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Facebook's Zuckerberg Admits Bunch of Privacy Mistakes

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by underthesea

underthesea's picture
In The News

CEO Mark Zuckerberg publicly acknowledges that Facebook has blundered with its continuing series of Facebook Privacy changes-admitting "I know we’ve made a bunch of mistakes".
Zuckerberg made the admissions in an op-ed piece he wrote exclusively for the Washington Post, published today. Surprise, surprise: The Washington Post newspaper's Chairman, Donald E. Graham, is a member of Facebook's board of directors.
Zuckerberg also wrote a e-mail to friend, tech blogger Robert Scoble. "I know we've made a bunch of mistakes, but my hope at the end of this is that the [Facebook] service ends up in a better place and that people understand that our intentions are in the right place," Zuckerberg wrote in the e-mail, which Scoble posted online following Zuckerberg's permission. In the op-ed piece, Zuckerberg acknowledged the heat his company [Facebook] has been receiving for changes it made to embed the Facebook experience throughout the Internet, although in a way that turns out to reveal more private information than many of its more than the website's 400 million members feel comfortable in sharing.
Facebook officials, last week, acknowledged that the company is working on simpler controls, but this was the first time Zuckerberg [Facebook CEO] himself has made a public statement on the Privacy topic. "We have heard the feedback," Zuckerberg wrote. "There needs to be a simpler way to control your [Facebook] information. In the coming weeks, we will add privacy controls that are much simpler to use. We will also give you an easy way to turn off all third-party services [for Facebook]. We are working hard to make these changes available as soon as possible."
Zuckerberg listed a set of "principles under which Facebook operates". Those principles don't quite match up to fact, as users complain of Facebook leaks of private information to the online and public forum:
- You have control over how your [Facebook] information is shared.
- We [Facebook] do not share your personal information with people or services you don't want.
- We do not give advertisers access to your personal [Facebook] information.
- We do not and never will sell any of your [Facebook] information to anyone.
- We will always keep Facebook a free service for everyone.
Zuckerberg is making obvious attempts for damage control, to ensure an undercurrent of dissatisfaction with Facebook Privacy changes doesn't turn into a tidal wave-as a trickle of people have actually quit Facebook because of site Privacy issues. A website named advocates that Facebook members quit on May 31, but has only garnered 14,600 pledges of the site's 400 million users worldwide.
Another website,, displays random phone numbers and photos of people whom are publicly available on the Facebook site. The last three digits of Facebook users' phone numbers are X'd out but Scott, who describes himself as a "geek comedian", wanted to demonstrate how a third-party could tap into Facebook's own technology and publish such supposedly 'private' information. "It's called Evil, not diabolic," Scott wrote. "Those digits are publicly available though, and I - or anyone malicious - could easily flick a metaphorical switch and show them here. Or produce a phone directory. Or nick them for marketing."
After writing a post blasting Facebook for allegedly deleting comments that are critical of Facebook, an allegation Facebook claims to be ludicrous, Robert Scoble got an email from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The Scoble email from Zuckerberg:
We’ve been listening to all the [Facebook] 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.

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