In a clear example of the asymmetry of power that now exists between Facebook and just about everyone else on the Web, check out the way The New York Times has handed a huge gift to the social networking giant: The Times is requiring that anyone who wants to be a “verified commenter” — and with that a higher form of commenting privileges — must a) have a Facebook account; and b) use that account for identity verification.

This is vastly, vastly better for Facebook than the Times. Given Facebook’s tendency to track what people do online whenever possible — something you can take for granted in this case, given the attractive (for marketers) demographics of Times readers — the company will gain deep insights into what these people read and buy.

What does the Times get? A bit of extra convenience, nothing more.

News organizations that use Facebook for login to comments and other features are unbelievably short-sighted. Which, of course, is absolutely nothing new.

7 Responses to “Another Short-Sighted News Organization Hands Part of Its Future to Facebook”
  1. fuwenpan says:

    What does the Times get? A bit of extra convenience, nothing more.

  2. What does the Times get? A bit of extra convenience, nothing more.

  3. kat says:

    welp. the times will hear from me about this, including an end to my subscription.

  4. kat says:

    actually, i just noticed your publication date, mar 20. i have to say, i’ve commented on the times a few times since then and haven’t noticed the change you discuss. are you sure about this?

  5. Andrea Bird says:

    What was the outcome of this? Do they or don’t they require a facebook account?

    • Dan Gillmor says:

      Looks to me like they’re letting people still log in using non-FB accounts. I’m going to check with them to see what happened.

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