Last week’s headlines were dominated by stories of Facebook privacy issues.
Reasonable bloggers and headline grabbers like Huffington Post ran stories about how to delete your Facebook profile and there’s even a Quit Facebook Day movement afoot. (Mind you the Huff Post piece ran next to an article about Lindsay Lohan throwing a drink on someone.)
All of this was stirred up by some significant changes to Facebook’s privacy policies, recent tech slip ups, and a practice of making shared info the default setting. And of course the various videos of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talking about privacy can be chilling too.
But, here’s the point that few seem to be grasping. The Internet is an inherently unprivate, unsafe, place. Why do people believe that a company that builds a service to make a profit and then gives it away for free is going to have our best interest at heart. Why in the world are people surprised that Facebook is making these moves. And most importantly why do we feel entitled to protection and privacy when the real issue is that people are sharing things they shouldn’t share in this or perhaps any environment.
No company deserves that kind of trust. Facebook, Google, Microsoft and even the cherished Apple care about making a profit. While I don’t think any of these organizations are evil by nature, we need to see them for what they are – utilities to be used in reasonable ways to grow our business. (Although I do think Zuckerberg may have slept through his Business Ethics class at Harvard)
Facebook is a good tool for business. I think they could certainly handle the way they communicate much better, but don’t let the immature behavior and recent stir up about privacy issues convince you to sit it out as one valuable way to reach and engage customers and prospects. But, do see it for it is – a utility. And keep an eye on your privacy settings.
Image credit: Mark Zuckerberg and Pete Cashmore magerleagues