Egg on its Facebook, why doesn’t Zuckerberg learn?

The moment I heard Mark Zuckerberg say things like “When people have control over what they share, they are comfortable sharing more,” I knew that (a) I had heard it before and (b) this was a desperate to distance Facebook from the keyword “privacy” to the other seven-letter keyword, “sharing.”

He has said that “The key here is that we always listen to what people say and the data.”
: “we are always being forced to respond to react to the outcry.”

In his state of the backlash address yesterday (video) he spoke of his belief in a more connected, world powered by sharing. Hard to fault him on that.

But you can sense that this 26 year old idealistic web visionary  (who was only nine years old when the first Web browser arrived on the scene) has not quite understood the true human motivations that make his application so popular. He and his team may have a critical feel for the market forces they are engaging, but they are constantly misjudging the people who populate Facebook.

  • Check some earlier problems here (the EU was upset then)
  • And here (remember Beacon?) and here.

Almost every Facebook user I speak to (friends, clients and colleagues) admit they have no clue as to how to tweak the convoluted privacy filter settings.

Three years ago a security firm, Sophos, warned of how too much sharing would backfire. They did that again last year. They found that the sharing gene in people lets them give away too much information.

By invoking what he called the “simple master switch” Zuckerberg is trying to woo users by saying that they will be more in control. He has also said that:

“The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work.”

Where have I heard this before?

Zuckerberg didn’t say it yesterday. He said this in February 2009!

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