Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mark Zuckerburg Likes Settlers of Catan...And Other Ridiculous Things from the World of Facebook

The New York Times posted Facebook's answers regarding a set of questions users submitted last week. And surprise! The answers provided are a TOTAL cop-out.

To wit:
It used to be that I could limit what strangers saw about me to almost nothing. I could not show my profile picture, not allow them to “poke” or message me, certainly not allow them to view my profile page. Now, even my interests have to be public information. Why can’t I control my own information anymore? sxchen, New York

Joining Facebook is a conscious choice by vast numbers of people who have stepped forward deliberately and intentionally to connect and share. We study user activity. We’ve found that a few fields of information need to be shared to facilitate the kind of experience people come to Facebook to have. That’s why we require the following fields to be public: name, profile photo (if people choose to have one), gender, connections (again, if people choose to make them), and user ID number. Facebook provides a less satisfying experience for people who choose not to post a photo or make connections with friends or interests. But, other than name and gender, nothing requires them to complete these fields or share information they do not want to share. If you’re not comfortable sharing, don’t.


Why not simply set everything up for opt-in rather than opt-out? Facebook seems to assume that users generally want all the details of their private lives made public. abycats, New York

Everything is opt-in on Facebook. Participating in the service is a choice. We want people to continue to choose Facebook every day. Adding information — uploading photos or posting status updates or “like” a Page — are also all opt-in. Please don’t share if you’re not comfortable. That said, we certainly will continue to work to improve the ease and access of controls to make more people more comfortable. Your assumption about our assumption is simply incorrect. We don’t believe that. We’re happy to make the record on that clear.

On the latest fiasco:

Why must I link to a page for my school, job, or interests and make them public, or delete the information entirely?Absolutely Not, Chicago

It turns out that less than 20 percent of users had filled out the text fields of this information. By contrast, more than 70 percent of users have ‘liked’ Pages to be connected to these kinds of ideas, experiences and organizations. That is the primary reason we offered the transition — because it reflects the way people are using our service already. While we see tremendous benefit to connecting to interests, we recognize that certain people may still want to share information about themselves through static text. That’s why we continue to provide a number of places for doing this, including the Bio section of the profile. In these places, just as when you share a piece of content like a photo or status update, we give you complete control over the privacy of the information and exactly who can see it. However, we know we could have done a better job explaining all of this and you can expect to see new materials on the site soon. I’m sorry we didn’t do a better job.

Stop being conciliatory and DO A BETTER JOB. No excuses. Be realistic.

But the best part was discovering that Mark Zuckerburg has a very open profile. VERY open. As does his girlfriend. Ridiculous!

Update: Facebook has called an agency-wide meeting tomorrow to discuss their terrible image. Hopefully some major changes will be made.

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