LiveJournal users are up in arms over a modification to the service that they say allows users commenting to their online journals to also post those comments on Facebook or Twitter, even if the journal is set up to be restricted only to the owners' friends.
In response to the uproar, LiveJournal posted to its blog "Update: Thank you for taking the time to offer your honest feedback. We understand and appreciate your desire for privacy. We share your concerns. Most of us would not want to publish our LiveJournal usernames or FO comments to Facebook or Twitter either (to the extent we even use them). Please give us a little time to address your concerns. We are listening, and we'll do our best to respond."
As LiveJournal describes the new feature, "If you set your default to cross-post comments, ALL of your comments, including screened and Friends Only comments, can be cross-posted whenever you choose," though users must manually choose to cross-post the comment if is marked Friends Only or screened comment. "Of course, you can override your settings on a per-comment basis, so you have complete control over whether to cross-post each and every comment," the blog continues.
In other words, if one set up a LiveJournal to talk about activities that one wished to remain private, and set it up so that only one's friends could read it, then a friend commenting on one's private activities could choose to post the comment to Facebook and Twitter as well -- including people whom the LiveJournal owner might not wish to be informed about the private activities.
LiveJournal predates much of the current social media explosion. As the site describes it, "LiveJournal is a community publishing platform, willfully blurring the lines between blogging and social networking. Since 1999 LiveJournal has been home to a wide array of creative individuals looking to share common interests, meet new friends, and express themselves."
Many users of the venerable blogging service were upset about the change, with 6675 comments being posted to the announcement within a single day -- including ways to work around the new system. An online poll reports as of this morning that .2% of people loved the new feature, .9% were in favor of it if it had an opt-out for oneself, 30.1% were in favor if it had an opt-out for other people's comments, and 67.5% reporting it as the worst idea ever (plus .9% for neutral and .4% for 'other').
"PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE give us an option to not see the Facebook posting and commenting options!" wrote a typical commenter. "I don't want to potentially cross-post by accident and I dislike that these new check-boxes make the commenting box longer. Also, I want an option to make it so that people commenting on my posts cannot send their comments to Facebook. A whole hell of a lot of us want to keep our separate social networking SEPARATE."