The current buzz in Facebook news today is the report released by the Canadian Privacy Commissioner in which she finds that “Facebook needs to improve privacy practices” and has given them 3o days to comply. Putting aside the ridiculous assumptions that a Canadian bureaucrat should have any say in a Social Networking site, there are a few points in her report and in Facebook’s practices that I want to address.
One of commissioner Jennifer Stoddart‘s comments was that Facebook needs to be transparent with their users. This is a great point that has been made by critics of the “walled garden” approach for quite some time. Facebook had addressed this issue by become more open, listing accounts on Google, and granting usernames. But this was another point of contention.
According to Ms Stoddart, users should have their accounts completely private – no sharing outside your network – unless they opt in. Now, my gut reaction is to see this as antithesis to the notion of Social Media. If you sign up for a Facebook account, you are saying that you want to be “found” on the internet, and to share you pictures, stories and life, with anyone who wants to. That is the social aspect of Social Media.
I could be completely out to lunch here, in fact I probably am. But I wanted to start a discussion. How much privacy is too much privacy (in Social Media)? Does the Commissioner have any jurisdiction over Facebook?