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Facebook: human decency optional
December 26, 2012 12:21 PM   Subscribe

Facebook's privacy settings even confuse former Facebook marketing director Randi Zuckerberg.
posted by Foci for Analysis (55 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Publicity stunt. Next?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:23 PM on December 26, 2012


Because if there's one thing Facebook is good for, it's spreading human decency.
posted by item at 12:24 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


Don't want your photos on the Internet? Don't put them there.
posted by thelonius at 12:24 PM on December 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


A publicity stunt? But what on earth for? Is Facebook really scheming for ways to make themselves look bad?
posted by koeselitz at 12:26 PM on December 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


The important thing to know is that the new "Poke" lasts longer than the average 19 year old male.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:26 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Publicity stunt. Next?

For who's benefit? On the face of it, no one involved in this comes out looking good. Not Facebook, Randi Zuckerberg, or Schweitzer.
posted by figurant at 12:27 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


For who's benefit?

To tell people about the new "Poke" thing. I wouldn't have heard of it had I not clicked on that link. I bet I'm not the only one.

Though it's not exactly the same situation, Randi Zuckerberg seemed to feel differently about online privacy last year.
posted by troika at 12:31 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


A marketing person confused by computer preferences?

Well, certainly not Newsfilter, is it?
posted by eriko at 12:32 PM on December 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


Oh jesus, people. Sharing a share is the entire fucking point of these sites. If it didn't work this way, and effortlessly, no one would use them. Crying like a little baby when the site works as it was intended is disingenuous to the maximum.

This simply highlights the fact that controlling who sees what is still important, and pretending that FB is "the internet" and therefore, is exempt from privacy concerns is also disingenuous. FB, G+, Twitter is not the internet. They are walled gardens tended by corporate interests, and they have made implicit and explicit promises to control the flow of information through their garden. This is their fucking business model.

The fact is that no one knows how to offer a site that does what we all want: share for sharing except when we don't want that. But FB has a done a terrible job at even understanding this problem.

At least G+ warns you when you are about to share something beyond the original circles.
posted by clvrmnky at 12:36 PM on December 26, 2012 [13 favorites]


There's gonna be a lot more tears and drama before the Average Person really comprehends how "private" the Internet in general and social media in particular just isn't. Even here on Metafilter, I don't think some people realize (or maybe forget sometimes) how highly visible our comments are outside our little website here.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:41 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


The expectation of privblicity is one of the reasons that Facebook is so much better than what it replaces (the Internet), so this is a serious problem that needs to be addressed by changing human behavior.
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 12:48 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not the privacy you need to worry about, it's the permanence.
posted by fullerine at 12:48 PM on December 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


What does facebook have to gain by having such confusing and obscure privacy settings?

I tried to figure them out, realized I wasn't able to do it, so just decided to post less things (i.e. nothing) and use facebook less. I don't think I'm alone in that.

Is there some monetary gains to having people use your site *less*, especially when your site's revenue is mostly ad-driven?

Or am I missing something?
posted by Riton at 12:54 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh jesus, people. Sharing a share is the entire fucking point of these sites. If it didn't work this way, and effortlessly, no one would use them. Crying like a little baby when the site works as it was intended is disingenuous to the maximum.

A lot of people seem to be misunderstanding what happened here, to some extent (not to single you out, clvrmnky)

Schweitzer was able to see the photo because she is friends of Randi's sister, who was tagged in the photo. "Friends of friends", by default, are able to see photos if the mutual friend is tagged. Yes, this is one of those confusing privacy settings, and many people don't realize it.

But Schweitzer did not "share the share", in this instance. the photo was not propagated through Facebook. Instead, she saved a local copy of the picture, then uploaded it to Twitter separately (note the pic.twitter.com domain in her initial tweet). No amount of Facebook settings control could stop someone initially allowed to see the photo from doing this. It's a much bigger issue than Facebook or any sort of privacy settings, and is pretty much the reason rule #1 of the Internet (not just the social media site du jour) is "don't upload anything you wouldn't want the world to see".
posted by Roommate at 1:05 PM on December 26, 2012 [21 favorites]


There's gonna be a lot more tears and drama before the Average Person really comprehends how "private" the Internet in general and social media in particular just isn't. Even here on Metafilter, I don't think some people realize (or maybe forget sometimes) how highly visible our comments are outside our little website here.

Well, as to the second sentence, that's just human nature, isn't it? Our monkey brains can't really compute the idea of a one-to-one connection with millions of people. This site has a culture, names and personalities and codes that we become familiar with, and we know how to deal with that and are able to establish a comfort level with what we're willing to disclose or not, in this context. We become acclimated. But the idea that everything you write is also being read by tens of thousands of strangers? I don't think that we can keep that in our brain at the same time as we're trying to come up with clever little remarks to impress our little circle of friends. I mean, one knows it in an abstract way, but I don't know if it's even literally possible to feel as if I'm talking to a small gathering of acquaintences and to feel as if I'm talking to a huge crowd of strangers at the same time. Your own internal sense of awareness, of protocol, don't work that way. So I think this will always be an issue.

What might I think happen instead is that the switch will flip --- that despite facebook's best efforts to make you feel as if you're talking to intimates, enough people will be scarred by things like these that instead we'll all feel as if we're declaiming to strangers, and adopt the protocols for that situation instead. I feel like this is already happening a bit --- just the other day I was reading a post by a blogger talking about how all the professional acquaintances who used to read his pot-stirring blog and comment about it and repost his stuff on social media seem to have retreated to blandness, sticking to the professional equivalent of small talk and cheerleading, lest they piss off a potential client by expressing an opinion. He drew a comparison between their facebook profiles and interviewing applicants for his Ivy League alma matter, finding that same apple-polishing eagerness to appear perfect and inoffensive present in both contexts.

It's funny, because Zuckerberg himself, the proud believer in everybody only needing one persona, one face, one real self to present to friends and family and boss and employee and society ---- he seems to be, quite naturally, the blandest motherfucker on the planet. Maybe someday we'll find out he's actually an interesting person, or maybe being a bajillionaire will bend him enough to give his personality some interesting kinks. But in the meantime we're all going to have to be like him if we want to use his toy...
posted by Diablevert at 1:08 PM on December 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


Is there some monetary gains to having people use your site *less*, especially when your site's revenue is mostly ad-driven?

They're counting on the fact that more people won't stop using the site than will -- and that their total social online content being in their own walled garden means that the people who don't leave are even more valuable to advertisers because they're more willing to play along in the first place.
posted by chimaera at 1:09 PM on December 26, 2012


To tell people about the new "Poke" thing. I wouldn't have heard of it had I not clicked on that link. I bet I'm not the only one.

Poking has been around since Facebook's inception. I think it disappeared for a while (likely because it can be hellaciously annoying) but has made a comeback.
posted by schroedinger at 1:09 PM on December 26, 2012


Yeah, but they have some kind of app for poking now, and I guess there are changes to how it works.
posted by koeselitz at 1:13 PM on December 26, 2012


I've always wondered about making a 'self destucting' group on facebook.

Something like: "If this group reaches 10,000,000 users, we will all close our facebook accounts"

Heh, if this worked we could even create a way for people who joined the group to short facebook stock.
posted by Riton at 1:15 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


instead we'll all feel as if we're declaiming to strangers, and adopt the protocols for that situation instead.

Somehow, I figured that out about FB day one, but then I had previous experience with the Internet (TM).
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:16 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The new Poke is essentially a SnapChat rip-off. You can send somebody a photo or video and once they see it, it deletes itself.

This would be an entirely unnecessary feature, since it's essentially a multimedia Instant Messaging app, but since Facebook set its Chat app to archive every single message sent with it, there's a need for a new layer of temporary communication.

Wouldn't be surprised if Facebook is archiving these Pokes for some future timeline shit, though. They do like to make you feel nostalgic for Things You Did On Facebook.
posted by Rory Marinich at 1:19 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


troika: “To tell people about the new 'Poke' thing. I wouldn't have heard of it had I not clicked on that link. I bet I'm not the only one.”

So, uh – that still seems kind of dubious. If they wanted to tell people about the new 'Poke' thing, why on earth would they do it in a way that makes Facebook look bad? You could argue (as Randi has) that this doesn't have anything to do with privacy, but I am pretty certain that won't be the public perception. The public perception is that Facebook privacy settings are once again too confusing for anybody. Which doesn't really seem like an ideal way to introduce what's supposed to be a fancy retooled feature.
posted by koeselitz at 1:19 PM on December 26, 2012


Facebook: "What's happening, Dave?"
Me: "Well Facebook, I'm thinking I might be experiencing Stockholm syndrome."
posted by davebush at 1:21 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh I totally agree, koeselitz. It just sounded like the only thing that could be promoted in this "news" story.
posted by troika at 1:23 PM on December 26, 2012


Facebook: "What's happening, Dave?"
Me: "Well Facebook, I'm thinking I might be experiencing Stockholm syndrome."


Facebook: "I'm sorry, Dave . . . "
posted by The Bellman at 1:33 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Facebook's like you ma': it's for your good she knows everything, xcept don't piss the ol'lady else you're in a sea of trouble, grasshopper. Except it's not your ma' , it's a bunch of strangers.
posted by elpapacito at 1:38 PM on December 26, 2012


"Because if there's one thing Facebook is good for, it's spreading human decency."

...even as they implement features that are tailor made to encourage people to spam, troll, and otherwise violate the privacy of one another.
posted by markkraft at 1:50 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


ReadWrite chimes in with a response.
posted by gimonca at 2:02 PM on December 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Diablevert: Your own internal sense of awareness, of protocol, don't work that way.

I agree that it's probably "human nature" to forget about a potential wider audience. But I disagree with the statement I quoted above, at least in the sense that I don't think our nature prevents us from learning to be aware of that larger group and adjust our internal sense accordingly. It may be that I'm a rather private person anyway, but like randomkeystrike I realized early on that I don't know who's going to see what I put online and so have managed not to be too much of a fool in public. No embarrassing or otherwise private pics of me, thanks, and I stand by what I do put online.

As more people get more experienced with technology and its inherent public-ness, things may change. But until then, yeah, tears and drama and bitter lessons.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:02 PM on December 26, 2012


"Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend's photo publicly. It's not about privacy settings, it's about human decency," Randi said in a tweet.
Yeah, I'm gonna have to call a big "FUCK YOU" on that one, Randi. Basic human decency is: not blaming someone for innocently fwding something they saw on the internet, because you don't understand the privacy policies/your software is designed to ignore common perceptions of privacy.

If she erred, it wasn't as bad as your blame gaming. Since you're part of the $billion problem...
posted by IAmBroom at 2:07 PM on December 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


They do like to make you feel nostalgic for Things You Did On Facebook.

Which is super weird considering how of-the-moment most of the Facebook UI is. The other day I was like 'Hey someone posted a neat article about [X] that I'd like to reread, I wonder who that was' and guess what, the Facebook built-in search is 900% useless for that sort of thing. Despite everything's being archived For All Time, infinite scrolling windows, etc., if I want to find something posted two days ago I have to look back through all two days' worth of folks' postings about their cats.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:18 PM on December 26, 2012 [19 favorites]


Riton: "I've always wondered about making a 'self destucting' group on facebook.

Something like: 'If this group reaches 10,000,000 users, we will all close our facebook accounts'
"

Good luck with that. Even if you could convince 10 million users to close your accounts, your numbers would be replaced in a month or two.
posted by mkultra at 2:25 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't think our nature prevents us from learning to be aware of that larger group and adjust our internal sense accordingly. It may be that I'm a rather private person anyway, but like randomkeystrike I realized early on that I don't know who's going to see what I put online and so have managed not to be too much of a fool in public. No embarrassing or otherwise private pics of me, thanks, and I stand by what I do put online.


But that's what I mean --- we certainly can be aware of it, it's just that if we are experiencing that awareness we cannot, at that same moment, feel as if we're talking to friends. We all have rules about what we can and can't say and how we can and can't say it among different groups, and the friends rules are different from the stranger rules. And it's unconscious --- if I start telling a funny anecdote to my grandma, I don't literally think to myself "now, when you tell the next bit don't repeat what the clerk said word for word she'd find it offensive." Whereas if i were talking to close friends I probably would repeat the part where he called the guy a shithead. It's something I just know, and adjust on the fly without thinking about it as I'm telling the story.

Facebook deliberately tries to get its users to put their brains in "intimacy" mode --- you're "sharing" with "friends". It wants to be the place where the most important moments of your life play out. But it can't be that place and also a public place where one exhibits one's public, upstanding citizen personae. You can switch back and forth from one to the other, but you can only feel yourself to be in one mode at a time.

I think you may well be right, that the Average Person will get burned a few times in this or similar ways, and switch from thinking of facebook as place where they talk to their friends to thinking of it as a place where they're in public, on display, and have to be on their best behavior. But if they do then I think facebook becomes a lot less valuable. At the moment, facebook is trying to paper over the distinction, so that you don't notice that your intimate moments are being publically displayed, but then shit like this happens and people feel twice as burned. It will be interesting to see how they try to solve this problem.
posted by Diablevert at 2:30 PM on December 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


If you don't want it out there don't post it on the Internet.


Problem solved.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:34 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yay!
posted by Burhanistan at 2:38 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The way to get around Facebook's shifting privacy policies is to set your profile to all public and then remember that each time you think about posting something to Facebook. It's a good rule for everything you do on the Internet. This is not new information.
posted by Fezboy! at 2:42 PM on December 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Diablevert: Facebook deliberately tries to get its users to put their brains in "intimacy" mode

I see what you mean, and maybe the difference for me personally is that I didn't buy into that concept in the first place. Possibly because my first-ever contact with online discussions of any type was PLATO, where it was pretty evident that there was a "wider audience" involved; and the notion stuck with me.
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:46 PM on December 26, 2012


The problem with the "just don't post it" solution is that everyone you know has to respect your preferences. It's entirely possible to have pictures of you on Facebook, without you having uploaded them, or even having a Facebook account. Do all your friends agree not to put up pictures of you, ever? Do they crop you out of party pics? Blur your face out of their Thanksgiving? Hell, even my employer posts pictures of people at our office parties.
posted by sageleaf at 4:18 PM on December 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


sageleaf, I personally just decide not to care. (Of course I am not of a demographic that has to worry about partying pictures, etc. That does help!)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:29 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is also entirely possible to have pictures of you printed in a newspaper or video of you broadcast on television without you having shot them. Short of a life of hermetic seclusion you cannot ensure that your persona will not be injected into the social milieu. You can control what you put on the Internet. You cannot control what the Internet does with what you put out there. More broadly, you can control what you do, you cannot control what other people do.
posted by Fezboy! at 4:32 PM on December 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


That's why I never consume alcohol or make unattractive faces from any angle.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:35 PM on December 26, 2012 [16 favorites]


Zuckerberg's parents made her hire Randi. She was likely just there to do nothing.
posted by discopolo at 4:57 PM on December 26, 2012


ReadWrite chimes in with a response.

You have to hand it to Dan Lyons. It's not everyone who can write a column I agree with and yet find insufferable and obnoxious.
posted by middleclasstool at 6:01 PM on December 26, 2012


Matt Taibbi.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:02 PM on December 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


Blah blah blah Facebook blah blah blah feel the hate flowing through you blah blah blah dark...side...

I have an account on there but never log on. They asked me to pay them so my friends could see my "status updates." That ended my tenure on the book of face. Oddly enough, I don't miss seeing who needs to harvest crops or what Thomas Jefferson said in 1922.
posted by J.W. at 6:39 PM on December 26, 2012


Schweitzer was able to see the photo because she is friends of Randi's sister, who was tagged in the photo. "Friends of friends", by default, are able to see photos if the mutual friend is tagged. Yes, this is one of those confusing privacy settings, and many people don't realize it.

Which, I think, is the reason for the lolpost: Even Mr. Facebook's own sister doesn't understand how Facebook's privacy works.
posted by NoMich at 6:47 PM on December 26, 2012


Was her fly down in this photo or something? Was she wearing a Cosby Christmas sweater?
posted by Brocktoon at 7:33 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe she was mad cause friend was using Twitter? Maybe it's some kind of viral BS about how Facebook has fine grained privacy controls and Twitter don't? Maybe I'm just still typing this so my wife doesn't call me out for playing FFIV on my iPhone blah blah blah is she still looking no wheeee
posted by infinitewindow at 7:56 PM on December 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


Which, I think, is the reason for the lolpost: Even Mr. Facebook's own sister doesn't understand how Facebook's privacy works.

No, the point is that even Facebook's former director of marketing doesn't understand how Facebook privacy evolved under her tenure. Given her role in creating the platform, no matter how much of a forgotten neposistic figurehead she was, it's time for Randi to put on some big girl pants and admit she made a stupid mistake.

Nobody attached to her fiasco of a Bravo reality show has standing to invoke "human decency", anyway.
posted by SakuraK at 8:15 PM on December 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love how instead of sending a private message to the Twitter user, she gets the vapors and posts on Twitter about her OMGINVASIONOFPRIVACY!! She clearly does not get it.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:44 PM on December 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fezboy!: "It is also entirely possible to have pictures of you printed in a newspaper or video of you broadcast on television without you having shot them. Short of a life of hermetic seclusion you cannot ensure that your persona will not be injected into the social milieu. You can control what you put on the Internet. You cannot control what the Internet does with what you put out there. More broadly, you can control what you do, you cannot control what other people do."

Well, I found out, during some vanity/privacy evaluation Googling of my other name that there is ONE picture of me out there and I have no clue where it came from. It's tasteful enough - Me sitting behind one of my computers shooting a pissed off look at the camera/photographer.

Unfortunately, it is showing up on one of those people search engines so I can't trace the source.
posted by Samizdata at 12:04 AM on December 27, 2012


Randi and her kin probably all get a periodic bonus from Mark if they don't violate his personal privacy policies.

She probably lost part of her bonus when the picture went public. Her reaction has probably led Mark to initiate an individual Please-Shut-Up-Now policy just for Randi.
posted by surplus at 7:06 AM on December 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Should have been more hermetic then, Samizdata?
posted by Fezboy! at 9:21 AM on December 27, 2012


I don't know why anyone would share that boring photo anyway.
posted by stormpooper at 9:24 AM on December 27, 2012


Wait, why doesn't your wife want you to play FF? That's harsh man.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:56 PM on December 31, 2012


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