Facebook adds insult to injury

Up until now I’ve been a lurker relative to the Facebook privacy controversy— happy to read all the commentaries, but not too motivated to jump in with my own point of view.  Until now.  Apparently, Facebook has decided they need to do something to address the growing criticism of Open Graph.  But instead of saying “hey, maybe we mis-understood our customers’  privacy sensitivities” they instead decided to position Facebook customers as confused and in need of a “simpler solution”.

Tim Sparapani, Facebook’s chief of public policy, said in a radio interview today that, in response to apparent frustration and confusion around privacy options,  “We are going to be providing options for users who want simplistic bands of privacy that they can choose from and I think we will see that in the next couple of weeks.”

Simple solutions and choice are good.  But it’s clear, based on the interview that FB is in major spin mode.  According to Sparapani the new privacy policy is simply intended to  allow people to “broaden their online identity”.  Sparapani goes on to suggest that FB should be thought of as “an extraordinary gift to the public because it has allowed every website to be customized and individualized for people”.  Hmm.

Admittedly, I am not a huge user of Facebook – it seems to require more time and attention than I have to give at the moment.  But after seeing this interview with Sparapani, I am even less inclined.  Any company that responds to trust concerns by saying “hey we’re a gift” instead of “we need to do a better job of listening to our customers” is not one I’m much interested in supporting.  Seems like a good opportunity for the FB alternative crowd.

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