Who is Mark Zuckerberg Serving?

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One might assume that Facebook–conceived and built on collaboration, networking and transparency–would take great care as a steward of participants’ privacy. At the least, one would presume that decisions affecting the privacy of others would be based on knowledgeable consent.

Time and again Mark Zuckerberg has been shown to have a tin ear to these issues. He appears to conflate secrecy with privacy. He has presumed consent or acquiescence on the part of users. He seems to think that his views ought to be applied, taking away others’ autonomy.

If Zuckerberg were open about all these decisions, presenting the options to users in an understandable format, and using an opt-in rather than opt-out approach, he would be acting in concert with the times.

Yet again, news reports indicate he’s trampled on the privacy rights of others. 

Who is he serving?

Apparently, he’s serving himself, and his views at the expense of others. He may also be playing off the trust of Facebook users who are receiving a service that is “free” to them–yet Facebook is being paid handsomely by institutions who want to mine users’ personal information, web habits, etc.

Mr. Zuckerberg and Facebook should come clean immediately. They should provide serviceable transparency–easily understood, with options fully in control of the users.

Most importantly, the privacy of users should be the default position going forward.

As it is, Facebook’s action may have wide-ranging consequences. Already, at least one other social media enterprise is following Facebook’s lead for competitive reasons. History suggests that litigation and regulation may not be far behind.

Taken together, it’s clear that if Mr. Zuckerberg continues to drop the ball on trust issues, he may threaten the company’s future. As one who uses and admires Facebook, I hope their board is taking this seriously.

What do you think?

Who is Mark Zuckerberg Serving?