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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