May 31st 2010 has been deemed to be “QuitFacebookDay” by a group of about 25 000 users to date and I wanted to share my opinion on the matters of privacy, user choice, and user awareness.
With Facebook making many changes to the way that it manages user data and allows data to be used outside of the Facebook network, it is only natural, and expected that users would have concerns about how their identity, information and privacy was being treated. With change comes resistance, it has oft been said. I’d like to present my side of the argument for more openess on the internet.
I would like to propose that, over time and with the advent of technology, the average person’s privacy has severely diminished. I supposed that this has done two very important things to the world.
- It has helped fuel an information revolution. The internet is fueled by information, and all information is, at various levels, of some private nature. Whether that is information about objects, people, concepts, etc, the information comes from someone and ultimately holds claim to some level of privacy. In greater and greater degrees, people have let go of some, and in some cases, all of that privacy for the benefit of mankind.
- It has created an environment where people should know and understand that nothing that they publish can be private. There are ways to be private. Internet publishing services are not it.
It is my general feeling that Facebook is following a great path. I truly feel that openess of information will lead to far greater developments and that open communication and sharing is the key to revolution. That being said, I strongly believe that users are under-educated as to their responsibilities when it comes to their own privacy.
Some have proposed an “opt-in” model, however, in so many situations, opt-in fails to generate any results. Take for example the graph below.
For organ donation opt-in, the results are tremendously low. But for opt-out, the results are significantly higher. Most people follow the status quo. If this concept is applied to privacy, information openness would never go anywhere if it were not for companies like Facebook pushing the boundaries.
I congratulate Facebook on their forward thinking. Ensuring that they are leading the trend when it comes to openness of information ensures that they remain the innovative company that they have always been, leading the world to a new information era.