Wired reports on that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “doesn’t believe in” privacy. This is reminiscent of one made by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison just 10 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “The privacy you’re concerned about is largely an illusion. All you have to give up is your illusions, not any of your privacy. Right now, you can go onto the Internet and get a credit report about your neighbor and find out where your neighbor works and how much they earn,” Ellison said.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appears to have been outed as not caring one whit about your privacy — a jarring admission, considering how much of our personal data Facebook owns, not to mention its plans to become the web’s central repository for our preferences and predilections.
Also interesting is how this came about: Not in a proper article, but in a tweet by Nick Bilton, lead technology blogger for the The New York Times‘ Bits Blog, based on a conversation he says was “off the record” and which he may have confused with “not for attribution.”
“Off record chat w/ Facebook employee,” begins Bilton’s fateful tweet. “Me: How does Zuck feel about privacy? Response: [laughter] He doesn’t believe in it.” […]
Facebook has been on a relentless request over the past six months to become the center of identity and connections online. The site unilaterally decided last December that much of a user’s profile information, including the names of all their friends and the things they were “fans” of, would be public information — no exceptions or opt-outs allowed. […]
Then last week at its f8 conference, Facebook announced it was sending user profile information in bulk to companies like Yelp, Pandora and Microsoft. Thus, when users show up at those sites while logged in to Facebook, they see personalized versions of the those services (unless the user opts out of each site, somewhere deep in the bowels of Facebook’s privacy control center).
So it’s no laughing matter that the head of Facebook appears not to care about privacy. (We asked Facebook to clarify Zuckerberg’s privacy stance but have yet to hear back.)
The report shouldn’t be a surprise, considering that Zuckerberg said in January that he believes privacy is no longer a “social norm.” In related news, earlier this week, New York Senator Charles “Chuck” Schumer called for the Federal Trade Commission to look into privacy and social-networking sites such as Facebook. “In a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, Schumer expressed his concern about the collection and sharing of data on these social networking sites and the disclosure process by which users are notified that their private information is being shared. He noted there are no guidelines for user privacy on social networking sites like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter and that ever-changing privacy policies adopted by networks are often confusing to understand,” Schumer said in a press release.