It’s hard to tell sometimes if Facebook as a company really wants to work with their visitors to provide an environment they feel is at least semi-private and safe to use, or if like a good politician company CEO Mark Zuckerberg is simply providing a bunch of smoke and mirrors responses to visitors concerns.
In his first ‘public’ comment (a reprinted email response to an email sent by Robert Scoble) since privacy concerns have rapidly increased over the last few weeks, Facebook’s CEO admitted that the company had “made a bunch of mistakes” while promising to “get this stuff right” this time around.
Zuckerberg and his team have come under fire various times over the last year, including three major changes to the sites privacy policies which have angered users, leading at least one group (Diaspora) to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to build an alternative to Facebook.
We’ve been listening to all the feedback and have been trying to distill it down to the key things we need to improve. I’d like to show an improved product rather than just talk about things we might do.
We’re going to be ready to start talking about some of the new things we’ve built this week. I want to make sure we get this stuff right this time.
I know we’ve made a bunch of mistakes, but my hope at the end of this is that the service ends up in a better place and that people understand that our intentions are in the right place and we respond to the feedback from the people we serve.
I hope we’ll get a chance to catch up in person sometime this week. Let me know if you have any thoughts for me before then.
So Mr. Zuckerberg, where exactly is your acknowledgment that you understand what is actually upsetting Facebook users? It could be breaking your promise to not send personal user information to advertisers, in fact you took it one step further, even sending the profile information for our friends profiles when we clicked ads from their profile pages. Then again perhaps it could be your sites privacy changes which have changed repeatedly without explaining to users how to opt-out of certain services, instead hiding those opt-out options deep inside the users profile settings and other hard to find sections.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook, I’ve connected with people I haven’t spoken with in years, but I don’t need to connect to the Malware your site has recently attracted, while my information is poked and prodded however you see fit.
I would love to hear why it’s taking you so long to “distill it down to the key things we need to improve.” You need to improve privacy, plain and simple, users don’t want their personal information being thrown around to whomever you deem privy receive it. If you had one dollar for everything you didn’t know about what your users want you’d have billions of….oh wait…never mind.
I will admit, it’s nice that Facebook wants to be proactive and show a fix, rather than just talking about one, but let’s face it, so far every step Facebook has taken in terms of privacy have been without user input and look where it’s gotten them, perhaps talking before you act would get you some useful feedback, ensuring you don’t end up right back where you started…pissing off your sites users.