little harder to get past Facebook Home and use them.

Already, the privacy police are speculating about what Facebook Home may or may not be doing in the background. They start with the obvious truism that Mark Zuckerberg wants to know exactly what you’re doing every minute of every day, so that he can use that knowledge to increase his ad revenue.

Facebook Home is capable to capturing data about what apps you use and how long you use them. It can tap GPS hardware to figure out where you live (e. g., where does the phone sit without moving all night?) It can tap a phone’s accelerometer to deduce when you are jogging. Who knows what Facebook will do with such information, and why would anyone trust Facebook’s privacy record?

What's In It For Facebook Users?

Fans of Facebook Home say it adds a third dimension to the traditional side-to-side phone interface, integrating and enriching the user experience. Other apps’ notifications, such as “you have mail,” pop up and overlay whatever you are doing on Facebook. You don’t have to quit a game or app to chat with someone. You never, ever, have to ignore your Facebook friends (or the ads).

A plus for some is that your phone's SMS text messaging and Facebook messaging are unified into a single interface. When Facebook incorporates VoIP calling for "Chat Heads" (Facebook Home's way of displaying your contacts) the virtual mobile life will be complete.

Facebook Home for Android will be available for download on April 12, 2013. Facebook is also partnering with smartphone manufacturers to pre-install the Facebook Home software on some Android phones. The $99 HTC First (also available starting April 12) will be the first such offering. For now, you won't be able to get Facebook Home on iPhones or iPads. For that to happen, Facebook must convince Apple to make changes to the core of iOS, the Apple operating system for mobile devices.

If you're really into Facebook (and blissfully unconcerned about privacy issues), I can see how Facebook Home might be something you'd like to try. If Facebook is a place you visit only once in a while, to catch up with friends or post an occasional update, it'll seem more like an annoyance than a convenience. No doubt you will be hearing more from Little Brother about the benefits and availability of Facebook Home. Will you try it?

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "Facebook Phones Home"

(See all 21 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Bill Morris
09 Apr 2013

Even if you do not care about privacy, I am given to understand that it is both a memory and power hog. My concern is that the apps I have on my phone (and tablet) will update to include it and there will be no way to get rid of it.

Posted by:

09 Apr 2013

I deleted my Facebook account about 6 months ago because I did not trust them to handle privacy issues properly... but even if I still had a Facebook account I wouldn't use "Home"... not until they tighten up on security which I don't see happening any time soon!!

Posted by:

09 Apr 2013

I'm only on Facebook to follow my (grown up) kids, so I will definately not be using Facebook phone.

Posted by:

09 Apr 2013

If it smells bad -- it's rotten!

Posted by:

09 Apr 2013

I'll pass and won't lose sleep over it.

Posted by:

Pat Doyle
09 Apr 2013

Facebook is garbage, the lemming like rush to sign up for a service like this just emphasizes the large number of morons we have in this world..I wouldn't touch this with a bargepole we have more than enough intrusion in our lives.

Posted by:

09 Apr 2013

I am only a casual Facebook user, and to me this definitely sounds like "more annoyance than convenience", so NO....I will not be trying it!

Posted by:

Ted Martin
09 Apr 2013

Like one person said I just use it to see what my kids are doing. Frankly I'd be thrilled if Facebook went totally out of business. I sure as hell won't use this app!

Posted by:

09 Apr 2013

Not in this lifetime. Or, for that matter, any other lifetime.

Posted by:

09 Apr 2013

So long as it is an app that one must add for oneself if one wants it, and not something forced on the phone user, the "big brother" comparisons don't really come into play. In folklore, vampires couldn't enter one's home uninvited. The home was a safe refuge unless some idiot had invited vampires in. Facebook, similarly needs to be invited onto your computing device to have any hold on you (or to be of any use to you). So, it's all good so long as that remains the case.

Personally, I don't "do" FB (and I seriously doubt that I ever will) because of its wretched track record of continually rejiggering security settings, dumping everyone into insecure settings, making everything public, by default, no matter how one may have set one's preferences the last time around. Zuckerberg and his merry band clearly want as much of everyone's information to be as completely un-private as possible and they're not above cheating to get it. But so long as I don't give them my data, it's not my problem. Let the goobers who want to broadcast their drunken debaucheries and their vandalism sprees have at it and leave the rest of us who either don't do those things or don't want them widely public alone.

Posted by:

09 Apr 2013

Comments from RocketRide were Gr-r-reat!

I still have FB installed on my phone, but I don't even bother with updates anymore since they stopped installing last October (I think it was).
I don't like ANYthing changing the way things work unless it ASKS me FIRST, something FB does constantly with their settings (as mentioned by RocketRide). Infuriating!

Posted by:

Gloria Huffman
10 Apr 2013

4/9/2013 7:38 pm EDT. No. I don't use Facebook, and don't plan to. The only thing that could force me into it would be a need (a *NEED*) to use social media to publicize one of my books or songs.

The way it sounds, this in-yer-face in-ter-face is as obnoxious as ads that jump in front of your face like tarantula spiders from the sidebar. (Can you imagine what all that visual "startle effect" is doing to your brain and your hard-wired trauma-suppression mechanisms?)

As for privacy, there is already none, and there will be even less. If direct mail marketers can make assumptions about or conduct research into when their mailees are off work and when they get paid, in order to zap them with a hot-button "discount fire sale" sales pitch, you know that "Facebook Home" wants you to invite it into your "home" of privacy and clasp it like an adder to your bosom so that it, too, may feed off of you.

GPS, Likes, and all the rest are the means of establishing your set routines and your tastes, the same way a smart burglar/predator watches the movements and habits of its prey. If you are young enough (or still stupid enough) to ignore your predators and even invite them into your life, you deserve to be snapped up when you bite the bait fashioned from your own publicly-broadcast "favorites."

Sorry to wax verbose on this, but it's a topic that galls me and puts me on high alert.

Posted by:

10 Apr 2013

"Never say 'Never'"

I'll use it... but with extreme caution like I've been trying to do!

Just a couple weeks ago, I think it was Sophos that explained how to find the "Nuclear" Switch - the Big One that disables ALL Apps on facebook:
- To turn off ALL APPS:
Click on the "Gear" Icon (at top, right) on your 'Timeline' Page,

On the left side, click on "Apps",
If, under "Apps You Use" it says _OFF_ ... you're good;

if not, click on "Edit" to change it.
(end quote)

Of course, there WILL BE all kinds of Opportunities to reverse your settings and, knowing facebook and their Kamikaze programming sessions - they might have all this changed by Monday morning (Noon at the latest).

And, like the previous Poster I offer this apology:
"... Sorry to wax verbose on this, but it's [FACEBOOK] a topic that galls me and puts me on high alert."
It doesn't have to be like this!

Posted by:

10 Apr 2013

Not only "No....but HELL NO!"

Posted by:

10 Apr 2013

Can anybody to give me ONE good, compelling reason I should go for the latest invasive BS? I seriously pity anyone who can't survive without FarceBook.

Posted by:

11 Apr 2013

I'm guessing that all of us that have responded are not teens or twenty-somethings. I can tell you that my 17 year old son would dive on this like a bowl of ice cream if he could get it on his iPhone. Facebook is the first thing he does in the morning, and the last before he goes to bed. His entire world is there, and he would be thrilled to have a live feed on his phone's home page.

I guess we're too old and concerned about silly things like privacy?

Posted by:

11 Apr 2013

Not for love nor money. FB is pure narcissistic BS. Who needs or wants to be that "connected" all the time.

Posted by:

12 Apr 2013

Wrong crowd to ask! Most of us distrust Facebook anyway. I won't even let it on my phone.


Posted by:

16 Apr 2013

Nah, I'd rather not use this app. I'm a casual user and couldn't bother with being connected all the time.

Posted by:

23 Apr 2013

I won't use it; Why would I allow strangers (?), people I don't know, have never met, don't know anything about (?); WHY would allow them access to my daily activities, business or otherwise? WHY?

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