Sometimes, the creepiest things about Facebook are also the most compelling.
Take Facebook Friendship Pages, for example. The feature, which is rolling out to all users, allows you to look at every interaction between two people. You can see how early flirting led to a marriage (or a breakup), look back at old photos with a longtime pal, or find out when was the last time two friends hung out.
To be clear, Facebook isn’t making more data publicly available with Friendship Pages. To look at the history of any two people, you must be friends with one and have access to the other’s full profile. This isn’t a privacy issue in the traditional sense, because Friendship Pages is merely compiling information in a new way.
What Friendship Pages amounts to is an evolved version of “Facebook Stalking,” the time-honored tradition of soaking up more knowledge about a person through Facebook than you might’ve learned in real life. Meet someone at a party through a mutual friend? Now you can easily see their history through photos and wall posts.
Is that creepy? Absolutely, but here’s the thing: “Facebook Stalking” wouldn’t be a common phrase if people didn’t love doing it. Before Farmville, status updates and the “Like” button, poring through someone’s profile was a major Facebook pastime. Think of Friendship Pages as a return to form.
If you don’t like it, the standard Facebook disclaimer applies: Don’t put anything on the site that you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing with everyone, and take control of your privacy settings, or just don’t use the site at all. Personally, I’m looking forward to digging up some dirt on my good friends.