Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Blink or a Wink?

I entitled my last blog "And Facebook Blinked", they heard all the complaints and the fact a number of early adopters were now opting out, and some quite high profile individuals as well. So today there was a press conference and the co-founder Mark Zuckerberg announced sweeping changes to the privacy setting for the site. He announced the changes in his blog.

He announced what the default of Facebook will be:
While many users have called for Facebook to change its default privacy settings to an entirely opted-out model, Zuckerberg explained that the company has chosen not to do so. "When people are able to share more, that leads to a world that's more open and connected," said the Facebook co-founder. "People want to share information, and they're best able to do that when they have control over what they share."

However, as Zuckerberg noted, the company has strong opinions about how sharing on the Web should be done. So the default settings will allow status updates, photos, and posts to be shared with everyone and photos you're tagged in, your religious and political view, and your birthday to be seen by friends of friends, while personal contact information will be kept private unless you alter that setting.

You know in a way I have no problem with their philosophy of openness and sharing beyond just family and friends. The difficulty is that did everyone understand that when they signed on, or did they simply expect everything they possted to be shared only with those who were on their friends list. To quote Stother Martin, "what we got here is a failure to communicate".

Perhaps the most important is the first change:
First, we've built one simple control to set who can see the content you post. In a couple of clicks, you can set the content you've posted to be open to everyone, friends of your friends or just your friends.

This control will also apply to settings in new products we launch going forward. So if you decide to share your content with friends only, then we will set future settings to friends only as well. This means you won't have to worry about new settings in the future.

This single control makes it easier to set who can see all your content at once, but you can still use all of the same granular controls we've offered if you'd like.

I should point out to you the article: "A Bill of Rights for Facebook Users". Here is what we should expect of Facebook when it comes to our material.

Overall, it seems people are generally pleased with the steps taken by Facebook.

I think no one would have challenges with Facebook's desire to make money and to consider our information as the source of monetization. After all, what company doesn't? After all, all those surveys we do, every magazine and newspaper we subscribe to sells their mailing list to companies that produce goods and services which would appeal to the demographics of the subscriber. You will often see such notifications on your notices of subscription. However there needs to be a strong opt-out ability and it should be simple and found without much of a search of the website. We need it easy because we don't have time to go through a long and complicated document to explain what we need to do.

Another good point from all this, it seems Mark listened. I suppose one a lot of this could be dismissed as the results of a very young person not fully understanding all he is doing. If this is so, then he needs a mentor, to help him with his myopic view of privacy and the changing of the terms of service.

If anything, hopefully he will realize that he must tread carefully when it comes to our privacy.

By the way, for the record I plan to stay with Facebook. So look me up.

1 comment:

HighDef said...

It's interesting that Zuckerberg made this announcement just 5 days before "Quit Facebook Day" and that the changes will be rolled out over the next couple weeks. Make me suspect Z's motivation and sincerity.