Facebook Privacy Policy – Can You Blame Them?

I’m going to take the unpopular stance of actually defending Facebook on their recent Privacy Policy (Amid PR Follies, Facebook Attempts to Humanize) struggles.  They definitely are challenged on how to adroitly roll things out (Beacon), so no free pass there, but generally what they are attempting to do is similar to what you or I would do if we were driving the ship.

What they are saying is that anything that you share or post will live on Facebook, even if you cancel your account.  Well, let’s say that you posted yourself doing a beer bong five years ago and you no longer want it on there.  1) You are an idiot for posting 2) You should remove anything that you think is “risky” prior to cancelling your Facebook account.  Now, if at the time you posted the image some of your friends copied or captured that photo and shared it on Facebook, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube,  it’s not Facebook’s responsibility to hunt that down, nor could they.

This isn’t unusual.  If you have accounts with TripAdvisor, ESPN, CNET, etc. and you’ve been posting comments and reviews for the past 10 years, do you think their privacy policy states that once you delete your profile that all of your review data goes away?  Hell no.  So, while it’s good for everyone to get all up and arms about this, if you were the CEO of Facebook, you probably would have attempted to do this yourself.  How he went about it from a PR perspective needs some help.  However two thumbs up for Facebook hearing the violent complaints and re-instituting their old privacy policy and collecting feedback on how the new one should be drafted and what it should incorporate.  But as Kara Swisher points out in her article on BoomTown we don’t have any privacy so get over it!  You are on a social network to share.

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