The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, went on stage Saturday, joining TechCrunch founder Michale Arrington at the Crunchies. Zuckerberg talked about Facebook, the social media revolution, and privacy. He flatly stated that the age of privacy is over now and if he were to start Facebook as a new startup today, he would make user information public from the get-go.
Explosive words, for sure, and his explanations of why this is are being analyzed and re-analyzed by websites everywhere. Why? Well, Facebook is the largest social networking venue on the planet and their view of privacy is likely to become the view of all others as well.
Arrington asked Zuckerberg where privacy is going on Facebook and around the Web. In response, the Facebook founder spent about a minute explaining that blogging and similar endeavors have taken off in the past five or six years and with it, more and more people are putting themselves out there, on the Internet, sharing their personal information.
In short, Zuckerberg believes that the social norm has evolved to the point where people are now much more comfortable sharing themselves with total strangers online. He then tried to spin what Facebook did with their privacy settings changes as being “revolutionary” as a “lot of companies wouldn’t” do what they did.
The Guardian points out that this is a far cry from what Zuckerberg has promoted for the past few years, only recently changing from “privacy first” to “publicity first.”
Chris Matyszczyk at CNET puts it more bluntly, stating that Facebook employees will all leave the company one day for a career in politics, so good are they are spinning the lies.
I’m with Chris on this one. When Facebook first announced the privacy changes, immediate controversy rose. When we covered that here at Rev2, we also saw that the changes were all benevolent, as FB might have wanted us to believe. They were commercially-driven, profit decisions instead.
So this latest spin, as Chris puts it, is definitely just that. More spin. Facebook, of course, is a private enterprise and, as such, exists to make a profit. But why are they so adamant about pretending that this was not the primary reason for their changes? Wouldn’t we all have more respect for them if they just came clean?