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Generation: Facebook

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Political Candidates, advertisers and NPOs have realized for a while now the value of social network sites. And now, one more chalked tally of world domination for Facebook – the Applications. The applications are programs that can be downloaded onto your profile, and offer activities such as daily horoscopes, a stock tracker and graffiti tool. But probably most interesting is that news organizations have caught on. With readership declining in all mediums except the Web, news organizations are relentless in trying to tap into the untouched age group – the generation that no longer reads newspapers. Now Washingtonpost.com, Slate and CBC have found a way to directly contribute to Facebook through the integrated applications.

Washingtonpost.com is offering “The Compass,” which asks a 10-question survey and then determines where on the political spectrum you fall. The Compass gets more interesting when your friends install it because you will then be able to see where you all land on the political map. There are already 246,289 users that downloaded it.

But there is something a little more interesting than just the game of it…

Before you download any of the applications, you have to check a box with this written next to it: “Allow this application to know who I am and access my information.” If you don’t check the box, this pops up: “Granting access to information is required to add applications. If you are not willing to grant access to your information, do not add this application.” And then, when you look more in-depth into the small print, it says that by downloaded the application, Facebook can provide the companies with “any of the information provided by you and visible to you on Facebook” except for your contact information.

So are companies using the fun applications to get to know our generation better for advertisement and content purposes? Do they want to know what we like to read, watch on TV, and do for fun? Do they want to look at our pretty pictures? (if so… they are going to conclude that a majority of Facebook users appear to be alcoholics). Maybe our political views or sexual preferences?

Maybe it’s just an innocent attempt to study and understand those craaazy kids and their social scenes — soon to be leaders of the free world.

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