Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has said that if he were to create Facebook again, user information would be public by default.
In a live interview with TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington, Zuckerberg spends around a minute of the interview talking about the social networking site's privacy policies, which caused users to vent their fury over the changes that will allow them and their details to be visible from web searches.
He claimed that when he was in his dorm room at Harvard, he was asked why he would want to put any information on the internet at all and why would he want to have a website?
Zuckerberg said: “In the last five or six years, blogging has taken off in a huge way and all these different services that have people sharing all this information. People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people. That social norm is just something that has evolved over time.
“We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.”
Referring directly to the privacy changes, he said that he ‘viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner's mind and think, what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it'?
However in an open letter, Craig Kanalley of the Huffington Post claimed that Zuckerberg was ‘moving Facebook in a direction that worries me. You're not listening to your core users, to your base'.
Referring to the privacy changes, he said: “These aren't tools we need. These are tools to spread our personal data to more and more people than ever before, and to make it easier for advertisers to target us. These abrupt changes were a clear act of aggression against your entire user base. And I can assure you that you'll lose users, including myself, if you continue down this path.
“Because here's the thing, Mark. Behind all those numbers, and behind the dollar signs that may be in the back of your mind, there are people. Real people. Human beings. With lives. And friends. And family. And employers. And they're all connected on Facebook. And if the wrong piece of information gets to the wrong person, or if a private detail gets to a marketing company, or if criminals or stalkers find info they need to attack people, you will ruin people's lives.”
Kanalley also claimed that being ‘open' makes sense for Google and Twitter, but for a place stashed with private information, such as Facebook, it should not be the trend.
“You're a site that stores the most private of data, so be careful. Don't mess with people's lives. For Facebook, ‘open' is not the way to go,” he said.