Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

So, Facebook is entering the messaging business. Here’s how it works:

The new service, which will provide users with an “” email address, is designed to meld email, instant messaging and SMS text messages so that users can manage their communications through a single inbox.

“This is not an email killer. This is a messaging system that includes email as a part of it,” said Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg.

The company was launching the new service because many young users don’t use email because it is too slow and formal, he said. The company unveiled its new messaging service at an event in San Francisco.

Mr. Zuckerberg said the service, which has been under development for about one year, will also maintain users’ conversation histories so that members can keep track of all the communications they have had.

No thanks — I’ll take a pass on this one. Zuckerberg, whom Fake Steve Jobs properly skewered the other day as a “that quasi-autistic little sociopath,” is simply not to be trusted. Facebook is happy to take your personal data, and even store it free of charge — but good luck ever getting it back out.

Case in point. Earlier this year, I took my son to see How to Train Your Dragon. A fine, fun little movie, and his first on the big screen. As usual, I’d purchased our tickets online. Days later, when logging into Facebook for work, I learned that the entire world knew what movie I’d gone to, which theater, and what time, too. What would a stalker have done with this information?

I’d never given Facebook or Fandango permission to publish that information. I’d never given either site permission to share any information. And yet there it was, for all the world to see.

Facebook has since promised never to do that kind of thing again. But I made my own promise, which is to give Facebook as little information as I can. And that means giving a big Thumbs Down to letting Mark Zuckerberg have access to each and every one of my electronic communications.