Main Page

Thursday, October 21, 2010

GoGoStat Parental Guidance for Facebook - Part II

Sorry for the delay.  I know I said I'd get to Part II of this article "tomorrow" but a death in the family and an unexpected trip to Colorado put me way behind.

So lets talk more about GoGoStat.  As I said in my first article, I discovered the GoGoStat product through an article on an NBC News website.  The article caught my attention because it was titled "Facebook Partners with GoGoStat to Improve Safety for Kids."  Could it be possible that Facebook was acting responsibly?  Don't get your hopes up.  My interview with Senior Product Manager Ron Stevenson revealed that Facebook had nothing to do with the appearance of GoGoStat on the Facebook scene.  GoGoStat is a Facebook app like a thousand other Facebook apps, all developed by third party entities to run inside the Facebook environment.  Facebook offers an interface for programmers (called an API) that allows them to come up with games and/or gadgets that people can add to their page.  I'm sure you've heard of FarmVille, Mafia Wars, and any number of trivia games.  These are all applications that people other than Facebook create and then list on Facebook's site for people to add to their profiles. The point is, they are all developed independently from Facebook.  However, they all must operate inside of Facebook's "rules of operation" including their privacy policy.

I found it interesting and ironic that the developers at GoGoStat had a difficult time creating their product within Facebook's rules.  Facebook doesn't allow people to create apps that invade user's privacy or distribute personal information and that's exactly what GoGoStat a good way.  It monitor's a child's profile/page and reports information about it to another person - the child's parent. That functionality is against the rules.  Here is GoGoStat trying to make a much needed tool to protect kids and here is Facebook making it difficult for them at every turn.  BUT (and I can't believe I am writing this) don't be too hard on Facebook.  Without such rules and requirements there could be a glut of really bad apps that could endanger kids even more.  So, while the process was difficult for GoGoStat, it was a necessary evil.  And their developers were smart enough to make it work despite the limitations.

The other thing I found interesting is that every time Facebook changes it's privacy policies, GoGoStat has to adjust their product so that it still works within the new regulations.  Facebook "improves" their privacy policies about once every two months.  That means the GoGoStat developers have to remain vigilant so that there is no lag in service.  To date, the product has worked smoothly.  Not bad for a free service.  I personally think it's admirable that the GoGoStat people are that committed.

Kudos to GoGoStat.  Keep up the good work.  Consider me a fan and supporter.

Oh and one more thing.  In the first article I talked about the Spanish version of the product. It was released last week.

No comments:

Post a Comment