Can we be real? Few "real" people understand what a cookie is or what it does. Most "real" people I have spoke with are terrified of behavioral targeting at first, but warm up to the idea when they learn about the strict anonymity measures.
So why does the web grab pitchforks and storm the castle every time Facebook tries to open up their privacy policies?
Because the social cookie is more than a cookie. It's me and you. It's a real person.
Because Facebook knowsus. Facebook knows our real name, real location, real social network, real friends, real conversations, real interests, real alliances and real relationships. For the first time ever on the web, Facebook has us acting as "real" people en masse. By opening up to Facebook, we have placed an unprecedented level of trust in a social network. When Facebook talks about opening up that information to a third party, or to anyone we haven't self selected, people feel that this trust has been violated.
This isn't to say that Facebook doesn't have incredible opportunities by selectively and strategically opening up their pipes. But it's all in how they do it.
We are scared. There is no precedent. Facebook needs to step very carefully. Facebook needs to be uber-selective about how they anonymize data, and share this process with us. It's not just about giving us control, it's about creating trust in their control.
Facebook has built a business on making us real on the web. But in order to open up the pipes, they are going to need to convince us that they know how to anonymize.