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Facebook's Zuckerberg Says Forget Privacy 415

judgecorp writes "Privacy is no longer a social norm, according to the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. Speaking at the Crunchie awards in San Francisco, the entrepreneur said that expectations had changed, and people now default to sharing online, not privacy. It's all right for him, but does he mean it's ok for bodies like the UK government to monitor all citizens' Internet use?"
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Facebook's Zuckerberg Says Forget Privacy

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  • by happy_place ( 632005 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:16PM (#30729844) Homepage
    All this CEO is admitting is that he's unable to come up with a way to monetize his services without compromising people's privacy. The whole appeal of facebook, originally, was that it preserved privacy and kept the spammers to a minimum, when compared with MySpace. Now that Facebook is leaving one of its basic reasons for existing in the dust, someone else will come along and will replace it, and there'll be a mass migration to the latest thing. Just takes the next smart guy to create it. Perhaps it'll be based upon personal DRM. (Har har!) --Ray
  • Re:Better ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sh00z ( 206503 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {z00hs}> on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:17PM (#30729858) Journal
    Countdown to Zuckerberg's SSN being posted here in 3....2....
  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:23PM (#30729950) Homepage Journal

    Didn't he make a show of releasing this facebook page showing him doing a bunch of stupid but innocuous things? I just assumed it was put together to help him make this case.

  • by davecrusoe ( 861547 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:25PM (#30729978) Homepage

    There is a difference between something that is not a social norm, and something that is not a primary consideration OR an option - until it's too late!

    Website and web service users seem very much open to trying new systems; and even letting people, typically friends, view their information. That's no big surprise, and predates websites like Facebook.

    On the other hand, websites like Facebook are increasingly opening users' data to the world - reacting to the data on their systems! - and providing users with limited opportunities to change that fact. Isn't it the case that Facebook recently added new "features", such as extended friend network update viewing, and then responded to privacy outcries by building-in limited mechanisms to control the privacy of information?

    Furthermore, users are keen to try services without really understanding the possibility that their information ISN'T private -- until it's too late. For example, the user who is rejected from a job application because of his/her photos and/or writing on Facebook is likely to restrict access in the future, as a response to the openness of their personal life.

    So: I reject Zuckerburg's notion that privacy is changing, and instead suggest that the nature in which private information is treated as private information, by companies that offer users services, is changing! Changing for the better of their wallets, without a doubt.


  • On the internet. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hyperion2010 ( 1587241 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:31PM (#30730058)

    Thats all well and good Mark, but see there is this little problem, which is that 99% of all governments in the world (and probably 90% of all users on the internet) cant distinguish Internet from IRL and in fact are actively pushing them together in ways which should be quite alarming to long time net users. Lack of privacy would be fine if the government couldnt punish you for it, but they can. Every single legal system extant today has not sufficiently dealt with the realities of cheap and fast information, they were all constructed over hundreds (some times thousands for those of you living in countries following in the tradition of Roman law and Cannon law) of years where the basic assumption was the certain physical facts about the universe protected individuals from each other and from their government. That is no longer the case, and until it is we should all be very very cautious.

  • by bit9 ( 1702770 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:48PM (#30730276)

    I've actually been considering deleting my Facebook account for some time now, even though Facebook will undoubtedly point to some weasel words in their TOS to claim that they still own my personal data, including (but, of course, "not limited to") the right to use my name, email address, birth date, photos, and all my posts as they please for eternity.

    So, even though in all likelihood, I will be unable to completely wrest my personal data away from them, I figure it's better to quit now than to keep adding more personal data to the pile. I was already seriously considering deleting my account because Facebook seemed to not give a damn about my privacy. Now that they are openly hostile to my privacy, I see no reason at all to continue having an account there.

    Despite what Zuckerberg claims, for me, Facebook was never about sharing my personal info with the world. Facebook was a way to re-connect with old friends. Period. Not to allow my info to be broadcast to the whole world, or used for marketing purposes. Zuckerberg can go fuck himself. I'm cancelling my account TODAY!

  • by nlawalker ( 804108 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @06:54PM (#30730348)

    The problem is that it can't really get that much more intuitive or flexible. It's just a pain in the ass, plain and simple.

    Part of the problem is the attention-whore factor. I think the bigger factor is that people don't use the privacy controls because they're a chore. No one wants to take the time to segment their 1000+ lists of friends and set privacy controls for each group, so they just don't. Plus, Facebook is going to continue to find ways to mine data and make it available, which means new options (including privacy options) are going to be added all the time. The defaults for these new features will always be the most permissive options, because if users have to go find the right switches to flip to enable new features, no one will use those features, and the perception will be that the site is not keeping pace with other social networking applications.

    Facebook became popular by eschewing complexity, and now it's become so large, it can't avoid it if it wants to continue to cater to people who want to maintain some aspect of privacy without turning their social network into a full time job. The GP is wrong about not being able to partition your friends list, but he is right that it's designed from the ground up to be nonprivate. The larger your network is, the more interesting the application is.

    Eventually a new, lesser-known social network application will arrive whose mission statement is to connect you with your "real friends" so you can feel safe in sharing your pictures and information. Just like Facebook, the company that owns it will drive to get larger and larger, and will encourage their users to grow their networks and share more information with more people, until they arrive where Facebook is today, and the cycle starts again.

  • by moosesocks ( 264553 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @07:02PM (#30730460) Homepage

    Please do not confuse correlation with causation.

    Even if we ignore the causation argument, depression and mental illness are particularly difficult subjects to even correlate, as the criteria for diagnosis has changed considerably over the past several decades, as well as the rate of diagnosis given social stigmas and the availability of effective treatments (consider that, before Viagra, erectile dysfunction was considered to be extremely rare, as very few men would admit to having the condition, considering there was no effective treatment available)

  • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @07:07PM (#30730522) Journal

    Since it doesn't allow you to distinguish between "work friends" and "party friends" and "closet friends"

    What you want is compartmentalization of your life. In the days of old, this wasn't so much expected, but these days it is.

    I actually have several facebook accounts. One for goofing off. One for Friends and Family. One for work. And one for my extracurricular activities related to the website run.

    I've specifically created these accounts because of rules and legal ramifications of having them mixed.

    When someone can figure out how to get me a single account, with multiple access controls, then I'll consider using just ONE FB account.

    I can't imaging trying to use Twitter like this.

  • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @07:13PM (#30730594) Homepage
    Women at Spring Break, Mardis Gras, Rock Concerts, and motorcycle rallies often expose their breasts, and more, your honor. You can't put me in jail for peeking into this woman's shower. Clearly woman don't have any expectation of privacy. Haven't you heard. Because some people choose to do it sometime, it is now the social norm!
  • by CHRONOSS2008 ( 1226498 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @07:54PM (#30731076)

    I wonder what the recent deal with the privacy commissioner of Canada was for then, a sham? did he outright lie to a Canadian gov't official and this privacy commissioner is a decent person and does the job YOU"D all like one too do ....aka fight for your rights.

  • by WCLPeter ( 202497 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @08:07PM (#30731208) Homepage

    someone else will come along and will replace it, and there'll be a mass migration to the latest thing.

    Yes, and then that new someone will have an overload of visitors and they'll need to buy more servers and bandwidth. The "customers" won't want to pay for it, just like they don't pay for it now. To keep the site from going under the new guy, who will by now have burned through most of their venture capital, will open up the floodgates on the massive data collected to advertisers. Then another new guy, who is pissed because the "site sold out", will create a new site and the whole thing starts over again.

    Now personally I don't really understand the whole "social networking" thing. Message boards are just fine, though I really miss usenet, as I can share ideas with people I'd never meet in real life and learn something interesting. But if I want to tell you about my trips, or what I'm doing in my day, or show off some really embarrassing photos, I'll tell my actual real friends whom I've met face to face thank you very much! Though I will admit I've done the "twitter" thing a bunch of times and no, I've never figured out the point to it either.

    Nope, I'm not some teeny bopper trying to be cool, nor am I a mid thirties person trying to relive a stylized nostalgic fantasy of my high-school days. I mean seriously people, are you really so deluded as to pretend the guy who shoved you into lockers between periods, while making you look like a dork in front of the cute girl from your fourth period English class you were crushing on since freshman year and never had the guts to talk to, is now your bestest awesomest friend?

    But if Facebook is so important to people, they should be willing to pay a fee to cover the expense of those servers and the costs of having real security. But what? Pay!? For something on the internet?!?! No way!

    I don't know what we can do to get people to pay for stuff online, I know I would switch websites in a hurry if Slashdot went to subscriber only, but if a site has become such a big part of a person's life, like Facebook has for some people, they should pay for it. Otherwise, they shouldn't complain when they have to trade their time freeloading on the site for some lost privacy.

    As for me, I am in my mid thirties and I have absolutely no illusions that High-School was some wonderful bed of roses whose absence leaves a gaping hole in my heart, it was a hell we all wanted to get the frak out of. Yet for those precious few that I cared about, that I could actually call "friends", I certainly still do have contact with them in real life. I don't need a Facebook or a MySpace or a Flickr or any other nonsense social networking crap. E-mail and my trusty old land line with an el cheapo GE answering machine work just fine...

    ...well, okay, I do have a Twitter [] too. ;-)

  • by j_f_chamblee ( 253315 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @08:13PM (#30731254) Homepage Journal
    He reminds me of Marc Andreesen, back when Marc was that age.

    Funny you should mention him.... []
  • Re:Better ads (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @09:14PM (#30731838) Homepage Journal
    "Here's the problem; you've never registered for Facebook, but have your friends? Your family? How many pictures of you are on Facebook regardless of your non-participation? Did one of your friends post a picture taken that night you all got drunk and maybe did something you'd prefer you mother (or a potential employer) didn't hear about?

    The problem is that your friends disregard for their privacy translates into their disregard for your privacy, and suddenly a "reasonable person" no longer has an expectation of privacy."

    Nope...fortunately my college days when drinking and ending up nekkid on the floor with a skull bong possibly in the back ground (someone elses house) were back in the days before the internet, and with 35mm cameras (no cell phones either). I made sure and got all the copies of the photos back then (hell, I was the one usually taking the pics)...and made sure I had all the negatives too.

    Frankly, I'm just waiting for someone in my past to run for senator...then some of those party pics of them might come back out, unless I get a cushy job.


    Right now...many of my friends that are privacy conscious, don't have facebook or anything like it...others that do, I've told NOT to put me in there, and they respect that.

    I'd not join...especially with any real identifiable information....but so that I can reach others' sites...I thought about setting up an account with an untraceable nym email account....and only access it through TOR...figuring that would circumvent any way for them to trace me at Facebook.

  • Go a step further, include some copyrighted information in your personal profile, and if/when you want them to remove all your data, submit a DMCA take-down to your "online self" via the nice staff at Facebook ;)

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Monday January 11, 2010 @11:34PM (#30732930)

    This is a choice you made.

    But that's the crux of the problem, isn't it: is that actually true?

    Social networking sites such as Facebook rely on building a comprehensive network of information that affects each individual, much of which is provided indirectly and not by, or even with the consent of, that individual.

    Privacy serves an important social function, and always has done. Modern technology, with its global communication systems and massive databases, is providing new ways to collect and process personal data that have profound implications for the preservation of privacy because of the combination of indirect sources now available.

    But it probably takes a generation for society to understand such fundamental shifts in technological capabilities. In the meantime, technology marches on, and not everyone appreciates the significance of what they're doing by using it. Often, in the case of social networking, either those people are young and impressionable, or they simply aren't fully aware of important facts (something Facebook, in particular, is very good at being sneaky with).

    [Zuckerberg] said that expectations had changed, and people now default to sharing online, not privacy.

    Well, sure, this week, because they haven't worked it out yet. Get back to us in a few years. Social networking is by its nature a more resilient trend than those that have gone before, because it relies on peer pressure for its power. But even then, so far it's rare for any community-based site to survive as the trendy choice for very long. After a while, the novelty wears off, and people's scepticism about all-powerful services kicks in.

    I expect both Google and Facebook to learn this the hard way in the not too distant future. My friends have long since stopped asking me to join services like Facebook. Recently, a small but growing number seem to be turning away, tired of the idea of sharing everything with hundreds of "friends" they don't really know as anything other than a profile picture and a news feed.

    The fact that Facebook doesn't highlight when people leave and a lot of people have so many "friends" that they don't notice when some go missing is masking this effect, but that doesn't make it any less real. I'll wager people like Zuckerberg don't much like that idea.

  • Re:Better ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dynamo52 ( 890601 ) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @03:17AM (#30734132)
    Immediately after the changes to the privacy policy friends lists were available publicly. After an initial outcry they quickly added the option to hide friends from your profile page but the information was still accessible through a backdoor url tied to the facebook user ID. Using this url, a few friends and I started messaging everybody on Mark Zuckerberg's friends list. It took about 8 hours before they again restricted the policy to only allow friends of friends to see your list if you chose to have it hidden. Finally, last week they made it available only to friends. Note that before the policy change, users had the ability to choose which friends could access the list. Your fan pages are still publicly available however.
  • Re:Better ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by selven ( 1556643 ) on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @06:44AM (#30735026)

    The problem is that Facebook has some "share this information only with close friends" settings, and people who use them do have some expectation of privacy for that data. Unfortunately these settings have about 5 million security holes in them.

  • Re:Better ads (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wamatt ( 782485 ) * on Tuesday January 12, 2010 @09:21AM (#30735996)
    Why does it have to be that way though? You may for example, have a bare minimum profile, with very little public info on it, for the purpose for keeping in touch with friends with maybe a few family photos tagged. But those friends can tag you in photo's *they* upload and now have violated your privacy. Yes you can turn it off altogether. But what if you want to keep tagging but merely moderate it? You cant. Its very crude and I'm sure they can improve it to be more reasonable.

"Remember, extremism in the nondefense of moderation is not a virtue." -- Peter Neumann, about usenet