Facebook takes on Mahalo

Facebook has made the call for beta testers of a new knowledge product.  I was intrigued by the idea of Facebook making that type of announcement when I read the following:

As a beta tester, your job will be to ask great questions and provide great answers about your favorite topics. Economics? Skydiving? Relationships? Mexican Restaurants? It’s up to you. You’ll be the first person outside of Facebook to use this product. Your expert writing will be seen by tens of millions of people

Facebook is quite apparently looking for free writers to begin filling in pages of information on any topic.  To be a beta tester they want you to also submit a writing sample on pre-listed questions with links to external sources included.

Before we can give you exclusive beta access, we’d like you to submit one great sample question and answer. We’re looking for evidence that you can write clearly and authoritatively on familiar subject matter.  Where relevant, cite and link to third-party sources such as Wikipedia.

What this means, is as you browse these topics, your profile grows in areas of interest and Facebook finely tuns targeted marketing towards you.  As you fill in topics, they begin to build a table of your knowledge as well.  It is a confusing matrix of information they will learn about you.

I would hesitate submitting for this opportunity, even with the promise that the top writers get invited to the Facebook offices to meet the team.  They make no mention of monetization towards you, nor how the data will be used.  They make no promises to you that you own the content you create.  It looks as if they claim the content as well.  So work for free, input tons of your knowledge for free and let them make advertising dollars from your work.  A perfect plan.

Mahalo, I know, pays the writers for this very same type of content. (No I am not writing for them so no disclosure necessary).  While they own the content, you do get benefit and the content creation is not linked to your profile inside of the largest social network.