Winston Lawrence

Project Manager & Occasional developer

The Zuckerberg Conundrum - A Facebook Apology

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It must be tough being CEO of one of the largest internet properties around and still having to prepare a sincere heartfelt apology each year. Facebook has been in the news due to an uproar over its privacy settings - not a surprise since it is time for the annual, since 2006, Facebook Privacy Uproar and Media Circus Event.

Until today's Washington Post column by Zuckerberg came out, I wasn't going to write anything about the company or lack of privacy because at the end of the day, Facebook users by and large don't care about
privacy issues. Facebook is only publishing the information that it has been provided and it doesn't take a genius to understand that something you want to remain private probably should not be published on the internet - in any form - ever.

So in the same spirit of the ridiculous that this new Facebook Privacy Media Event has created my post is called "The Zuckerberg apology".

I've compiled some of the great Zuckerberg mea culpa's of the past so that you can compare them to today's Zuckerberg opus. You decide what factors make a given apology your personal best (honesty, timeliness, stated course of action etc) and then if you feel like it, post your decision as a comment to this post - I'll tally them up or something down the road and add the results to the end of this post.

2010 - 'We will keep listening'
By Mark Zuckerberg Monday, May 24, 2010
...We have heard the feedback. There needs to be a simpler way to control your information. In the coming weeks, we will add privacy controls that are much simpler to use. We will also give you an easy way to turn off all third-party services. ...We have also heard that some people don't understand how their personal information is used and worry that it is shared in ways they don't want. I'd like to clear that up now. Many people choose to make some of their information visible to everyone so people they know can find them on Facebook. We already offer controls to limit the visibility of that information and we intend to make them even stronger.

2009 - People own and control their information
by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, February 16, 2009 at 2:09pm
....A couple of weeks ago, we updated our terms of use to clarify a few points for our users. A number of people have raised questions about our changes, so I'd like to address those here. ....In reality, we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work. Our goal is to build great products and to communicate clearly to help people share more information in this trusted environment.

2007 - Thoughts on Beacon
by Mark Zuckerberg, December 5th, 2007
We've made a lot of mistakes building this feature, but we've made even more with how we've handled them. We simply did a bad job with this release, and I apologize for it. While I am disappointed with our mistakes, we appreciate all the feedback we have received from our users.... Last week we changed Beacon to be an opt-in system, and today we're releasing a privacy control to turn off Beacon completely.

2006 - News Feed and Mini-Feed
by Mark Zuckerberg on Friday, September 8, 2006 at 2:48am
We really messed this one up. When we launched News Feed and Mini-Feed we were trying to provide you with a stream of information about your social world. Instead, we did a bad job of explaining what the new features were and an even worse job of giving you control of them. I'd like to try to correct those errors now. When I made Facebook two years ago my goal was to help people understand what was going on in their world a little better. I wanted to create an environment where people could share whatever information they wanted, but also have control over whom they shared that information with. I think a lot of the success we've seen is because of these basic principles.

Winston Lawrence

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