Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Do Your Facebook Friends Know What You Are Doing Tonight?

Chef Lorena Garcia was on TV showcasing the new cantina salad from Taco Bell.  Citrus-herb marinated chicken, flavorful black beans, fresh guacamole made from real Haas avocadoes, roasted corn and pepper salsa, creamy cilantro dressing, freshly prepared Pico de Gallo—all on a bed of cilantro rice.

My wife and I looked at each other and the decision was made. We were eating dinner at Taco Bell that night. Better yet, if we went to Facebook, we could download a BOGO (BUY ONE GET ONE FREE COUPON).

With our BOGO in hand we headed for a food destination that neither of us had been to for years.  What can I say? The salads bore no resemblance to the colorful and fresh salad prepared by Ms. Garcia in the TV commercial. And I am sure that she was nowhere near the kitchen of our Taco Bell.

It was awful. My wife and I agreed that we would not tell anyone that we succumbed to the media hype and no one would ever know that we had dinner that night at a Taco Bell. It was our deep dark secret.
Later that night my son posted the following on Facebook:
What world do we live in where I turn on my computer and it tells me that my dad ate a burrito for free from Taco Bell?

Lesson learned.  If you are going to accept an offer through Facebook, be prepared for the world to find out.  Especially if you have a son with a gazillion friends.

I do not remember ever giving Facebook or Taco Bell permission to share this information with anyone.  I understand, however, that as a cost of joining the Facebook community I have probably agreed to concede many rights that allow them to share certain information.  Is that not what fuels this Facebook community of information sharing?  So what did I agree to let Taco Bell and Facebook do with this information?

Here is what Facebook and I so clearly negotiated and agreed upon in a meeting of the minds when we considered what rights they would have to share my acceptance of a BOGO offer from Taco Bell with others:

Who can see offers I’ve claimed?

When you claim an offer, a story about it will get added to your profile (timeline). By default, this story is visible to your friends, but you can change the audience of this story. To choose who can see that you've claimed an offer: On desktop:
  1. Click Friends next to Post offer to profile (timeline).
  2. Select the audience you want to share the story with. Choose Only Me if you don't want others to see that you claimed the offer.
  3. Click Okay.
Lesson learned. If you accept that BOGO through Facebook be prepared to get comments from your friends and their friends. If you want to enjoy that Big Mac in secret, make sure that you choose ONLY ME.

Finally, if you want a reasonably priced and delicious Mexican salad, go to Chipotle.

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