From a stage at the D8 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg defended the company’s privacy policies as he discussed the idea of maintaining the balance between sharing and privacy.
“Privacy is a really important issue for us and for the Internet,” Zuckerberg explained in a June 2 interview by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, co-executive editors of the Wall Street Journal. “So we spend a lot of time thinking about these things … Making these products so that people can share and that people have control and that [it is] simple to do both, is this balance. Opt-in versus opt-out is one part of that balance.”
The dance between privacy by default and sharing by default has been very visible in recent statements by privacy advocates about Facebook. The week of May 24, Facebook changed its privacy controls in response to some of the criticism it had taken during the month. But that still left some unsatisfied, with groups such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center calling for Facebook to make information private by default, as opposed to public.
Facebook is no stranger to backlash, Zuckerberg recalled. When Facebook launched News Feed, many people wanted to be able to decide whether to turn it on or off. Looking back on it, it would be “pretty crazy” if News Feed weren’t there by default, he said. There are whole services where “all they are now is a News Feed,” he explained.
“My prediction would be that a few years from now, we’ll look back and wonder why there was ever this time when all these Websites and applications-whether they are mobile applications or Websites-weren’t personalized in some way, whether it’s through social plug-ins or [Facebook] Connect or instant personalization or whatever programs other companies come out with,” he said. “But I just think the world is moving in this direction where things are going to be designed more around people, and I think that’s going to be a really powerful direction.”