Facebook May Live to Regret Privacy Decisions

Techwriter10 0 Tallied Votes 532 Views Share

Yesterday ReadWriteWeb reported that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told TechCrunch's Michael Arrington people are not only OK with publicly exposing certain information on the open web such as their pictures and pages they subscribe to, Zuckerberg believes they are ready to give up privacy.

Really Mark?!

Amy Pohler and Seth Meyer of SNL used to do a regular segment called "Really!?!" This is one of those "Really" moments. Really?! Mark, have you ever talked to an actual Facebook user? Really?!

Oh, people definitely want to control their information, Mark, really. The question that hangs out there is what we can do about it?

It's All So Confusing?

So many things trouble me about Facebook it's hard to know where to start, but they regularly change the interface and configuration tools. Even fairly knowledgeable users like myself are constantly challenged by this. I know I get lots of questions from friends and relatives about Facebook, and even though I'm a regular user, I often have to figure it out to find out the answer. It makes me wonder sometimes if they are deliberately trying to confuse the user base.

And What Do You Think They are Doling With That Data

Even if they aren't trying to mess with the users on purpose, the result is often the same as if they were. People are quick to complain about Google and how they may or may not use information, but Google has far less overt information about our personal lives than Facebook, yet we hear far fewer complaints. Fact is Facebook and Facebook developers are using this information to make money and they aren't afraid to admit it (as I wrote about here).

Zuckerberg's abrupt public about face on privacy policy in general is reason to be suspicious. ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick reacted to Zuckerberg's comments in his post thusly:

I don't buy Zuckerberg's argument that Facebook is now only reflecting the changes that society is undergoing. I think Facebook itself is a major agent of social change and by acting otherwise Zuckerberg is being arrogant and condescending.

I couldn't agree more.

All It Takes is One Resourceful Person

Social networking tools like Facebook are not irreplaceable. Several years ago, My Space was the rage, but now it's barely even mentioned in discussions about social networking on the web. All it's going to take is one resourceful person (or group of people) to come up with a reasonable alternative, and with just a little savvy and a bit of luck, maybe some day soon before you know it Facebook could be just another social media also-ran left behind for failing to respect its users. It could happen. Really.

AlBme 0 Newbie Poster

These kinds of shenanigans will go on until the U.S. Supreme Court is asked to determine what constitutes "personal information", what part of it is inalienably "private", and who in fact owns any of it. That will be a decision that will be of great historic significance.

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

Interesting and that would be fine for US citizens, but what you say makes sense. I know the EU has much tighter privacy standards than the US currently does. I wonder how they get away with this there. But my point is we have the power now by speaking with our feet (so to speak). We just need a reasonable alternative.

Thanks for your comment.

canadafred 220 SEO Alumni Team Colleague Featured Poster

It was actually the Canadian government that forced Facebook to adhere to basic privacy laws and to my knowledge the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada isn't through with social networking sites yet. Seems to me the American government is very slow to react to corporate faux-pas, even those of high magnitude, and may never be able to regulate such Internet giants as Google or even Facebook.

InsightsDigital 57 Posting Virtuoso

Maybe this type of attitude by Mark Z can represent the beginning of the end of Facebook. I am personally guarding my personal settings like a hawk on Facebook and noticed that this new update actually forces me to release more additional information "even at my most private settings" than before. Go figure. People dont need to hire private investigators anymore - they just go to Facebook - this type of openness may not be good for professional advancement, just like what Myspace did.

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

That's right. I had read that and I completely agree with your assessment. The US will probably be the last place to regulate companies like Google and Facebook. It will continue to be the EU and Canada (and other countries) leading the way on user data privacy.

Thanks for commenting.


Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

I'm right there with you, but they make it harder and harder to do that, and as you point out, the latest version doesn't even provide us with a way to protect a whole list of user data. It's precisely this growing list of unprotected data that troubles me and makes me long for a reasonable alternative to FB.

Thanks for the comment.

RaLeon 0 Newbie Poster

Good article, I couldn't relate more to the confusing section. I use Facebook everyday, but when my friends and family needed help to remove/hide certain information I found it quite hard . I had to dig through multiple forums just to find out how to hide something minor. I am not sure what Facebook's next move is but privacy is certainly an issue.

Techwriter10 42 Practically a Posting Shark

That's a big problem and they keep changing how they do it constantly and not always for the better.

Thanks for reading.


InsightsDigital 57 Posting Virtuoso

Also, something to keep in mind is that Facebook capitalizes on the user generated content-thus, the more data that is public, the more financial ROI Facebook may gain.

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