Zuckerberg Eats His Openness Dog Food; De-Privatizes His Own Profile

from the some-kool-aid-with-that? dept

There's been a lot of talk -- mostly negative -- about Facebook's new privacy settings that try to push users (in somewhat confusing ways) towards revealing a lot more info about themselves. There is a reasonable fear that this will have serious unintended consequences -- especially since Facebook was originally designed and used mainly for more private communications between people who knew each other. Opening that up -- especially if you don't quite realize all you're exposing -- could be problematic. Kashmir Hill discovered, however, that Facebook founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg is eating this new Facebook openness dog food by making most of his profile wide open. This is a massive change from before, when he was extremely private with his Facebook profile. While there was some question of whether or not Zuckerberg did this on purpose, he has clarified it with a statement on his Facebook profile noting:
For those wondering, I set most of my content to be open so people could see it. I set some of my content to be more private, but I didn't see a need to limit visibility of pics with my friends, family or my teddy bear :)
While I have mixed feelings (well, mostly apathy) towards the whole open/closed question for Facebook, at the very least it's a good thing that the company's CEO and the person most identified with the company does appear to be embracing where the company believes it needs to go. It certainly would raise a lot more questions if he had gone the other way. What may be most interesting -- though not being a "friend" of Zuckerberg, I'll never know -- is if anyone notices if he begins to change the way he uses the site because of this.

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  • icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), 11 Dec 2009 @ 3:58pm

    I think I agree on the apathy. Everyone has been messing around on the internet for 10 years without giving a thought to the records they were leaving (and I'm not by any means wholly innocent of this myself, though now I am much more conscious of it). As you've pointed out before, there have always been stories of people's pasts coming back to haunt them, and those stories are going to get more and more common for awhile - and then probably drop off again as new generations learn to be more careful and service providers adjust to the new demands.

    For all the debate going on about the new settings, in my experience there are a *lot* of average users who are barely aware - who simply clicked through the settings as quickly as they could and got back to playing Farmville or whatnot (just as it seems Facebook intended). It will be interesting to see what happens when some of those users start noticing themselves in the Google live search results...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Dec 2009 @ 10:37am


      There is a skill you have to learn on the internet. Everything is there. Things you want to know. Things you don't want to know. Things that you need to LOOK AWAY FROM. You need to learn the skill of not clicking that link.

      This is a smaller part of a much greater skill. You must recognize that all the information is mashed together in one place and you have to put on blinders and only look at things you want to see. Not putting on blinders is equivalent to hiring a P.I. to stalk someone--either way, youre going to find out more about them than you wanted to.

      I prefer to imagine that the new generations will learn to accomodate this situation by learning NOT TO LOOK, and recognizing that if they find some information that a person might not want them to see, not just courtesy but everyone's common sanity demands that you NOT LOOK.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Marcus Carab (profile), 14 Dec 2009 @ 9:25am

        Re: Re:

        Well, that might work at a general social level, but stories have already emerged about those who try to run for office or otherwise become public names - when you get famous, anything that's out there (even the kind of stuff people need to actively hunt for) will surface.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Derek Bredensteiner (profile), 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:05pm

    The linked article says it all

    And by that, I mean this:

    P.S. I have a rule against publishing Facebook photos ... but Gawker doesn't.

    You have a rule against it? And what did that accomplish? Nothing, because someone else can and will distribute it.

    Stuff your "friends" can see can get distributed pretty darn easily. Once it's out there, it's out there, the previous privacy settings in facebook were an illusion. I think the new settings are an excellent step forward towards more openness about what level privacy you actually have. They aren't there yet, but they just took a giant step forward, and I applaud their forward thinking in this matter.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Vinnie, 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:08pm

    No Putin?

    Being the curious type, I had to check out his page after reading this. The most notable revelation to me is that one of his fan pages is Nicolas Sarkozy. I don't know why this struck me as so strange, but... really? Nicolas Sarkozy?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Duncan Yoyo (profile), 11 Dec 2009 @ 4:33pm

      Re: No Putin?

      Joining a fan page just means you want to know what is going on not that you are fan. It's like the lawyers not being friended by judges. Facebook made a bad choice on names that bring lots of baggage with them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    thornintheside, 11 Dec 2009 @ 10:38pm

    Zuckerberg already made changes

    He has already pulled off all his images from being public. I wouldn't be surprised if he uses another profile than his public one.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Morningsider (profile), 12 Dec 2009 @ 9:21am

    Opt out not opt in

    As a relatively new user, I carefully went through all my privacy settings, making as much as possible only visible to "friends." Just a few weeks later, the new privacy policy defaulted all of my settings to the most public settings. I had to go back and *reset* all my privacy settings *back* to "friends only." This is requiring users to actively opt out rather than opt in to the new default.

    I believe many users are unaware that suddenly much of their info they thought was limited to friends is now public. Clicking on a few "friends of friends" whose profiles were private last week, I found all the info to be public. I considered writing on their wall to alert them!

    Meanwhile, I have gone through *every* setting I can find and have discovered more places that FB has made my info public and have *reset* again! What FB doesn't make clear is that all sorts of info is showing up on the public profile that did not used to appear there.

    I am now a very disgruntled FB user--former user???

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dave, 12 Dec 2009 @ 12:51pm

    Annoyance gradually grows as they monetize

    I just went through the settings prompt rigmarole. As most things are nowadays, the screen is presented to "help" opting in for the new stuff, so they hope that everyone will just do it mindlessly, or by not understanding what's going on. Modern marketing personified: Make the customer actively choose NOT to get our crap, otherwise they get the crap. I'll bet they'd call this forward-leaning. ;)

    Even after you follow the prompts, I'd recommend reviewing all your privacy settings. You may be surprised, even after you thought you locked things down.

    I read elsewhere that Facebook is making deals with search companies, so unless you update the Search part of the privacy settings, your drunk nude party photos may end up on Google, Bing, or something. And who knows what they may decide to make available anyway.

    This stuff is pretty irritating, and I'm almost ready to jump ship, and just when I was starting to enjoy the silly thing. I guess that's the price I pay for something that's "free".

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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