joycechng

Posts Tagged ‘Facebook

This post will draw upon lecture content as well as readings from Week 5. The question to be discussed is as follows: Analyse critically the following statement by Mark Zuckerberg while comparing it to privacy issues raised by online social networking collaborative practices.

“When people have more control over what they share, they are comfortable with sharing more. When people share more, the world becomes more open and connected. And in a more open world, many of the biggest problems we face together will become easier to solve.”



(Source: Extract from Mark Zuckerberg on Making Privacy Controls Simple video)

Firstly, let’s pick apart this little speech. “When people have more control over what they share, they are more comfortable with sharing more.” Really, Mr Zuckerberg? Really? Besides its obviously simplistic view and assumption of people’s actions, this is a contradictory sentence.

When people have more control over what they are sharing, i.e making use of the many, revamped privacy controls Facebook has come up with, there won’t be any conceivable reason as to why they would share more publicly.

Yes, in the simplest sense, they are sharing more, but all this information would be shrouded by privacy settings and thus be invisible to “the world” Zuckerberg mentions. So how then, is there any way the world can becomes open and connected when people are sharing more but hiding information?

It appears that this statement is empty of meaning, and use of words and phrases like “sharing”, “open”, “connected”, “we face together”, and “easier to solve” merely seek to convey lofty world visions which aim to distract from the real fact of the matter. That nothing online, and more specifically in Facebook, is private anymore.

In an article by Yoder (Business Insider), Zuckerberg’s statement can be interpreted to mean that since the societal norm these days is that of an “open and connected world”, everybody should subscribe to this school of thought. Hooray for Facebook spreading its digital archives wide open and spreading your information to every corner of the World Wide Web! Okay, I’m exaggerating but you see what I mean.

One particularly memorable bit of Yoder’s article was when he said “essentially, this means Facebook not only wants to know everything about you, and own that data, but to make it available to everybody” (Yoder, 2010).

In other words, Zuckerberg’s statement about how the world would open up via connections like Facebook and band together to work together on solving problems is just PR speak about how it’s inevitable that private information would get leaked out to numerous sellers of products/services, and I can’t do anything. The whole promotion about better privacy controls then seem to be a stalling mechanism, implemented in hopes that users get diverted from the issue of privacy and get off Facebook’s case.

Just by the sheer fact that this extract is from a video whereby Zuckerberg supposedly responses to users’ needs for privacy is strange. Seeing how the whole point of the main video was to explain how new privacy controls would better safeguard our information, what he says is plain ironic. While promoting stronger privacy controls, he goes on to say that an open world would be better since it allows us to solve more problems. Forgive me for being selfish, but I don’t think my personal information (which allow for bizarre sale pitches like “Weird Celebrity Dolls: It’s Britney, Bitch!”) would really make “many of the biggest problems we face together will become easier to solve”.

While I appreciate that Facebook is doing something, as compared to simply ignoring us, it really does need to work harder at convincing the cynical netizen.

References

Tubechop. 2011, ‘Extract form Mark Zuckerberg on Making Privacy Controls Simple’, Tubechop, viewed 25 April 2011.

Yoder, D. 2010, ’10 Reasons To Delete Your Facebook Account’, Business Insider, viewed 25 April 2011.

theofficialfacebook. 2010, ‘Mark Zuckerberg on Making Privacy Controls Simple’, Youtube, viewed 25 April 2011.

Advertisements