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Randi Zuckerberg runs afoul of Facebook’s new privacy rules

It looks like Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg’s sister and the mind behind Bravo’s grating reality show “Start-ups,” had an awkward encounter with Facebook’s decidedly murky privacy rules this Christmas. Seemingly, even Clan Zucks isn’t immune from Facebook battering their private lives.

It all happened innocently enough. Early this morning, Randi posted a photo showing her family’s (hilarious) reaction to Facebook’s new Poke app. Vox Media’s Callie Schweitzer saw it shortly thereafter and took to Twitter with the find.

And things went downhill from there.

In a series of tweets that have since been deleted, Zuckerberg took umbrage to her private family photo being made into news, wanting to know how it became so widely available.

twitter rzSchweitzer swiftly apologized, saying she thought she saw the picture because she subscribed to Zuckerberg’s updates. But Zuckerberg thought the more likely cause was because Schweitzer happens to be friends with her sister.

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She then wrote the matter off as one of digital etiquette, where asking permission is just the decent thing to do.

Which could be considered fair — except that Schweitzer, whatever the provenance of the picture in question, isn’t Zuckerberg’s friend. She’s a media professional, whereas Zuckerberg herself is a public figure. Had her sister handed the picture off to a paparazzo, or, worse, that paparazzo hid in the bushes and was somehow able to gleen that the whole family was having a lol-fest over Poke’s inherent awkwardness, that would be a considerably more clear-cut problem. But given the passive exchange of information on Facebook, things get hazier.

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Schweitzer, for her part, took the picture down, but still found it endearing enough to be worth making public.

All this confusion beautifully encapsulates Facebook’s unwieldy privacy policies, which might be exacerbated in public life. Randi, like the rest of us, trusted the site to keep her picture private and never gave it much thought. Instead, she would have done herself a service by reviewing her privacy settings or being careful not to tag herself.

Or she should could have used Google+. Then maybe none of this would have happened.

Photo via Buzzfeed