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.
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).
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.