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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Privacy is overrated at Facebook

Facebook continues its march towards becoming one of the largest repositories of personal information on the planet. The huge user base of the social networking site and the amount of time that many users spend on the site is enough to make marketers salivate.

The problem for the users of Facebook around the world is that this march towards profits and sharing the huge amounts of personal information is eroding the privacy that users once had on the social network. In the early days of Facebook, even the people you were friends with were not shown to those who you didn’t approve.

Today much of the information that was stashed away behind security in the early days is out in the open for anyone to peruse. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg reckons that people online today just don’t have the same expectations of privacy online anymore. There are many who disagree with that notion, including a few Senators who are in a potential position to force Facebook to change its data sharing ways with new legislation.

Wired reports that new information has surfaced that claims Zuckerberg just doesn't care about the privacy of Facebook users. The revelation came in the form of a Tweet between the New York Times tech blogger Nick Bilton and an unnamed Facebook employee.

The Tweet read, "Off record chat w/ Facebook employee. Me: How does Zuck feel about privacy? Response: [laughter] He doesn’t believe in it."

Some of the things that Zuckerberg has said and moves that Facebook has made certainly support the claim that Facebook doesn't care much for privacy. The company is on a march towards monetizing the huge amount of traffic it generates and one of the things that has to fall by the wayside to make money is some of the privacy of users. 

Wired reports that one of the ways Facebook user information that is shared with third-party advertisers is being used is to target ads specifically at the user. For instance, when a user goes to the Microsoft site -- which is one of the third-parties that Facebook shares information with -- the user will see ads specifically tailored to software and services they are interested in.

Some new Facebook features are also clearly ways for the social network to learn more about the product likes and dislikes of users. One such feature is the "Like" button that lets sites put a Facebook button on product and service pages that users can click. A click would send the information to Facebook helping to link the user to things that they like and dislike. It’s unclear what the benefit of clicking a like button would be to the user, other than publishing the like to what Facebook calls the "Open Graph."

Facebook is opening a can of worms that marketers and other social networks are sure to follow closely. The introduction of legislation to stop information sharing with third-party sites without the express permission of users of social networks like Facebook may be the only way to turn the tide in the battle against making money and privacy online.

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You know...
By Yucker54 on 4/29/2010 12:53:09 PM , Rating: 2
I do not get facebook. But somehow I am sucked into it all the same. Being in my early 20's, my generation has an insatiable need to have our 15 minutes of fame. And with the wake of social networking, it has made it all too easy to do that.

However, as addicted to facebook I am, I keep my privacy settings very tight and have less than 50 friends (just those I care about/really want to re-connect with). Where as this girl I have been seeing lately has nearly 400 friends on facebook. There is no need for that many friends. Especially when you only talk to maybe 20, tops, a week.

RE: You know...
By jimhsu on 4/29/2010 1:33:47 PM , Rating: 2
I use my facebook account as Twitter with a longer character limit. That is about all.

RE: You know...
By JDHack42 on 4/29/2010 2:25:53 PM , Rating: 2
Facebook just satisfies our inner voyeur/exhibitionist. Why would we want anything private?

But really - other sites should take heed and not have security questions that are standard info on a FB profile.

RE: You know...
By zenmonkman on 4/29/10, Rating: 0
"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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