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July 13, 2010 / Joe Osborne

Coffee Talk: It’s Tin Foil Hat Time!

Welcome to Geekadelphia’s weekly discussion column, Cofffee Talk, where we talk about the finer topics concerning video games, technology and all the other things you can’t talk about with your slightly-less-geeky friends. Have questions or suggestions? Send an email to or tweet with us. Follow me on Twitter if you’d like to keep this week’s discussion alive.

In a recent interview at the 2009 Crunchies with TechCrunch founder Mike Arrigton, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg touched on the future of internet privacy and Facebook’s role in how it’s changing. When asked where he feels privacy on the web is going in light of Facebook’s recent policy change, Zuckerberg responded with,

“…in the last 5 or 6 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 be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are. “

Funny thing, this wasn’t how he felt before Facebook’s big shift last December from nearly absolute privacy to almost full transparency. Web surfers now have the ability to see user’s names, friend lists, networks, pictures and even the pages they subscribe to with just a quick Google search. More discussion and the full interview after the jump.

ReadWriteWeb’s Marshall Kirkpatrick spoke with Zuckerberg this past March about the importance of data portability for the future of the internet (i.e.merging user data with several different sites), but most importantly how privacy plays into that. He said to Kirkpatrick that, “Privacy controls are integral to the core of Facebook, Zuckerberg pointed out. ‘That’s the vector around which Facebook operates.'”

However, ten months later and look where we are. So, what could have it been that changed the game and why does Zuckerberg say the blogosphere is to blame for this increase in openness? It seems as if Zuckerberg is blaming other social phenomena for this change in philosophy, but couldn’t Facebook be considered a social phenomenon in itself?

During the interview with Arrington, Zuckerberg claims that this level of openness “is just something that has evolved over time.”

I’d have to go out on a limb and say that things do not just evolve over time. Every drop of water causes ripples and Facebook has made nothing short of waves in changing how we interact with one another via the internet.  How do you guys and gals feel about this recent change and what could it mean for privacy on the internet as a whole? Furthermore, why do you think Facebook decided to go against its once firm stance on user privacy as integral to the progress of social networks?


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