On the public relations front, Mark Zuckerberg is having a tough year.
Ever since he unveiled Open Graph, an initiative to
integrate Facebook with the web at large, his critics have been louder than ever. Technology bloggers are deleting their accounts,
users are planning "Quit Facebook" days and even the mainstream
media is shaking its fist.
Without a doubt, Facebook's aggressive expansion raises pressing privacy concerns. But maybe, just maybe, the critics have it wrong. Mashable's Ben Parr gives an invigorating defense of Facebook. His argument hinges on a widespread, if contentious understanding of Internet privacy:
Privacy is dead, and social media is holding the smoking gun. Facebook, social media, and even the web itself are designed to share information. While you can be (justifiably) angry about Facebook’s lack of communication over the privacy issue, to believe that information on Facebook or other social networks is inherently private or “yours” is just wrong.
I don’t care if you have taken every precaution to keep your information private to just a few people: all it takes is one friend copying and pasting that information and posting it somewhere else to “breach” the privacy wall.
The truth is that the privacy wall didn’t exist in the first place. The web makes the transmission of information easier than ever. Social media makes spreading that information an even simpler task. An embarrassing picture can go from Facebook upload to public blog post in a matter of minutes. Even if you don’t participate in any type of social media, someone can still take what they know about you and put it online.
The web is a network of information, and information has no walls...
Protecting our privacy starts with us, not Facebook. While the company should have more clearly communicated its recent privacy changes, if you didn’t want your pictures shared with the rest of the world, you shouldn’t upload them in the first place.