Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Disney's Facebook Application For Toy Story 3 Is Inherently Dangerous

Disney's new Facebook application made a splash in the New York Times yesterday. The New York Times article states, "[t]he application, called Disney Tickets Together, could transform how Hollywood sells movie tickets by combining purchases with the powerful forces of social networking." The Disney Tickets Together application will alert your Facebook friends and invite them to also buy tickets to the same Disney event.

Oliver Luckett, SVP and GM of DigiSynd, a Disney subsidiary is quoted in the article as saying “[t]he whole idea is that no friend gets left behind.” This mentality is extremely troubling because it demonstrates Disney's utter lack of concern for the personal privacy of its customers who purchase tickets via Facebook. Creating a Facebook application that focuses on Toy Story 3's target audience, children, is especially upsetting. This application will allow child predators to know who will be attending an event and where they will be. It is an application that child molesters can easily utilize to target their prey.

Applications that utilize a Facebook user's information is a lazy method of social media engagement. Instead, Disney should immediately terminate this application and focus its Facebook strategy on engaging and conversing with its more than 3.5 million Facebook "likes." A review of Disney's Facebook page demonstrates that Disney's current strategy involves posting a link and then letting its fans comment on the post. Where is the social media interaction and engagement?

Facebook needs to ban application developers from being able to access your personal information as a prerequisite to utilizing an application. There is no reason why an application that asks, "What old school WWF wrestler are you?" needs to know your personal data and your friends information. For the record, I was labeled Hulk Hogan. All the information the application needs is included in the questions the application asks you to answer.

Facebook and Disney need to share the blame for this new application because Facebook's recent privacy controls do not go far enough in protecting a user's personal information. The new privacy controls should enable a user to have full control over his or her Facebook profile. Unfortunately, the new privacy controls do not fully enable a user to pick and choose what information is shared. Facebook's failure to properly protect its users' personal information demonstrates why the Social Media Privacy Protection Act is needed.

I grew up loving Disney movies, their theme parks, and the entire Disney experience. Walt Disney was a visionary in experiential marketing. However, this Facebook application that Walt Disney's successors have created has crossed the line. Disney's new application is an inherently dangerous one because it provides child molesters with information they may utilize to harm our families. I would highly advise other entertainment companies not to follow in Disney's footsteps because there is no legitimate reason for a movie studio to create an application that utilizes its Facebook's customers' data.

I challenge Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Disney's CEO Robert A. Iger, and any other Fortune 500 CEO to provide a rational reason why access to my personal Facebook data or my friends' data is required for Disney's Tickets Together application or any other Facebook application. To resolve this issue you may contact me directly at 301-652-3600 or at bshear@shearlaw.com.

Copyright 2010 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC.
All rights reserved.