Your privacy? You don't even want it according to Facebook founder

11 January 2010

When it comes to privacy and accountability, people always demand the former for themselves and the latter for everyone else.” -David Brin

People bang on about privacy all the time. Celebrities and politicians demand it and we scratch away at the resistance until we get the goods. Of course, our own personal privacy is something altogether different because we don't go out of our way to court the spotlight like they do.

Unless of course, you include our online presence.

It's this line of thinking - that essentially, anyone with an hefty(ish) online presence is asking for attention and thereby not fussed about privacy - that has prompted Facebook found Mark Zuckerberg claiming that people no longer have an expectation of privacy.

In The Guardian, they've reported that Zuckerberg's talk at the Crunchie awards in San Francisco this weekend, say the slip of a lad saying that privacy was no longer a "social norm".

"People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people," he said. "That social norm is just something that has evolved over time."

Zuckerberg said that the rise of social media reflected changing attitudes among ordinary people, adding that this radical change has happened in just a few years.

"When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was, 'why would I want to put any information on the internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?'. Then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way, and just all these different services that have people sharing all this information."

It's hardly surprising that he should say that, given that Facebook recently changed the privacy settings of the 350 million users who use the site.

Of course, access to our info is how Facebook makes coins. Through Beacon, your activities are tracked online which targets ads at you personally. This controversial method of vending lead to a lawsuit for $9.5m.

All this, according to Zuckerberg, is how Facebook stays relevant: "A lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they've built. Doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do. But we viewed that as a really important thing, 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."

So yeah... you don't care about your privacy. Not a jot. Right? Speak to us in the comments about how right or wrong this all is.


  • Bill G.
    He's a tosser. And I hope he gets some kind of privacy come uppance.
  • Ben M.
    his "beginners mindset" is suspiciously similar to how Myspace started. You remember Myspace. No, sure you do, come on.
  • Poor B.
    I've sent him an e-mail asking for his bank details. That might be a bit of privacy he wants to keep private?!?
  • Sopa C.
    Right, I'm off to look through the cunt's dustbins and see what I come up with.
  • Jase
    Stupid people deserve everything they get. If they aren't smart enough to figure out how to set their facebook stuff to private and get caught ripping into someone they shouldn't (employer /colleague / employee / customer / client) and get fired / disciplined / slated for their actions then its their fault. I'd say I'm careful with what I post, in retrospect, I'm just not a moron. As for Beacon and their information / tracking, let them do it. Is it not a price to pay for using a free service and giving them info? I've probably clicked on 0.1% of those tailored ads of Facebook, so it can't be that effective (although, 0.1% does build up with 350m+ users).
  • Jen
    I'm smart enough to figure out my privacy settings, but Facebook is intent on taking everybody's privacy choices, away so how smart or not you may or may not be is irrelevant and missing the point. Are we going to keep saying "The internet is a public place, you deserve what you get" ? Missing the point again. The internet is here to stay, it's not a choice. And we should treat users with respect. That means acknowledging privacy, not ignoring it. The internet and privacy are not mutually exclusive. That mindset has to change. Why the hell should i have to abstein altogether, to feed one man's world view? I shouldn't.
  • charitynjw
    I don't mind people knowing who I am. Signed, Ivor L F N Hampton
  • Copyright B.
    [...] digital future is in one fat mess, as the masters of social media look to rob us of our privacy, our government dreams up new ways to punish unlawful downloading and the traditional dead tree [...]
  • Jase
    @Jen They never "took" people's privacy settings. The pop-up made it very clear of their intent and the level of customisation on Facebook privacy is better than most. Seriously, Settings > Privacy Settings...look at it. Now look at another social networking website. Come on, you can now change the privacy settings of status updates on the fly! Social Networking IS a choice; you don't have to have Facebook. The internet is here to stay, but it will continue to evolve in ways we probably thought impossible 10 years from ______ happening (insert revolution). At this point in its life, people need to understand its potential and how to use it professionally. If you post "my boss is a complete dick" on your unlocked Facebook account, you'd be a fool to think that there's zero chance of seeing a P45 on your desk in the morning.
  • Jen
    @ Jase. Social networking (in its many forms) is here to stay too, it's very much a part of this evolving internet revolution. The subject of privacy is one that extends well beyond Facebook. You seem to be suggesting that the only breaches of privacy on Facebook are self inflicted, which is to misunderstand the implications of all the new Facebook privacy settings, and the wider context of this debate.
  • Yet B.
    [...] eh? Buncha bastards. Founder of the vanity-site Mark Zuckerberg thinks you don’t want your privacy… and then there was some unsurprising news about our accounts… and now [...]

What do you think?

Your comment