Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says society has changed its mind when it comes to privacy. “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time,” he said during a recent interview.
The audacity of those sentences is awe-inspiring. In an off-handed way, Zuckerberg is saying the company plans to ignore the millions of users who are worried about the company’s changing privacy policies. If that bugs you, then you’re the one that is out of step — Facebook is just keeping up with a changing social norm. It’s not them. It’s you.
I don’t know if Zuckerberg is right or not. My online life is an open book — but then again, I’m a writer. I live off the attention of other people. As far down the rabbit hole as I am, I still don’t think that’s normal. Most of the people I know still expect to have some control over their online lives. It’s not that they’re not aware that Facebook is semipublic. They just expect to be able to control what they’re sharing.
If Zuckerberg commits to this new battle plan and makes it stick, I can see one of two things happening. Either:
A) Another network uses privacy controls as a way to compete with Facebook, splitting the online world between the shares and the share-nots.
B) Acting as if privacy is dead becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and eventually everyone shares everything.
Is Zuckerberg right about changing attitudes toward online privacy? Do you expect a degree of privacy on social networks? Do you think becoming more public will help or hurt Facebook?
Image credit, dolgachov via iStock