Posted May 26, 2010 3:25 pm by with 1 comment

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Mark Zuckerberg and other Facebook heavies stepped up today to address their new privacy controls. This happens a day before they take the message to DC in a less than public forum. I suspect that’s where the real magic will happen which is what this is all really about: keeping Facebook off the radar of government and private sector groups who think that ‘Facebook privacy’ is an oxymoron.

On the Facebook blog, Zuckerberg tells in the first paragraph

When we started Facebook, we built it around a few simple ideas. People want to share and stay connected with their friends and the people around them. When you have control over what you share, you want to share more. When you share more, the world becomes more open and connected.

It’s the whole ‘people around them’ that keeps cropping up in all the Facebook-speak about privacy that makes people wonder whether this is really the end of the privacy ordeal or just another deft maneuver to avoid losing significant revenue opportunities.

He continues:

Finally and perhaps most importantly, I am pleased to say that with these changes the overhaul of Facebook’s privacy model is complete. If you find these changes helpful, then we plan to keep this privacy framework for a long time. That means you won’t need to worry about changes. (Believe me, we’re probably happier about this than you are.)

If there was ever a TBD in the social media space this is it.

As for the press conference? ZDNet reports

The key points from the Facebook press conference:

• Zuckerberg said the company’s changes were a reflection that Facebook listens.
• However, he noted that a lot of the privacy hubbub was overblown based on user data—the News Feed feature caused a much larger backlash. In fact, more people were worried about Facebook charging money than privacy.
• But Zuckerberg said Facebook’s privacy changes were designed to put the flap to bed for a while. Settings today will apply to new features in the future.
• “We’re really going to try not to have another backlash,” said Zuckerberg.

While there is a lot more to this than just a few clips here and there the one that I find the most interesting is the following from the blog post.

On a personal note, I just turned 26 years old a few days ago. I started Facebook when I was 19 and it’s amazing to look back at how it has evolved. There have been a lot of changes over the years as we’ve continued to innovate, and I appreciate that you have all stuck with us. Each time we make a change we try to learn from past lessons, and each time we make new mistakes too. We are far from perfect, but we always try our hardest to build the best service for you and for the world. So I just want to say thanks.

I don’t know about the rest of you but this ‘boy wunderkind’ reminder is played out. I don’t care how young he is or was during any of this, do you? It feels like an attempt to make this privacy mishaps just a function of youthful (fill in the blank). Because he’s just an “Aw, shucks!” young guy is just not even close to pertinent anymore. It’s done. This is big business and when any company plays fast and loose with people’s privacy there are no real excuses that will work anymore. Just stop screwing up and everyone will be happy.

Your take?

  • Privacy has always been the issue of Facebook’s greatest weakness, particularly I think it is still inexcusable that there is no proliferation on the importance of the privacy of your data. Thank you for this valuable information.