Having caught up with Kashmir Hill's Gizmodo piece 'People You May Know:' A Controversial Facebook Feature's 10-Year History, I'm both supremely glad that I'm not on Facebook [note]I was briefly a member a few years ago for as long as it took me to conclude that I didn't need any of the services they were offering. Not that I'm making any claims to be particularly wise or virtuous or forward-looking: more that I'm markedly less sociable than they'd like their users to be.[/note] and creeped out by how little difference that makes to Facebook's determination to shadow profile me whether I like it or not.
In other words, People You May Know is an invaluable product because it helps connect Facebook users, whether they want to be connected or not. It seems clear that for some users, People You May Know is a problem. It's not a feature they want and not a feature they want to be part of. When the feature debuted in 2008, Facebook said that if you didn't like it, you could "x" out the people who appeared there repeatedly and eventually it would disappear. (If you don't see the feature on your own Facebook page, that may be the reason why.) But that wouldn't stop you from continuing to be recommended to other users.
Facebook needs to give people a hard out for the feature, because scourging phone address books and email inboxes to connect you with other Facebook users, while welcome to some people, is offensive and harmful to others. Through its aggressive data-mining this huge corporation is gaining unwanted insight into our medical privacy, past heartaches, family dramas, sensitive work associations, and random one-time encounters.
[Via Pixel Envy]