Thursday, September 07, 2006

Zuckerberg Speaks!

The man who created Facebook... I mean stole it... has responded to The Facebook Riots in a way that recalls the words of such great leaders as President George "Iraq is Peachy" Bush.

We’re not oblivious of the Facebook groups popping up about this... And we agree, stalking isn’t cool; but being able to know what’s going on in your friends’ lives is. This is information people used to dig for on a daily basis, nicely reorganized and summarized so people can learn about the people they care about... You don’t miss the photo album about your friend’s trip to Nepal. Maybe if your friends are all going to a party, you want to know so you can go too. Facebook is about real connections to actual friends, so the stories coming in are of interest to the people receiving them, since they are significant to the person creating them.
This is pretty naive. Maybe Mark really believes only tight, close buddies are friends on facebook. But that would mean he has no grasp on what he has created. This is not simply a "friend tracker". Facebook is a social tool, useful for interacting with aquaintances, coworkers, intriguing strangers. Not everybody's "facebook friend" is a good friend. Therefore, we don't want every single thing we do on facebook (and the time we do it) recorded in an easy in-your-face list. It's unsettling. Sure, these kind of things were available to see before... but they weren't like "BAM" in-your-face. The need to dig offered some level of comfort. Now the veil has been lifted. And its making alot of people uncomfortable.

If I want to know something, I'll seek it out. I don't want to be confronted with every minute detail of my high school classmates life every time i sign in. And I don't want them to be confronted with every minute detail of my life evrytime they sign in. The new feature makes me, and everyone else reluctant to ever update our profiles. How is that good for facebook?

Let me put it this way. When I put a photo up, I want the friends who are interested enough to "dig" to see it. I don't want every Tom, Dick, and Harriet to see it when they sign on to Facebook. Also, check out the previous post. Sometimes its better things stay buried.

We didn’t take away any privacy options. [Your privacy options remain the same.] The privacy rules haven’t changed. None of your information is visible to anyone who couldn’t see it before the changes. If you turned off your wall to non-friends, no one who is not your friend will be able to see a post on your wall. Your friends can still see it; it hasn’t changed. Secret groups and secret events remain secret from other people. Pokes and messages remain as private interactions. Nothing you do is being broadcast; rather, it is being shared with people who care about what you do—your friends.
More naivete... especially in that last line. Zuckerberg doesn't seem to grasp the concept of "Facebook Friends" and "Friends." He doesn't seem to acknowledge that there's a difference in making information available and making it prominent. At the very least, this should be an "opt-in" system. Preferably, the idea should be scrapped altogether. It emphasizes the downsides of facebook (lack of privacy), and makes people reluctant to use the service. How is that helpful?

We’re going to continue to improve Facebook, and we want you to be part of that process. Test out the products and continue to provide us feedback. Use your privacy settings so you can feel most comfortable using the site.
I'm sure there are some who love this feature. Mark Zuckerberg may be one of them. But let those people do what they will. Just let the rest of us OUT. We want no part of it.

One final note. Privacy settings on Facebook are complicated and "all or nothing." Most of us are ok with having our entire profiles revealed to our facebook friends (even those we don't know that well). But having them broadcast as "NEWS," is very disconcerting.

I started a Facebook group, ironically. "Mark Zuckerberg Ruined My Innocence When He Changed Facebook." I feel that's the most accurate way of putting it. We've never before been so aware how much someone could tell about us from a simple, unadorned profile.

The world suddenly seems a very scary place.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Adam, on the topic of "Speaks!" and crooks, give us some ideas over at Eucleians Speak. E.S.

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