In Defense of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg

Of course some things are nobody’s business. But if you shared it on Facebook in the first place, then why are you complaining that it’s nobody’s business?

This Facebook privacy issue is getting out of hand.

First a little bit about Mark

I am SO impressed with this kid. I’ve looked at a bunch of 30 under 30 lists. Compared to Mark, their accomplishments are a joke. Compared to Mark, our accomplishments are a joke. And I feel like that has a lot to do with the flak he’s getting. You can’t rise too high without hands grabbing at your legs to pull you down. A 20-something kid is not supposed to become a billionaire and own the most popular site on the web. That’s upsetting to some in their 20s. That’s even more upsetting to some in their 40s. Friendster and MySpace are cesspools of intrusive spam. They’re still available, but no one is criticizing their founders for the lack of privacy there. If you are upset with Mark Zuckerberg for any reason, be careful that your words don’t reek with envy. This happened to Bill Gates when he and Microsoft were at the top, and then we were left with Ballmer and Vista. PLEASE tread lightly.

Facebook has done more to bring people together than any technology in human history.

Opt In vs. Opt Out

You can restrict access to anything and everything on Facebook, and customize the access to it all in great detail, so privacy really isn’t any sort of issue. All the fire and rage seems to be about the fact that the default settings are to enable profiles to be open, and that you have to manually restrict access to others if that’s what you want; that you must manually “opt out” of sharing openly. A group of people are demanding vigorously that Facebook profiles should begin restricted and require you to “opt in” to sharing.

First… Sharing Is What Facebook Is. The site is more functional for everyone when people are open. In fact the Facebook experience would probably suck if people begin as hermits. In fact, it’s kind of annoying and lame when friends close off everything, but that’s their choice. I’m certainly glad it’s not the default. I think Facebook would be much less usable and a much less important service with restriction as the default.

Second… The Site Is FREE. Yes, you paid nothing for Facebook. Not one dollar for the ability to find out what’s happening with all your friends, to connect with long lost ones, to share and update and connect with friends in real time, to learn more about them and their interests in ways you never would have had Mark Zuckerberg and his group of techies not worked non stop for that past 6 years to develop this. If Facebook wasn’t so uniquely powerful and useful, it would not have half a billion fervent users.

Third… my friend Doug Hac said it best: There is a very simple solution to the Facebook privacy issue. Don’t put it on Facebook. Done.

What are you afraid of?

What the fuck is the big deal that everyone is so worried about sharing? Since I signed up in 2007, I’ve had all my facebook settings opened to the general public. Even my address is up there. I’ve never had any problem with it. Go ahead and send me some hate mail, in person if you like.

I met some guy once who printed a separate set of business cards just for going out, with a new phone number that just goes to a voice mail, that he gives to girls when he meets them. He was advising me how to set it all up, and I was listening until I stopped and asked, “what for?” “Just in case I meet a girl who’s crazy” he tells me. I ask him “have you ever met a crazy girl that was a problem?” He says “no, but it’s better to be careful”. “Well I have, and so what? Just ignore her. It’s not really a big deal, and it’s kind of amusing anyway”. He wasn’t that attractive or even very cool. What the fuck is he protecting himself from?

That’s how I see the group screaming about their Facebook privacy. They’re mostly a bunch of nerds that nobody really cares or notices if they like World of Warcraft or Jap Anime Porn Stars. Relax, no one is watching you change in the gym locker room, and anyway you can go hide in the toilet stall if you want. All the settings are there to hide everything you do. And if you’re gonna get together and leave Facebook in a big furious show of anger, is anyone really going to care or notice? Or are they going to continue connecting and socializing in their pajamas?

Does anyone remember MySpace? Does anyone remember Friendster?
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That’s right. Thank Mark Zuckerberg for bringing us an option of this incredible resource to our lives.


(ps. Mark, guys, can you now turn your attention to making Facebook Invites more functional and competitive with Evite and Anyvite? Hint: Pluses. Awesome, thanks fellas.)