Why Defaults Matter - Another Look at the Facebook Debate

The Blog of Tom Webster

  2010-05-17 14:33:00 PDT

Not all of us are computer geeks… Actually… the vast majority of us are anything but. Yes, there are privacy settings, and in the case that you have a PhD in Facebooking, you can edit these settings and know exactly how they will function. In a perfect world, we could set, process, and understand each and every one of these privacy settings and know exactly how they will work, regardless of our friends’ privacy settings, the applications they use, or the websites we visit that have included Facebook technology.
Facebook’s privacy settings have been worsening ever since the company came into being in 2004, and it doesn’t look like Facebook’s stance will change anytime in the near future. I’ve deleted my account for a few reasons, but the biggest reason is the same as Leo Laporte’s. If I continue to stay on Facebook, even as just a content publisher and aggregator, I’m pushing people to continue to use that service and put their privacy and data at risk. Just my presence on the service is like saying, “No, its ok if you’re on Facebook, just use it in this way.”, but we all know that won’t fix anything. Just by participating, I’m giving more power to the Facebook machine. This is why I’ve decided to end my Facebook account and move to more open services. Jason Calacanis made many excellent points in his blog post/email and it appears that he will also follow suit. As always, you can follow me here or on Twitter to stay up with the latest.