Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Facebook and Privacy

There is a lot of paranoia these days about privacy, Facebook, and information on the Internet generally. On the one hand there are real concerns about identity theft as well as safety in a somewhat dangerous world. However, paranoia being what it is—this has probably gone a little too far.

The CEO of Facebook may really be one of those Bond villains hiding out in his underground secret base waiting to take over the world through social media. In reality, though, he seems like a guy with a revolutionary idea of another sort. Maybe he wants to make the world a better place.

Zuckerberg stated it himself, when he wrote “When we started Facebook, we built it around a few simple ideas. People want to share and stay connected with their friends and the people around them. When you have control over what you share, you want to share more. When you share more, the world becomes more open and connected.” It may be a na├»ve approach to life in this big, bad, evil world, but isn’t that what we have been taught all our lives? If people would just communicate clearly and more a lot of the problems and conflict in the world would be solved, wouldn’t it?

To be sure, we want what Facebook offered: the ability to control what we share, but sharing is good. This whole obsession with privacy is what is perhaps more interesting today. When did privacy become such a sacred cow? It does seem to be one of those things that, the more you fight and scream for your right to privacy, the more people wonder what you are up to to need so much of it. Things done behind closed doors tend to be things that might not need to be done at all. Not everything, mind you… just a lot of it.

In the end, it is not Facebook’s fault if you write something on the World Wide Web that you don’t want people to know about. That’s the idea behind the “World Wide” part of www after all.

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