What does “privacy” mean to Facebook?

Facebook is now ten years old. In this thought-provoking piece in the Washington Post, Michael Zimmer, who is an assistant professor at the School of Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and is the director of the Center for Information Policy Research, reviews Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's views over the past ten years on the subject of privacy, along with the policy changes at Facebook that have implemented those views.

Based on those views and policy changes, Zimmer concludes that, to Zuckerberg, "Control is the new privacy." Zimmer quotes Zuckerberg:

In an interview with Time magazine in 2010 Zuckerberg declares: “What people want isn’t complete privacy. It isn’t that they want secrecy. It’s that they want control over what they share and what they don’t.”

In response, Zimmer offers this critique, and warning:

The problem with Zuckerberg’s philosophy of privacy, of course, is that over Facebook’s 10-year history, users’ ability to control their information has largely decreased. Default settings lean toward making information public, and new advertising and third-party platforms are increasingly spreading users’ information beyond their direct control.

So is "control" just a Facebook talking point rather than an actual aspiration? There is some support for position in that Zimmer's account, which explains how Zuckerberg and Facebook see the sharing of information as an inherent good and privacy as an obstacle to be overcome.

0 thoughts on “What does “privacy” mean to Facebook?

  1. CT Foster says:

    Who is it who decided that we are to know nothing about the interests and conflicts of interest of “people” who spend $millions to “buy” our nation’s leaders and lawmakers? The same ones (maybe) who support the ability of Facebook to share anything and everything they have on any and all of us? :-p

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