As the moral panic around Facebook's controversial privacy policies continue to pick up speed, outspoken e-retailer Ruslan Kogan has called for calm, saying that Facebook is no different to talking to or being seen with someone on the street.
Ruslan Kogan on Q&A
(Screenshot by Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia)
Speaking on the ABC's Q&A program last night, Kogan said that the people who are now complaining about their privacy being compromised by Mark Zuckerberg's social-networking behemoth only have themselves to blame, and that the best way to protect oneself from cyber bullying and data leakage is to abstain from joining in the first place.
"It all comes down to choice. You're choosing to set up a Facebook account, no one forced you to set it up. The ultimate form of privacy is don't get a Facebook account, don't do Google searches, don't have Twitter account, don't tweet, check your settings, set your settings. If anything, [Facebook is] enabling communication and it's no different to being in the street," Kogan said, adding that Facebook had the potential to keep you safer than being out on the street or in the playground as it still gives users the option of blocking potential cyber bullies.
"It's like saying if you go out into the street and make a comment, you're susceptible to bullying as well. You choose who your friends are on Facebook, you choose who you're allowed to follow on Twitter and you choose what you say on Twitter [and] I don't think there's any privacy concerns whatsoever. If anything, these platforms are making a more open and transparent society and people can choose what they do on these platforms and it's improving our communications and helping us get our word out there."
Kogan found an ally in comedian and fellow panellist Josh Thomas, who believes that it's "fair enough" that Facebook claims ownership over a user's information once it's uploaded.
"I'm surprised how much we talk about internet privacy with social-networking sites. I guess I'm surprised that someone [can] put their details and photos online and then turn around and be confused that someone can access their details and their photos. It seems pretty obvious for me.
"You have the choice not to go on Facebook. I think Ruslan's totally correct, it's the same as being on the street," Thomas said.
Facebook's most recent privacy adjustment came last month in the form of facial recognition features for user photos. Zuckerberg said last month that while there may be initial backlash over new features on the social network, users eventually accept them.