Facebook privacy: Zuckerberg overruled?

By Richi Jennings. May 19, 2010.

The Facebook privacy backlash continues. Now fights are breaking out, as internal debate heats up over what to do. Mark Zuckerberg could be making an embarrassing climbdown soon. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers graze absently like ruminants on a vast Serengeti of information.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Chris Cotter's ex-wife's wedding dress...

    Jessica E. Vascellaro says Facebook "can't afford not to act":

The site's privacy travails have ... put pressure on [CEO] Zuckerberg, who argues ... that its users should be more open with their information. He has at times over-ruled employees. ... Executives and other employees have hunkered down ... debating how to address the backlash. ... Some changes to Facebook's privacy settings could be announced as soon as this week.


Facebook has launched new features every few months, frequently provoking privacy concerns. ... [But] Mr. Zuckerberg ... believes users should and will want to make more information about themselves public.

Patricio Robles climbs aboard the cluetrain:

Being likeable is important. ... Likability helps foster ... trust. ... How many individuals and companies do you dislike, but trust? Probably very few. ... If your customers (or users) trust you, the odds are far higher that they'll stick by you. ... Even at the individual level, it's no surprise that the best salespeople ... are charismatic.


On the internet, ... word of mouth spreads fast, so if you're a total jerk, word will get out. ... Hopefully Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg will figure that out.

Nick O'Neill agrees:

I’m still wondering why Mark Zuckerberg ... hasn’t made a formal announcement. ... Perhaps this is a test of Mark’s ability to delegate some of the communication ... however I’m pretty sure that most people want to hear ... from Mark’s own mouth (or at least a blog post).

Ryan Singel tracks Facebook's public statements:

Facebook will be rolling out new “simplistic” privacy options for its users [soon] according to Facebook's ... Tim Sparapani. ... [I] suppose that at least new users will be given some broad options to choose from along the lines of “I’m an exhibitionist,” “I like sharing with a lot of people, but not everybody” and “I’m a private person who just wants to share with friends and family.”


Sparapani also touted Facebook’s recent unveiling of the “Like” button. ... “We have customized every single website out there for people who choose to have it. ... That is an extraordinary gift to the public.”

Which made Danny Sullivan incandescent with rage:

That’s an extraordinary rewriting of history. ... Facebook didn’t just suddenly invent personalized web sites, and it’s grating to hear a spokesperson try and create that myth.


Please don’t rewrite history. Please don’t make claims that are patently untrue. And please don’t suggest that your business moves are about making “extraordinary gifts” to the public.

Meanwhile, Alex Wilhelm mentions Quit Facebook Day on May 31:

Exactly what form these controls will manifest themselves in has yet to be fully released. ... The question becomes is this too little, too late?


Some users have organized a day to quit Facebook as a group to protest the website’s alleged privacy abuses. While they are on the extreme end of the discussion, their opinion need to noted as partially indicative.

And Finally...

My Ex-Wife's Wedding Dress

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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