When I think about Facebook's latest "innovation", about who might gain from this forced sharing of personal choices, I think it may be that they want to appease academic researchers.
Here is CNN's description of how this so-called "real-time app" behaves:
because I've logged in to Spotify with my Facebook identity, every song I listen to is automatically shared to Facebook.
Spotify is the recently launched online music service. A number of other big-brand Internet companies is apparently on board, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Yahoo! News. I agree with Farhad Manjoo at Slate who said:
it's somehow eluded Zuckerberg that sharing is fundamentally about choosing. You experience a huge number of things every day, but you choose to tell your friends about only a fraction of them, because most of what you do isn't worth mentioning.
This opinion captures a law of data which hasn't been explored enough: that as quantity goes up, quality of data goes down. Before this change, users voluntarily disclose their preferences via Like buttons or similar setups; this means that users have performed a valuable act of filtering the data before exposing them (free public service!) With this new application, there is surely more data but I doubt if there is more useful data.
Perhaps this is a way to force the non-sharers to share their personal choices. In the past, only those who like to share their likes and dislikes do so but now, many users will find their choices exposed regardless of their wishes. This expansion of the base of data collection is useful for researchers and analysts; however, Facebook has the option of collecting the data without exposing them to people's networks. Facebook simply needs to make deals with Spotify, Netflix, Hulu, etc. to share data in the background. In fact, by encouraging users to use the same logon account, they probably already have this behind-the-scenes sharing in place already.
Previously, academic researchers do not have access to such data as businesses either do not collect them or would not make them available publicly due to competitive reasons. So I think at least one group can benefit from this rather alarming situation.