I like Facebook, and have no complaint with its imperialism. It has identified and leveraged the most crucial founding fact of the mainstream internet: It’s about people. People connecting to other people. That’s why email was the killer app for years. If Facebook is the killer app of the 2010’s, it deserves its reach and revenue.
But entering into the movie rental business is different. There is nothing about watching a movie through Facebook that furthers a person’s online social life or helps connect with friends. Media delivery, when removed from friend delivery, separates Facebook from its core mission and core value.
The main reason I won’t watch The Dark Knight on Facebook is that I subscribe to Netflix and there’s no reason to pay any other service a per-movie fee.
I also am uneasy about the requirement to Like the Dark Knight FB page in order to rent the movie. It might seem trivial, but I don’t want my movie rental choices added to my social profile unless I choose to add them. When Facebook requires me to Like one of its page owners, then collects revenue from the relationship, that seems to cross a church-state line.
Most of all, I’m saddened by the start of a new kind of Facebook. I don’t mind if Facebook resembles the internet for many of its users, who are reluctant to leave the walled garden and explore the wider online realm. But if Facebook becomes just another media company pushing into the living room, stabbing at Netflix and Hulu for the sake of domination, forsaking its heritage as a place where friends share their lives … that seems like the start of a disappointing and unfocused downhill slide.