Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes that users eventually get over their privacy anxiety: they get used to new features that initially worried them. Zuckerberg was at the e-G8 Forum in Paris last week, and as always had some very interesting and controversial things to say.
"We'll roll it out, and pretty often there'll be this backlash, and people will say, ok, we don't like this new thing," Zuckerberg said according to CNET. "It's I think a real anxiety. People were really afraid of more people being able to be involved in the social network. 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?'"
Facebook users are known to almost always initially reject the social network's latest features, but this is not representative of what they will think a little later down the road. Back in 2006, 1 million Facebook users (or 10 percent of the Facebook user base at the time) were against the new News Feed. The feature is now an integral part of Facebook as it gives you a glimpse of what your friends are up to.
Zuckerberg also said that Facebook has so far weathered its various backlashes from subsets of its 600 million users. He also added, "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 notes that while users are skeptical of new changes at first, they tend to change their minds over time. I would argue that this happens for two reasons. First of all, users realize that the feature or change is actually useful as they begin to use it. Secondly, Facebook tweaks and fixes issues as users complain about certain aspects of the feature.
In short, Zuckerberg is saying that users will follow their friends in complaining about something new. The backlash tends to be short-term, however, so there is nothing to worry about. If the majority of your friends stay on Facebook, then so will you, despite the latest change you may have been complaining about most recently.
This is just one of many topics that Zuckerberg discussed. If you want to hear more, I've embedded the full one-hour interview with Maurice Lévy, Chairman & CEO Publicis Groupe: