However, there's a dark side to that popularity.
Facebook hasn't exactly been angelic in protecting users' privacy.
The network first landed in hot water way back in 2007, when its CEO
was forced to publicly
apologize for instituting a new system that snooped on users'
online purchases and posted them in the user's feed -- without their
permission. That error led to a lawsuit eventually settled for
Since that time, Facebook has continued to make a
variety of changes -- some based on the premise of protecting
privacy, others seemingly eroding it. But according to CEO Mark
Zuckerberg, privacy isn't really even something most users want or
care about according to guardian.co.uk.
comments by Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who insinuated that those
who want privacy are probably up to no good, the 25-year-old
executive delivered some controversial comments at the Crunchie
awards in San Francisco this weekend.
He commented on the norm
no longer being an expectation of privacy, stating, "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. When
I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of
people asked was, 'why would I want to put any information on the
internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?'. Then in
the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way, and just
all these different services that have people sharing all this
Mr. Zuckerberg's remarks come in the wake
privacy changes that forced users to elect whether to make all
their information publicly viewable (the recommended option) or to
opt out and keep their current privacy settings. Critics have
said that Facebook is trying to trick people into giving up their
privacy. They are calling for a Federal
Trade Commission investigation of the company's practices.
Zuckerberg discussed this criticism, stating, "A lot of
companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of
what they've built. But we viewed that as a really important
thing, to always keep a beginner's mind and what would we do if we
were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the
social norms now and we just went for it."
opinions seem destined to clash. For now Facebook is standing
its ground. Facebook employee Barry Schnitt recently commented,
"Any suggestion that we're trying to trick them [Facebook users]
into something would work against any goal that we have."
if Mr. Zuckerberg is right and by and large folks no longer care
about privacy, perhaps that means that people need to reexamine their
behavior. After all, approximately a fifth
of divorce cases in the UK are related to Facebook, according to