Well... in a move that we hope isn't a sign of things to come, Facebook has decided that anonymity isn't really important when it comes to its Stories feature. Stories are short bursts of images or video that can be viewed up to two times, and disappear after 24 hours. A story that can be posted and then forgotten about the next day is pretty neat, but is it OK that the poster will see a list of names of everyone who viewed it?
Credit: Damon Beres
When we're online, we're all expecting a certain level of privacy. Some might enjoy sharing absolutely every piece of their life on social media, but most people don't, and that includes not having your name appear on content you've viewed. Imagine for a moment if YouTube behaved like that. While this feature is only for Stories right now, the fear is that it could spread to other parts of the service in time. Imagine if posted pictures reveal the names of those who've looked at them. Remember that high-school sweetheart bikini picture you ogled over? Yeah. Let's not reach that point, please?
At Mashable, Damon Beres gives an example of why this kind of feature is weird. He posted a story as normal, and when he looked at the viewer list, he saw people there that he wouldn't even "make small talk with at a party". While it could be argued that he shouldn't have contacts like that on Facebook to begin with, the reality is, most people have a ton of "friends" that are not on par with actual real-life friends. Let's not discount the fact that some people who appear on this list might only appear there as the result of an accidental tap, as well.
This is just a bad precedent, and it's not the least bit surprising that it's coming from Facebook.