At the beginning of December, Facebook announced it was eliminating its popular regional networks and substantially revamping its privacy settings. Bloggers were initially wary, but now that the changes have been implemented, a full-throttle backlash has begun. The staunchest of the social network's recent detractors is arguably Gawker blogger Ryan Tate, who called the new privacy changes "nefarious," a "conspiracy" and an "anti-privacy plot" long before it was in vogue. On Monday, he authored his harshest tirade yet, accusing of Facebook of deliberately misleading, exploiting and betraying its 350 million users. As he puts it:
The company has, in short, turned evil...Tate argues that the change is far worse than previous "embarrassing privacy snafus," but predicted that Facebook would make a killing unless users cancelled their accounts en masse. Facebook, for its part, has yet to hit back at Tate or Gawker, although it appeared to be briefly blocking some of the Manhattan gossip blog's content.
It's not just that Facebook is tricking its users; it's betraying them. It did so when it literally communalized private friend lists that people spent years accumulating, without which their accounts would be useless. It did so when it mislead them by saying it wanted to enhance their privacy, when the real goal was growth and profit. And it continues to do so every day it does not respond to the loud fedback of its users (and the implicit feedback of its own CEO).