What’s at Stake With Facebook is Not Privacy or Publicity But Informed Consent and Choice

If you’re still thinking about Facebook and privacy (and if you’re not you should be) these are some must read articles.

Baym at Online Fandom has a recent post titled Why, despite myself, I am not leaving Facebook. Yet. It addresses some criticism of the criticisms of Facebook in her book including

  • Twitter’s public, where’s the rage against Twitter?
  • If you think it’s so evil, just leave.
  • Facebook needs to make money.
  • If you don’t want it shared, don’t share it.

I’ve stayed on Facebook for the same reasons as Nancy has and she explains them much more articulately than I ever could.  I agree with her that “Facebook has engaged in a bait and switch.”

I want a Facebook that really believes that people have a right to select how their information will be shared, instead of a belief that they’re too dumb to figure it out if the settings are too confusing so it’s okay to dupe them.

In danah boyd’s Facebook and “radical transparency” (a rant) she states

What I find most fascinating in all of the discussions of transparency is the lack of transparency by Facebook itself.

As for statements by Zuckerburg and others that people, especially  youth, don’t care about their privacy, she notes an upcoming report from the Pew and American Life Project

Youth are actually much more concerned about exposure than adults these days. Why? Probably because they get it.

Most notably and as always danah boyd gets to the heart of the matter.

The battle that is underway is not a battle over the future of privacy and publicity. It’s a battle over choice and informed consent. It’s unfolding because people are being duped, tricked, coerced, and confused into doing things where they don’t understand the consequences. Facebook keeps saying that it gives users choices, but that is completely unfair. It gives users the illusion of choice and hides the details away from them “for their own good.”

Be sure to read her follow-up Facebook is a utility; utilities get regulated

Even more

  1. Facebook Executive Answers Reader Questions
  2. Facebook Privacy: A Bewildering Tangle of Options
  3. The Big Game, Zuckerberg and Overplaying your Hand
  4. The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World
  5. Publics and Counterpublics

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