The Facebook Privacy Scandal

It’s only with the understanding that privacy has many meanings that I can comprehend people on Facebook complaining about privacy. (People interested in this should read Alessandro Acquisti’s work.)

That’s not what I wanted to post about. What I wanted to post about was the great way the CEO of Facebook took the wind out of the story:

Somehow we missed this point with Feed and we didn’t build in the proper privacy controls right away. This was a big mistake on our part, and I’m sorry for it. But apologizing isn’t enough. I wanted to make sure we did something about it, and quickly. So we have been coding nonstop for two days to get you better privacy controls. This new privacy page will allow you to choose which types of stories go into your Mini-Feed and your friends’ News Feeds, and it also lists the type of actions Facebook will never let any other person know about. If you have more comments, please send them over.

An Open Letter from Mark Zuckerberg,”
via VentureBeat, “Facebook responds, bolsters privacy options for ‘feed’ features.” Compare and contrast:

“Let me begin by offering an apology on behalf of our company and my own personal apology to those consumers whose information may have been accessed by the criminals whose fraudulent activity ChoicePoint failed to prevent.” Smith said.

There’s also some really good analysis by Danah Boyd, “Facebook’s ‘Privacy Trainwreck:’ Exposure, Invasion, and Drama,” to which Boingboing linked.