Spotify's 'frictionless sharing' bows to Facebook privacy pressure

Summary:Facebook's application "frictionless sharing" is causing a great deal of controversy. Spotify has already backed down by enabling a new privacy setting.

Spotify has not had the greatest start, as part of its flagship music service to Facebook.

Users of Spotify's service, without warning, started seeing their music playlists and history shared to Facebook. Users had to opt-out of the service by manually disabling the feature. Many users complained about the Facebook integration, and the company has since climbed down.

Spotify's CEO Daniel Ek said that the new privacy feature will act like a "browser's private mode". Users can update to the latest Spotify client to "hide their guilty pleasures", the CEO said, which will temporarily allow private listening.

The Spotify chief had to defend the company's position earlier this week regarding Facebook's new "frictionless sharing"; ironically causing a great deal of friction amongst users.

The company clarified its position saying that only new users of Spotify will have to sign-in with a Facebook account, not existing users.

As part of the new changes to Facebook's profile, mostly through the 'Timeline' to be rolled out over the coming weeks, users' activities are automatically noted in the news feed 'ticker' -- such as music you are listening to, or articles that you are reading.

The Guardian and the Washington Post rolled out its 'frictionless sharing' application earlier this week, and broadcasts which articles are being read by users.

Though Facebook claims it has worked with a number of privacy groups to ensure that the new Timeline and 'frictionless sharing' is as user privacy sensitive as possible, it did not prevent a coalition of the U.S.' most prominent privacy groups filing a letter with federal regulators, complaining that Facebook's new features "violate privacy standards".

This comes only days after Facebook at first denied, and then acknowledged that it had fixed a "tracking cookie", discovered first by an Australian hacker, which could track logged-out users across the web.

Related:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Legal

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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