Era of privacy over, says Facebook founder

Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerburg, has said that the rise of social networking within the last decade means that people no longer expect privacy, according to the Guardian. Speaking at TechCrunch's "Crunchie" awards in San Francisco over the weekend, he said privacy was no longer a "social norm".

"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," said Zuckerberg.

"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? 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 information."

Since it started out in 2004 as an exclusive network for Ivy league students, it has continued to place more and more information in the public domain, with the latest change altering the privacy settings of its 350 million users.

However, Zuckerburg believes it is important for Facebook to make such changes so it can remain relevant and competitive.

"A lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they've built," he said. "Doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do. 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."

Others have rejected the idea that people care less about privacy though. Speaking to the Guardian, Microsoft researcher and social networking expert Danah Boyd said that such assumptions often misunderstand the reasons why people willingly put private information online.

"Kids have always cared about privacy, it's just that their notions of privacy look very different than adult notions," Boyd said.

"As adults, by and large, we think of the home as a very private space ... for young people it's not a private space. They have no control over who comes in and out of their room, or who comes in and out of their house. As a result, the online world feels more private because it feels like it has more control."

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Many youngsters are simply too stupid, or naïve, to consider the consequences of their actions.

Would you send nude photos of yourself to people on your mobile phone?

If FaceBook made a stand and made super-privacy mode the default for all users and allow the user to later select how my they wanted to be disclosed, then other social-media/web fadies would follow suite.

FaceBook now has a responsibility to everyone and is failing to direct the world community in a good way.

Most people on the internet today don't even know personal information privacy exists, or that it can be hacked into, or stolen, or of the importance safeguarding it.
That's because most people on the internet nowadays are unaware/uneducated "consumers" [to whom convenience and affordability are the only things that matter], who are not told/taught about their own rights and/or how they can protect them.
And some of these people are not interested in such issues, thinking they don't matter, or even worse, thinking they are imune to identity theft/invincible, and sometimes misguided, trusting web based businesses to take care of all that for them.
How many people you know read the bottom-of-the-page/tiny font popup-style disclaimer/eula/tos/privacy disclosure/agreement/etc?
We live in a "real-life" environment where every move and monetary transaction are closely monitored [fyi: did u know London is the most "wired" city on the planet, with Chicago 2nd?], so we got used to be spied on, and we've forgotten or never even known how important internet privacy is.
That's how businesses like facebook, twitter, myspace etc... take advantage of ignorant consumers, or should I say brain-washed drones? ;-(

For me, yes, since Facebook's conception I have been comfortable putting my personal information on the internet as well as posting statuses. But that's only to a circle of friends. The wider circumference is left out of my personal loop, because my relationship with them is cordial and I have met them through cordial means such as school or work (of course I'll get to know them better).

So in a sense I disagree with Zuckerberg. People are open with their personal information but at the very least to a private circle of friends.

To the people saying dont post personal information on there, thus avoiding privacy issues.

What about personal information you may want to share with people you trust, ie friends or relatives. But facebook want us to share this with everyone or at the least 'friends of friends'. Why should we have to sacrifice interacting with people we choose to, because we dont want to share with the whole world?

Even Zuckerberg now has his profile locked down (it was open) http://www.facebook.com/zuck - he pays his experts to get his own privacy settings correct, while the less able stumble along not knowing they're sharing as much as they do.

Profits before privacy, no real surprise, but his whole attitude is naivety.

Youngy said,
To the people saying dont post personal information on there, thus avoiding privacy issues.

What about personal information you may want to share with people you trust, ie friends or relatives.

Simple: You don't do it using a system put together by a company that thrives the more people share their personal assets.

People fool themselves thinking they're being social being on sites such as Facebook--do they not realize that the ultimate social experience is to turn off the ****ing computer and talk to your friends face to face? Seriously, even if you don't get to see pictures of other people's cats, you'll be alright. You're not being social by spending more time on Facebook.

It's like he's taking for granted that everybody's on Facebook.

...which is like he's taking for granted that everybody finds value in Facebook.

Note to Mark Zuckerburg: Go ahead and try to convince me that the value of Facebook outweighs the value I put on my privacy. Given statements such as his, good luck.

This guy is an idiot. He's just covering his ass because he makes too much money off all the "applications" on Facebook that collect everything in your profile (and your friends' profiles).

I can't stand idiots like Zuckerburg. I'm sorry, but I happen to care about privacy and I expect it! I think it's pathetic that FB doesn't have their defaults set to Friends Only. Setting your privacy settings should be a requirement during sign up.

Let me take all the curtains off my windows.... if the era of privacy is over then everyone should be able to watch what goes on in anyones houses with no problems..... right?

not much different about window curtains and setting privacy settings.... default is to share all, default for a window is to show all...

My profile is locked down so I only share the info I would share with my friends, with my friends on Facebook. At least they do provide the tools to keep your information private. It's down to the user to look for them though.

what a jerk this Mark Zuckerburg is... I dont know how he survive all these years being that stupid. More, how can a stupid like that be that rich. Bah, it doesnt matters.
The end of HIS privacy, not mine

I won't even give out my real name in World of Warcraft. It boggles my mind to see people pasting personal pictures (heh) of themselves all over the internet and giving out their info like it was nothing.

Saburac said,
I won't even give out my real name in World of Warcraft. It boggles my mind to see people pasting personal pictures (heh) of themselves all over the internet and giving out their info like it was nothing.

I've been using my common picture avatar... from an Japanese Anime screen capture.

Mark Zuckerburg, has said that the rise of social networking within the last decade means that people no longer expect privacy

Excuse you? Just because you don't want privacy so you can more rigorously data mine doesn't mean I decided to give it up. I keep everything private, viewable to friends only, and expect privacy.

I use face book at minimal, don't install any "apps", and have my setting properly locked down.
I rarely post, and if I do, does not contain ANY sensitive information, let alone anything regard what goes on at work.

I do use facebook just to be able to connection with friends and family that I can't normally talk to.

t_r_nelson said,
As opposed to e-mailing them?

;)

or cellphone, or cable telephone... or snail mail.

Even when Facebook is quite popular but IT IS NOT A KILLER APP. You can live happily without even creating a account on it.

Magallanes said,

or cellphone, or cable telephone... or snail mail.

Even when Facebook is quite popular but IT IS NOT A KILLER APP. You can live happily without even creating a account on it.

You make valid points... I closed my facebook account and gave the article link as the reason why, choosing the concern about privacy option.

As said before, this only applies to the morons that post their private information. He's excusing it off as a 'sign of the times' because his ****ty product is to blame for most of this lack of privacy. He's created the majority of the problem, so just excuse it off as a consequence of new technology. Don't try and fix the issue. Just ignore it and call it a feature.

Fail.

Shadrack said,
Your information is as private as you make it...

Partly true. As Facebook have already demonstrated, they can take whatever information you've given them in confidence and simply by changing their privacy policy, can choose to do whatever they like with it. That's what worries me.

Your information is as private as you make it only as long as it remains solely in your possession, it seems.

If Facebook wasn't so ingrained for keeping in touch and sharing photos with friends I would hit delete in a heartbeat. People do care about privacy but many are unaware and Facebook does little to point them in the right direction.

Xenon said,
I did hit the delete button and to be honest its not that bad.

I heard that deleting your Facebook account is not so easy? Or this is something else attached to it even after deletion? Is this true? I actually have been considering deleting my account but I don't know much about how the process works (I bet it really isnt even that complicated)

These conclusions are pretty silly, Facebook is comprised of mainly teens who don't really have a sense of the consequences that divulging your entire life online may have, such as not being hired due to an employer's prejudices against you, identity theft, threat from online predators, not to mention that people love a scandal and public shaming (just look at Facebook now, or any message board), and can easily connect the dots and draw lines to make up whatever story they want about you, which may not necessarily be true in reality.

I'm sure these people begin to censor themselves when they feel a parent or teacher may be reading their posts and only share certain things with certain friends, and twist certain events so that they can boast or look good, or hide things they feel silly about. Who says that their posts are even what happens in reality? If so, this is hardly the "OMG privacy is over" that Facebook's founder is talking about. Their actual private lives are not being put on display, but only the face that they want to present to the world is being put online. That is hardly all the details of someone's actual life in reality.

This does not signal the end of privacy by any stretch of the imagination. It just states the fact that people like to lie, brag, argue, rumor, and vent online.

But if you think that gossip is the new reality, then drop your newspaper subscription and start getting The National Enquirer, because Facebook is no more factual than your average tabloid.

See, it's comments like this from Facebook and their founders that leave my finger hovering over the 'Delete Account' button...

Garry said,
See, it's comments like this from Facebook and their founders that leave my finger hovering over the 'Delete Account' button...

+1

Which is exactly what I did several months ago...... and I never regretted my decision. No more cows, fishes etc. etc. bothering me all day.

Garry said,
See, it's comments like this from Facebook and their founders that leave my finger hovering over the 'Delete Account' button...

How is he wrong? People are voluntarily surrendering their privacy (me included, but I don't really care) to sites like Facebook.

insanelyapple said,
btw. Mark and other founders are using fb?

At least Mark is, which became pretty well-known after he messed up his own privacy settings a while ago.

No, I believe it̢۪s simply that 95% of the people out there believe they still actually have privacy, even though that̢۪s not the case, or they do not care (and this is just sad). I do not use Facebook, Twitter, or Myspace, because I don̢۪t need to know every detail of everything that is going on in OTHER people̢۪s lives. This is simply because I have my own life to live, and I do not want to waste it on those pages. Plus, every time I go out, someone else will tell me everything anyway. Here is an overall question. What is better, no information, or disinformation? I worked for a mid size ISP, I can tell you that you have NO privacy whatsoever in reality.

I'm still paranoid as ever.

Only recently did I add a profile picture :P Although I still don't show up in search results if I'm not in your network.

I love how this guy generalizes about how everyone feels about privacy.
I care about privacy, and that's one of the main reason why I do not use Facebook. I have friends in real life and don't feel the need to publish my life as an open book very thank you.

djesteban said,
I love how this guy generalizes about how everyone feels about privacy.
I care about privacy, and that's one of the main reason why I do not use Facebook. I have friends in real life and don't feel the need to publish my life as an open book very thank you.

+1

There's something I don't like about Mark Zuckerburg/Facebook. It puts too much emphasis on knowing every single detail about your friends. Remember the commotion when the News Feed was first introduced? People find that level of openness weird. There's a lot of people that find the new privacy settings confusing, and by giving you a high level of power people get confused and don't bother, not realising how much they're sharing.

Bad news, and shame on him for generalizing. Little changes over a long period of time and in the end its radically different and the world wonders how we got there.

Wait, so what does this mean? They will be editing the privacy rules again sometime soon? I do not like sharing all that information publicly on Facebook and I think they should leave the lockdown settings intact for those users who are private. I hope they don't screw this up.

That is just Mark Zuckerberg's opinion. By not using social networking sites, I do expect a high degree of privacy, period. If one chooses to use social networking sites, the norm (default) should be that users decide how much to reveal--not the present norm, which is reveal all, and let the user struggle to define a level of privacy.

exactly. When the user signs up the default setting should be that all their information should be private and then ask them what they want to share with friends/ non-friends.

Just because many users aren't aware of the "standard" security on Facebook ... nor have any idea how to alter it, does not mean they are happy with it, instead most just accept things and let them be.

A classic example is viewing photos on Facebook - I asked myself who else needs the link to "View all pictures of [me]", the answer is no-one, so I changed it so that no-one else has that link in my settings - who just browses through all the pictures of one other person that is not them self? actually there are legal definitions for those people.

*still waiting for the first person to comment the link to view all the pictures of me isn't there* :P

Well sure, it's not like every time they make a change to their privacy policy they send out a little notice and have some comments field at the bottom saying "have you got any suggestions? Well what would you like?" Instead it's more like "Suprise! There you are, now chew on that! Well you can take your account elsewhere if you want, good luck saving all of your data! I bet your friends won't want to make new accounts on those sites! And good luck by the way!"