Facebook’s Principles, Deciphered

The Washington Post recently opened its editorial page to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg. The Washington Post Chairman, Donald E. Graham, is a member of Facebook’s board of directors; friends in high media places.

Here are the principles under which Facebook operates, according to that op-ed. I’ve copied Mark’s bullet points and added a bit commentary to help you decipher the message.

  • You have control over how your information is shared. (Well, except for those things that we’ve decided that you can’t, like your list of friends (“connections”) or any pages or causes that you’ve “fanned” or “friended” or “liked” (more “connections”) because we made them automagically public to sites like Google and Bing.)
  • We do not share your personal information with people or services you don’t want. (That is, unless a friend of yours has done so but we warn you about this in our privacy settings so that means we aren’t sharing your information, your friends are.)
  • We do not give advertisers access to your personal information. (Except when a reporter notices and writes about it and then we scramble to fix the “bug”.)
  • We do not and never will sell any of your information to anyone. (So there’s really no way we can make any money from advertising.)
  • We will always keep Facebook a free service for everyone. (Because we are pretty sure that if people had to pay for it they wouldn’t come, particularly in light of our current PR problems over privacy.)
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3 thoughts on “Facebook’s Principles, Deciphered

  1. I forgot about the WaPo/Facebook connection, though I’d like to think that didn’t have anything to do with why the op-ed looked so…unedited.

    Whatever the case, I feel like it makes Mark Zuckerberg look even worse. I mean, he writes a head-in-the-clouds op-ed for a paper whose CEO sits on his board? Who didn’t see that coming? If he wanted to look legitimate, he should have gone to a news source that wasn’t tied up in his affairs.

  2. Thanks, Paul. I put my sarcasm hat on because the WaPo gave Facebook carte blanche and, apparently, asked no one to do a counterpoint. Isn’t that sorta SOP (well, it USED to be) for topics like this? Otherwise, it certainly looks like the WaPo has bought into the full strength kool-aid. Of course, since their CEO is on the FB board, that may go without saying.

  3. Nice post. I was scratching my head over this “op-ed” (press release?) myself. Is it that MSM just doesn’t “get” Facebook/social media, so they’re willing to regurgitate whatever claims an industry insider makes?

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