Facebook CEO: ‘We’ve made mistakes’ on privacy
by Laurie Segall, CNNMay 24, 2010: 9:40 AM ET
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) — Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, ending his silence about recent privacy controversies, has admitted to making some mistakes and promised to fix the problems.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. The truth is, generally speaking, facebook, even with mistakes, is more secure than the internet as a whole. You can find out anything about me online if you dig. (and for me personally, you don’t have to dig deep). This is a reality we have come to accept. Any of us who have blogs, comment on blogs, have a website or even use email seems to understand this reality and consider it an acceptable risk.
The internet is to us, as a public building or street is in the brick and mortar world. I accept certain risks to my privacy and person when I leave my house. When I’m at the market, someone could recognize me and stop and want to chat even if I don’t like them and I’ll have to try to wriggle out of it somehow. I could be assaulted, I could have an accident, etc. These are all acceptable risks to me since I’m not agoraphobic.
My house is something altogether different. I consider it a space of secure privacy and safety. The risks to my safety and privacy decrease (generally speaking, all things being equal) when I’m in my house (or that’s how I feel, I have no idea if that’s statistically true but I would imagine it is taking all outside risks into account) as long as I take appropriate household safety precautions. The only people who enter my home are those I invite in. The only people who see me at my most vulnerable are those who are allowed. There is a risk of forced entry but it’s low.*
The internet is to the world outside my home as facebook is to the space inside my home. I think much of the anger directed toward facebook/Zuckerberg lately is a result of people feeling incredibly violated. It’s like we gave our house keys to a friend and that friend admitted a burglar while we were away. Should we have trusted Zuckerberg & co. as we would a friend? Perhaps not. But most of us aren’t conspiracy theorists or paranoid people. Most of us trust that something will work as it claims and that people will honor their commitments and responsibilities.
So I guess the question is this – will facebook continue to be the inside/secure space of our internet lives as our homes are in our brick and mortar lives or do we need to just lump facebook into the rest of the internet and abandon those perceptions?
*caveat – some people use facebook primarily or even exclusively for business networking and promotion – this changes the facebook dynamic and for them, I think it becomes much more like a public space…or maybe a good comparison would be a networking coffee event – slightly more “secure” than the public market but less so than a home.