You’ve been getting a lot of flack recently from tech pundits about the liberties that Facebook has taken with regards to user privacy. And you’ve responded without apology, but with indications of placating the mouthpieces.
Good for you, but if you ask me, I’d say don’t apologize whatsoever.
In fact, if I were you, I’d completely rape any and all personal user privacy on the Facebook site and serve it up for all to see. Out of the 400 million users you have now, only a couple of million would even notice or give shit. What do you care?
People have a choice: use Facebook or don’t.
There’s a very clear way to simplify the privacy process instead of asking users to micromanage each subset of their information – eliminate the choice. Like any website, if it’s on the FB, anyone can see it, you can hold it, advertisers can scrape it and your users will go their merry way, playing Farmville or starting up slacktivist groups that people can join to assuage their social guilt.
You’re offering a free service. While the moral pundit minority may express their outrage, you should choose to ignore them.
I publish several podcasts and blogs which include social networking content, and as much as I don’t like the fact you’ve been arbitrarily switching privacy settings, I don’t blame you for it. Hell, you can make a boatload of money by serving up all this data to advertisers, so why wouldn’t you?
I honestly believe that by forcing all the tech pundits to run from the site, you won’t have to worry about them anymore. Most people are stuck using FB because their neo-Luddite family members have finally crawled up out of the Web 1.0 ooze to sign up and become their “friends”. Those in the know can’t afford to ditch FB now because Uncle Mort and Aunt Gertrude will feel slighted and not come over for holiday dinner next year.
Just lay it all out on the initial sign up page. Be blunt. Something like:
If you click YES, realize that EVERYTHING you share, even the crap you think might be private, is going to be stored on a hard drive somewhere and advertisers will use the information to try and sell you shit.
Do you accept?
YES or NO
You’ll still get 95% of anyone who hits this point, because people love to share pictures of themselves in Las Vegas, or spend hours tilling virtual cabbage, or ROTFL while sharing clips of Glee with each other. When the pundits abandon you for some other service, you will be able to reap in the rewards of the people who either don’t know or don’t care, and either generates the same amount of data for the advertisers.
Whichever way you choose to go, good luck. I hope you gain respectability with your upcoming starring role in Zombieland 2: Harvard Headshots.