Facebook will never get privacy right

Summary:No matter how hard Facebook tries, privacy can never be guaranteed. Why? Possibly because the end users are humans, and humans can be a bit silly.

And I shall tell you for why. Individual responsibility is not being taken. If there are channels available for you to input something personal onto the web, even though it may seemingly only be available to certain people, it should be a mixed responsibility between the user and the service providing.

If someone writes a scathing status which is accidentally published to the entire world, they blame Facebook. If a picture is tagged of someone acting like an idiot, Facebook gets blamed. If a profile gets horribly fraped, then Facebook takes the rap.

The BBC reported the privacy change:

"Facebook is nudging the settings toward the 'disclose everything' position," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the US Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic). "That's not fair from the privacy perspective."

Even I made the mistake earlier on today confusing "everyone" thinking it was everyone within my social network, and not literally anyone who uses the web. Such conflicting factors taken into account such as the ability to not search for my name confused me also; does this mean they can see my status update but not my name and/or profile? I haven't got a clue.

The world is abuzz with criticism, no more so than at the Electronic Frontier Foundation which seems to be the most cited of all sources. To be fair, I don't see why the privacy settings should regard to anybody outside of your network.

"Friends" should see everything of yours, but lesser-friends should be limited somewhat further. Maybe Facebook should work on social network internal privacy, instead of mixing the internal/external social network circles, like a Venn diagram of utter confusion.

Personally I found one of the greater features - the ability to have a geographical network (perhaps no longer even academic networks which universities and college has) - to tighten the community around these places. With my very own London being the top network on the site, many still wish there could have been a more close-to-home Kent network.

My point is, Facebook will never get it right because people will carry on blaming the site for their own failings. Yes, there is a large part of responsibility on their part, but if you don't want something going out to the wider world, don't write it on the Internet.

What happened to just keeping in touch? Surely that was what a face book was for in the first place. The simpler something is, the less that can go wrong.

Topics: Collaboration, Legal, Networking, Social Enterprise

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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