Amazon introduced a new feature Wednesday allowing users to hook up Facebook and Twitter to their Amazon accounts and automatically share all manner of shopping-related events. It may sound like a potential privacy nightmare, but don't worry, you have to opt in.
Connect your accounts here, and soon you'll be able to post wish lists, recent purchases, reviews, and so on. Only the ones you choose to share will be shared, of course, though it's easy to imagine how that could accidentally go wrong.
The ability to connect to Facebook has actually been around for a little while, but Amazon is making a big push now so that you can seize the opportunity over the holidays and share a few wish lists.
In addition to simply sharing lists or tweeting that you bought something, Facebook will reach out and collect information shared by your friends, integrating it with your browsing. If you're looking at a new book and friends have either reviewed it or put it on a wish list, that info will appear next to the item.
Similarly, hooking up Facebook or Twitter will allow you to share notes from within the Kindle app.
Your Facebook data can be mined further, if you so choose: suggestions for new books and music will appear according to what you "Like" on Facebook.
Whether this simply scours your likes of pages, bands, and other products, or digs deeper into likes of friends' posts and pictures, Amazon did not specify. NBC News has asked for further clarification on this point, since the idea of Amazon analyzing friends' status updates or investigating other personal data crosses the line from questionable to creepy.
If you're worried about privacy issues, you're not alone: connecting the world's biggest social network with the world's biggest online retailer sounds a bit like putting together nitro and glycerine. Amazon does state, however, that nothing but what you choose is shared with Facebook, publicly or otherwise:
None of your Amazon account information including payment methods, shipping or billing addresses, or order history will be shared with Facebook.
As always, be sure to look closely at the preferences should you choose to opt into this service, and pay attention when changes are announced — either on Amazon's side or Facebook's.
The new features should be rolling out soon, but you can connect your account now and set your preferences.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.
First published November 13 2013, 2:14 PM