Mark Zuckerberg is no dummy. He realises that if he’s going to get Facebook’s 350 million users to be more open — crucial in Facebook’s evolution, and especially its battle with Twitter — he, too, has to be more open.
So while some people were apparently surprised that Facebook’s CEO made it possible for anyone in the world to see his personal photos — some quite revealing, enough so that some thought the move was an accident — it’s really only logical.
Zuckerberg explained his decision this afternoon in an update to his Facebook page:
For those wondering, I set most of my content on my personal Facebook page to be open so people could see it. I set some of my content to be more private, but I didn’t see a need to limit visibility of pics with my friends, family or my teddy bear :)
That’s the right answer! And that is the spirit that he should be hoping Facebook’s other users will adopt as they continue to use the site. (Not everyone, obviously, but many or most. And of course, Facebook should — and is — allowing people to be as private as they want.)
Because if Facebook is really going to remain everyone’s primary social networking/time-wasting site, it has to change with the times. And the times are leaning toward even more promiscuity over privacy, especially in two of Facebook’s competitive fronts:
- Status updates/link sharing: Facebook vs. Twitter (wide-open)
- Photo sharing: Facebook vs. Flickr, TwitPic and others (wide-open)
Bottom line: People don’t care about the concept (really an illusion) of privacy nearly as much as other people think they do.
Millions of people are already using various Web sites to post personal stuff in a very public way, now more than ever. Facebook needs to support this so as to serve its users’ needs and wants. (And, of course, to get better Google juice, stay on top in “real-time” Web, etc.) And if Facebook is going to move in that direction, its boss might as well, too.