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Which came first: lack of privacy or lack of privacy settings? January 11, 2010

Posted by pupfiction in InformationIssues.
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TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington recently interviewed Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg on where Facebook is going, what new acquisitions it hopes to acquire, and its recent changes to privacy settings. This article by the New York Times Technology section, chooses to focus on the recent privacy changes which have been making waves online and in the news world for months now. As the Infomavens have recently been exploring the issue of privacy versus security both on the internet and in the “real” world, I thought it interesting that Marshall Kirkpatrick (from ReadWriteWeb and author of the Times article) should take such a cynical look at Zuckerberg’s seemingly innovative argument on privacy. Zuckerberg argues (you can witness in this video of the interview) that Facebook has changed to reflect society’s changing view on privacy. But Kirkpatrick believes that Facebook is the one who has sculpted this change in society’s beliefs. He insinuates that Facebook’s privacy changes are not want people want, but rather a way for “the company [to] shift[s] its strategy to exert control over the future of the web” (New York Times). I agree with Kirkpatrick that Zuckerberg’s argument (that blogging and other social media platforms have decreased privacy) is a flimsy one, but wonder if Facebook’s privacy settings have far more to do with advertising and revenue that anything else. Perhaps the most shocking part of the TechCrunch interview is when Arrington asks Zuckerberg “Nexus One or iPhone?”. With a wry smile, Zuckerberg responds, “Blackberry.” If that isn’t an endorsement I don’t know what is.