Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has always claimed the company's unofficial mission is to "make the world more open and connected." While that mantra has certainly been at the heart of the social network's success, it has also been the core of many privacy issues and constant updates to Facebook privacy settings.
With the addition the new "Traveling To" status update on Facebook there are many social media watchers saying here we go again.
This latest addition to Facebook's roster of feeling-and-doing status update options, Traveling To allows you to more easily share your travel plans with friends. The feature is accessed within the activity and emotion sharing smiley-face icon on status updates from the desktop and mobile apps. Other choices include Watching, Reading, Feeling, Listening To, and Eating.
While sharing a Traveling To status update doesn't currently change the information Facebook serves you, the initial notion from many on this is that perhaps it should, and at the very least it certainly could. At some point we can imagine that the news you're in a different city would present you with info from those that live in that city along with notifications to same that you're in town, local ads for businesses and restaurants in that city, and so on. While none of this is currently a part of Traveling To, you can see the possibilities that exist moving forward.
While this option was rolled out quietly by Facebook this week, it holds great potential to make Facebook advertising even more relevant and useful.
The catch here is this -- no one recommends posting traveling plans publicly on Facebook. That's been a big social media no-no for years and Facebook has never been big on warnings about that. The obvious home security issues remain at the core of this issue and Facebook has been on the privacy hot seat for years now over issues like this.
"Facebook oftentimes assumes too much," began social media consultant Lauren Sosik. "Many users still struggle with setting up exactly who sees what info they post and no one really knows who has access to any of the accounts you open your personal info up to. Bottom line here, there's just some information you should never post on Facebook and travel plans are very high on that list."
A good deal of the comments on Facebook's photo post are touching on exactly this as fear still runs high on the subject of letting people know you're not home. The argument that users would generally only let their closest friends see this info is also being shot down, with feeling that no one can control what accounts might get hacked on Facebook.
Time will tell if the new Traveling To option catches on, but the early thoughts appear to be proceed with extreme caution.