Verhasselt: Are Facebook phones cool or creepy?

Heath Verhasselt

Facebook. You have it, I have it, everyone does. In fact, about 600 million people do.

It’s been the subject of conversation in regard to everything from personal privacy to their Facebook games, from targeted advertising to redefining the “creeper” stereotype.

Facebook is a way of life for many. All your friends and family are on it, so why shouldn’t it be? And that’s what Facebook thinks too, so why not take it to the next level? Why not take it everywhere?

The rumors of a Facebook phone have come and gone since Facebook started them in 2004.

Who would make it? Would it be its own operating system? How would that work?

With the rise of smart phones with their applications and Internet capabilities, such rumors have dwindled. Most smart phones, at least on the Google Android OS, have a few Facebook functions built into the phone. You can upload photos to Facebook right from the camera app — on Blackberry you can even tag people in the picture you just took — your phone contacts can be synced with your Facebook contacts and even calendar integration is available. Not to mention the combination of Facebook apps and the Facebook touch site. Our phones might as well be Facebook phones already.

But not so fast, Mark Zuckerberg said, claiming that by the end of this year there will be dozens of Facebook phones on the market. These phones will have all the features I listed above, a dedicated Facebook button on the side of the phone and more.

HTC has launched the first in the series of this new era of Facebook phones, the Cha-Cha and the Salsa, which will launch later in the year, with even more phones and more integration coming soon. The Facebook-dedicated phone is one step closer to becoming a reality, and you can’t help but ask if this is cool or a step in the wrong direction.

Think about this one for a minute. Facebook creepers can now not only creep while on the go, but if you use the Facebook “places” function enough, there’s now a “real world” element to Facebook creeping.

Think of all the free data Facebook would be getting: They already know your likes and personal interests, how about who you are calling and where you’re going?

That’s a tin foil hat conspiracy if I’ve ever heard one.

All kidding aside, the real issue at hand here is this: How addicted to Facebook have we become that we have to buy phones dedicated to Facebook? That’s something you should ponder for a while.

If you’re reading this online, you’re probably logged in right now. Do you really need to read the news feed as statuses are posted? Do you really need to play “Farmville” that bad? Do you really need to click “like” on every single little thing?

The answer is probably yes, you addict.