Once again Facebook is involved in a privacy imbroglio, and once again it's because boy-founder Mark Zuckerberg opened his yap and stuck his Keds-clad foot inside.
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Last week at The Crunchies, the annual awards party thrown by TechCrunch doyenne Michael Arrington, Zuckerberg got on stage briefly and made the following statement (per Gawker):
When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was "why would I want to put any information on the Internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?"
And then in the last 5 or 6 years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that's evolved over time.
We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.
So now, a lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they've built, doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the type of thing that a lot of companies would do. But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner's mind and think: what would we do if we were starting the company now, and starting the site now, and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.
Allow me to translate. By "innovating and updating" his system, Zuckerberg means the modifications to user privacy settings Facebook unveiled a few weeks ago that made Facebookers' information more easily accessible by Google et al. by default. And by "current social norms," Zuckerberg means "stuff we think we can get away with today that we couldn't get away with three or four years ago."