Facebook is at the center of the Social Networks right now. With that comes the scrutiny and opposition to the security practices it or does not do. Since its creation, Facebook has made subtle changes that open more and more of your information to the public realm. Depending on your point of view this is OK or a horrific violation of your privacy and how your data, statuses, photos are used by people you don’t know in ways you don’t approve of.
Mark Zuckerberg, the young CEO of Facebook, recently has made comments which has made it very clear he does not care one bit about protecting your information. He wants to control it all.
“People thought that, you know, it was just too much, right, they wanted to share stuff on the site but they didn’t want it to be so much in people’s face,” said Zuckerberg. “You know now it’s just part of the site that I think most people in a way would be like ‘What’s going on? How can there be Facebook without this?'”
He added that “one of the good things about the Internet is you can just kind of build something, and people will choose to use it or not, and that’s how we win debates.”
Zuckerberg’s arrogance and clear lack of CEO communication training really shines here. He is basically saying Facebook will do what we want, when we want and if you don’t like it you can leave. He is right, but his words could have been chose more strategically. He has to be very, very careful here. If he starts to taunt with this “If you don’t like it, then leave” attitude, the next Facebook will be all about privacy and Facebook will fade away like MySpace.
But he is not incorrect. Facebook is a service of choice. You can choose to use it or not based on your needs, likes and how others use it. Like any service out there, you have no rights or say on how a service protects your data. There is this assumption that sites have to keep what you post private. Think again. There is no law, rule, governance around social networks on what they can and cannot share. Yes there are federal regulations around credit information, payment systems, etc… but that’s not social information like photos from your kids birthday party. No matter what service you choose to use, the information that is contained within is 100% in your control on getting on there in the first place. If you don’t want embarrassing photos uploaded, don’t upload it.
Facebook is not taking this approach however where you can control what and who can see bits a pieces about you. Zuckerberg and Facebook want every piece of information available to everyone. Socialize to the world. His attitude is that social is a global concept. It’s almost like he wants to remove the cliques and sub-groups of friends. But that’s the whole purpose of how people socialize. Within the their primary groups of association.
The real driving purpose here is not about you. It’s about the all lucrative marketing dollar. Advertisers, gaming companies, any other data hungry entities that can profit from 500 million people worth of data in one place is very profitable. This is the underlying motive here. Facebook’s changes in making the data more open so that more people can find you is a very good excuse. If more people can find you so can marketers. The more data the get about you the more targeted the advertising they can make to you which makes you more likely you’ll click and buy from them. It’s no longer about socializing it’s about advertising now.
Zuckerberg went on to say one of the most disturbing comments about his user base.
“Human behavior is peer-driven,” Privacy International director Simon Davies said. “People will go along with what their peers believe is the norm. People will continue to feel uncomfortable about sharing information, and it won’t do Facebook any favors in the long term not to recognize that.”
Again, Zuckerberg doesn’t care about Facebook’s users and he thinks they are not intelligent to think for themselves. He wants the masses to believe what he is doing is OK. Because when the majority accept it, the rest will fall in line. If you think about the Government and the violations in the Privacy Act, the increasing powers to the courts and police to search and get information about you, black boxes to watch you in your cars, it’s the same mentality. Up front there is a thrust of opposition but over time people become complacent and accept it. Zuckerberg is saying the same thing. Over time people get used to it, unless there is a financial penalty to these actions Facebook will keep pushing the envelope with your data and getting richer and richer from each move at your data’s expense.
Binary Blogger has spent 20 years in the Information Security space currently providing security solutions and evangelism to clients. From early web application programming, system administration, senior management to enterprise consulting I provide practical security analysis and solutions to help companies and individuals figure out HOW to be secure every day.