Zuckerberg Calls For ‘Balance’ Over Facebook Privacy

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Facebook’s CEO has called for ‘balance’ after he talked about his company’s privacy and security battles

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used the stage at the D8 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California to defend his company’s privacy policies, as he discussed the idea of maintaining the balance between sharing and privacy.

“Privacy is a really important issue for us and for the Internet,” Zuckerberg explained in a 2 June interview by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, co-executive editors of the Wall Street Journal. “So we spend a lot of time thinking about these things … Making these products so that people can share and that people have control and that [it is] simple to do both, is this balance. Opt-in versus opt-out is one part of that balance.”

Balancing Act

The dance between privacy by default and sharing by default has been very visible in recent statements by privacy advocates about Facebook.

The week of 24 May, Facebook changed its privacy controls in response to some of the criticism it had taken during the month. But that still left some unsatisfied, with groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center calling for Facebook to make information private by default, as opposed to public.

Facebook is no stranger to backlash, Zuckerberg recalled.

Long Term View

When Facebook launched News Feed, many people wanted to be able to decide whether to turn it on or off. Looking back on it, it would be “pretty crazy” if News Feed weren’t there by default, he said. There are whole services where “all they are now is a News Feed,” he explained.

“My prediction would be that a few years from now, we’ll look back and wonder why there was ever this time when all these websites and applications – whether they are mobile applications or websites – weren’t personalised in some way, whether it’s through social plug-ins or [Facebook] Connect or instant personalisation or whatever programs other companies come out with,” he said. “But I just think the world is moving in this direction where things are going to be designed more around people, and I think that’s going to be a really powerful direction.”

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