Facebook Privacy? Who Cares?

If you are in the media enough, you recognize that the media lives for the next headline. Facebook Privacy? What a great headline.  We all care about privacy, right?

Wrong.  Privacy is a boogie man for the media to play with. Unless you are in the internet business in some manner, where discussing privacy issues with other internet people makes everyone feel like they are part of the “smart people”. Facebook privacy is a media issue (which in turn of course makes it a politicians wet dream), nothing more.

If you join Facebook, by definition you want to give up some of your privacy. You want to share pictures, updates and statuses with friends. You want friends you haven’t seen in a long time to find you.   Items and information that would never see the light of day pre social networks, are now regularly uploaded from our phones. No DRM on those pictures. No requests for DRM on those pictures. No copyright on our status updates. No requests for copyrights on our status updates. Facebook is a social network.  The operative word being social.

Let me put this another way. In every FB profile there is a question called “Interested In”.  You know you answered the question in your profile.  When you tell 500mm people that you are interested in finding  something, friends, business, whatever,  did you really think that only applied to your immediate circle of friends?  And what about the interests you shared? Why would you need to share that information to your immediate friends? They should already know that stuff shouldn’t they?  When you published your political or music views and interests, you didn’t do that for the benefit of your immediate friends did you?  Of course not. You did it to expand your circle of friends. If you want to expand your social circle, you need to share information  to people you don’t know.  You can’t share information with strangers in hopes of possibly adding them to your social network and then bitch about the lack of privacy.

The privacy advocates among us would tell us that sharing with friends and even potential friends  is one thing, making it available to everyone  is another.  Well guess what, while FB doesn’t have the equivalent of a Retweet function, it doesn’t have a Muzzle function either.  Facebook can’t control downstream discussions today any better than you could when you told stories to your buddies at the bar the other night.  Whether you like it or not, posting on FB is a publishing function. You are publishing to your “friends” and whether you like it or not, they have every right, opportunity and possibly inclination to share what you say, do and show.

Facebook privacy is very simple at its core. You joined because you wanted to give up some of your privacy in exchange for the benefits that FB offers.  If you think its a problem, de-activate your account.  If you think its a problem, but really want to be on FB, RTFM (Read the Frickin Manual).  The functionality is there. Since when did it become law that software can’t have some level of depth in order to provide the breadth of features and services that all levels of users require?

The complaints about FB privacy are pretty much a joke.  It’s a social network, not your voting record.

About Mark Cuban 144 Articles

Mark Cuban is the owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, billionaire internet entrepreneur, and chairman and owner of the high definition television channel HDNet.

Mark made business history when at the age of 32 he sold his computer consulting firm MicroSolutions to corporate giant CompuServe and became fabulously wealthy overnight. Cuban later did the same with yet another enterprise, the live streaming Internet operation Broadcast.com, and sold it to Yahoo! for a record breaking price that pushed his own net worth into the billions.

He publishes his own blog at Blog Maverick where he speaks freely about basketball, technology, business, and the Internet.

Visit: Blog Maverick

4 Comments on Facebook Privacy? Who Cares?

  1. Mark,

    That’s all well and good, but for those of us looking for a job (which are a lot of us in this economy) it’s a good thing to know that potential employers will not be able to exploit some ridiculous/nebulous loophole in Facebook’s privacy settings to access something that I believed was only viewable by my friends online. (ditto for my kids…I can see everything they do on FB and they have no idea…)

    – Nick

  2. then there’s the case of people new to social media who plunge in and learn as they go, overtaken by options, quit trying and just decide to play along, accepting invites from strangers or catchy apps, fan pages, etc… where this goes tits up is when you learn of criminals who study their victims habits and times by examining their social media presence

  3. I am so, so conflicted on this. Facebook is such a huge thing for my generation, and has been such a great way to connect with friends over the past few years. Things though have been getting scary recently, with people friending me that I'm afraid of (bad histories), weird emails from strangers being sent to me about my FB profile popping up during their google search for my apartment complex, and other creepy things. I think it's time to say goodbye to Facebook for me, there just has to be a line somewhere. I guess this it for me...http://thesmogger.com/2010/05/19/why-i-want-to-quit-facebook/

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