Thursday, February 19, 2009

Facebook and Privacy

A week ago Mark Zuckerberg wrote a post stating thatOn Facebook, People Own and Control Their Information. And yet a few paragraphs into the post he writes:

One of the questions about our new terms of use is whether Facebook can use this information forever. When a person shares something like a message with a friend, two copies of that information are created—one in the person's sent messages box and the other in their friend's inbox. Even if the person deactivates their account, their friend still has a copy of that message. We think this is the right way for Facebook to work, and it is consistent with how other services like email work. One of the reasons we updated our terms was to make this more clear.

Mr. Zuckerberg many people disagree with you. Facebook is not perceived of as email, where you send information to others. It is perceived to be a place where you can put up information, a journal so to speak, and share parts of it with friends and other parts with the world at large. Facebook is the medium by which the sharing takes place and as such *should* not have a say in the matter any more than does a piece of paper has a say in who can see a love note written on it. The perception is wrong, of course, that is why there is outrage.

Facebook has many problems. Privacy is the worst of those problems. As with email one should not put anything on Facebook which you would not be willing to have the whole world be aware of.

When a truly private system arises Facebook will reap what is has sown and go the way of earlier social networking sites. I don't wish this on Facebook, only that they recognize the importance of privacy. Today's teenagers will become tomorrows adults and they will not want their high school angst and insecurities displayed to their adult friends.

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