More of What You Need to Know about Facebook and Privacy

Marshall Kirkpatrick of ReadWriteWeb continues his excellent coverage of the questions and concerns arising from Facebook’s recent actions around user privacy. He adds some background, conversations with Facebook’s management team that pre-date Zuckerberg’s more recent, inflammatory to some remarks.

Marshall gathers, reiterates and refines his previously stated rebuttals of Facebook’s rationalizations around their shift from private to public data. He also links to and quotes from another response posted over the weekend, from thinker Nick Carr. I am not sure I entirely buy into Carr’s class based view of privacy but I whole heartedly concur with his contention that the shift potentially jeopardizes our legal protections around online privacy.

There’s a deeper danger here. The continuing denigration of privacy may begin to warp our understanding of what “privacy” really means.

Carr goes on to cite another favorite source of mine on the subject, Bruce Schneier. Well worth reading if you are concerned about Facebook specifically and/or the larger ramifications for online privacy.

In some personal correspondence, a listener of mine suggested the comparison to Twitter here is quite compelling. Twitter is pretty much entirely public, in comparison to the weirdly evolving semi-private space of Facebook. If Facebook really wanted to shift to a public space, there is a clear, easy to understand and existing model for doing so. I have to imagine their calculus on the matter includes that truly becoming a public space would be a huge upheaval not only likely to incite user revolt but also likely to spur outright abandonment. I think that, as much as anything, may be why they are trying to tread this odd fine line between being a private or a public space.

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