Zuckerberg: Users’ Attitude Toward Privacy Has Changed

In an interview, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has defended the recent privacy settings change.  Since one month, Facebook members’ personal data are publicly accessible by default.  “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.”  If Zuckerberg would re-found Facebook today, the users’ personal data would be set to Public from beginning on.

“We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are,” Zuckerberg stated.  Many companies would be trapped with their Terms of Usage—a radical change of privacy settings for 350 million users is a change that not many companies would have done.  However, Zuckerberg considers it vital for Facebook to “always keep a beginner’s mind and what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.”

Marshall Kirkpatrick criticized Zuckerbergs statement: “Your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, Friends List, and all the pages you subscribe to are now publicly available information on Facebook.”  And: “I don’t buy Zuckerberg’s argument that Facebook is now only reflecting the changes that society is undergoing. I think Facebook itself is a major agent of social change and by acting otherwise Zuckerberg is being arrogant and condescending.”

The US-American Electronie Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and nine other Privacy Organizations and Better Business Bureaus complained about Facebook’s recent privacy changes, too.  They have raised an official complaint toward the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).  The data protection officers see a violation of privacy rules, of the law of the U.S. Supreme Court and of the OECD international conventions.


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