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Facebook Backlash: Mark Zuckerberg’s Response

by Melissa Smich on May 27, 2010

Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, has published an article on the Washington Post where he replies to concerns and the huge backlash over Facebook privacy laws that have come around in the last fortnight.

He mentions that they’re aiming to give less complex controls. I see what he means here though. They give lots of complex controls because they thought people wanted total control and to be able to tweak what they wanted here and there. Maybe a lot of people want a big button that just lets them hide lots of things with one simple click.

Facebook has started rolling out the new options this week which hope to quash the anger from people feeling that Facebook has “sold out” and has been selling their privacy. Things like this go viral and when they do people will catch on quickly. Facebooks’ network has been used in the last week or so to ironically help people quit Facebook with lots of new groups and pages created around the subject.

A small study of 1500 people found that 16% quit Facebook over concerns to do with their privacy and 60% said they were considering quitting. I think this is an alarming statistic for Facebook which has more than 100 million users, although the small sample might be very bias here.

On one side, people are saying that nothing on the Internet in this digital age is truly private and on the other side people are saying that this shouldn’t make any difference and we’re all due our privacy. Their are lots of options in Facebooks’ settings. You just go to Account at the top of the screen and then click on Privacy Settings. It’s simple and offers a lot of small tweaks.

You can stop people being able to find you in Facebook search, only share certain photos with certain people of your choosing entirely etc.

Many people still want to use Facebook but don’t want the privacy concerns. There are lots of small systems you can plug into so that you can have your cake and eat it too. I personally deleted 99% of my photos and information about me from my profile page and left it with the bare essentials. I also minimize using Facebook to organising events and chatting to friends.

People are moving to Twitter a lot now too after leaving Facebook. There is a big information-less gap in their lives and it needs its feed! Twitter has a lot less privacy concerns and this is mainly because it doesn’t have the extensive profiling features of Facebook. People are decentralizing from Facebook too and this is also a great idea. Using things like Flickr or Picasa for photos. If you use one service like Facebook for everything then every time they make a policy change, everything you have on the site is susceptible to that. Not if you have other options though.

People are concerned that others will be able to access information about them that they don’t want them to see. This could include relationships that they don’t want others to see, kids who don’t want their parents to see embarrassing party photos or hiding your political affiliation from workmates. All legitimate concerns.

Facebook has done right here though. They’ve responded immediately and are straight to work changing the options. In a way, they had to before this got out of control. Either way, Facebook is more than a website and after selling $200 million in shares to a Russian investment vehicle last year, Facebook looks like it’s experiencing some growing pains.

If you want to learn more about the privacy changes made in response to the backlash, check out these links.
Facebook’s Changes Haven’t Satisfied Privacy Critics
Facebook’s New Privacy Settings: Here’s What Changed
Facebook Privacy Briefing: Zuckerberg Shares that Privacy Does Matter
Facebook’s New Privacy Controls: The Good and the Shameful
Q and A: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s Chief

What do you think about the changes? are they good enough? are you a critic or a supporter? Let us know by leaving a comment – and don’t forget to join our Facebook community and follow us on Twitter!

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{ 5 comments }

Stoddard May 28, 2010 at 8:13 AM

Like the author of this article, I have removed most of my photos and other information from my facebook account as well. I’m too concerned about strange people making their way into my info.

WrigleyF May 28, 2010 at 8:19 AM

I agree that Faceboook has done the right thing here. Whether or not they deserve all the criticism they’ve been getting lately, at least they are being responsive to their users and taking steps to protect people.

dmozu June 9, 2010 at 4:27 AM

tech companies from start-up to Fortune 500, nothing was more satisfying than the first $50 donation that came through the site

PotsNPans June 21, 2010 at 11:55 AM

I might be in the minority here, but I feel that Facebook already has more than enough privacy controls, and that if you don’t want someone to see something you just shouldn’t put it online.

Texas2Step August 18, 2011 at 9:24 AM

Everything popular faces a backlash. If I were Zuckerberg I wouldn’t worry unless the number of users dropped significantly.

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