Zuckerberg: Online Privacy Is Not A “Social Norm”

500-zuckerberg

Speaking at an awards show in San Francisco over the weekend, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg described increased sharing of personal information with wider groups of people and businesses as a new “social norm,” pointing out the vast number of people on the Internet who post information about their lives to blogs and who have become “comfortable” sharing information about themselves—and their activities, habits, and purchases—with more and more people and businesses. And in doing so, Zuckerberg describes Facebook’s recent privacy overhauls—which default to sharing substantial information about users with the whole world—as keeping with with current social norms. In other words, in Zuckerberg’s world view, online privacy is not something Internet users expect.

Zuckerberg’s comments come as his company has recently revamped its default privacy settings for Facebook accounts so that, by default, users photos, profile, and status updates are accessible to the entire Internet—including search engines like Google, which have the capability to store the information in cache for an indefinite period of time, effectively making it “immortal” on the Internet. If users do not wish to share that data with the entire world, they have to specifically alter their privacy settings to block that information from being shared.

The Electronic Privacy Freedom Foundation has filed a complaint (PDF) with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that Facebook’s privacy practices endanger its users in an age of online predators, surveillance, and identity theft, and that the company is engaging in “unfair and deceptive practices.” Groups signing on with EPIC’s complaint include the American Library Association, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the Consumer Federation of America.

Zuckerberg may be correct in asserting there is a growing generation of Internet users who don’t care whether information they post to Facebook or other social networking services is widely shared with the world, businesses, and other Internet users; certainly, that sort of real “lifestyle” data is invaluable to advertisers who seek to target Internet users based on their interests and habits. However, lack of online privacy—and users’ cognizance of it—may also generate a backlash, wherein the information users choose to share with the world is exaggerated, half-true, or outright fictional as users create online personas to protect the privacy of their real lives. In that way, lack of online privacy actually works counter to the business interests of social networking sites, because the information they’re providing to their users—and advertisers—may not be a close match with reality.

Smart Home

The Google Home Hub doesn’t have a camera. Here’s why that’s a good thing

Bucking the smart display trend, Google's new $149 Home Hub smart display surprisingly doesn't have a camera. We think a camera-less Google smart speaker with a screen is a good thing, and here's why.
Computing

Your ‘Do Not Track’ tool might be helping websites track you, study says

New research from the "Do Not Track" features embedded in popular browsers are being ignored, opening up the possibility of consumers having their information targeted by specific ads based on their web histories and cookies. 
Computing

Was your Facebook account hacked in the latest breach? Here’s how to find out

Facebook now reports that its latest data breach affected only 30 million users, down from an initial estimate of 50 million accounts. You can also find out if hackers had accessed your account by visiting a dedicated portal.
Music

Spotify vs. Pandora: Which music streaming service is better for you?

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Computing

Which is best: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme or the 15-inch MacBook Pro?

To try and help nail down the best 15-inch laptops in the world, we compared the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme vs. MacBook Pro 15 in a head to head that looked at their power, design, and portability.
Computing

Microsoft co-founder, Seahawks owner Paul Allen dies at 65

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died on October 15 of complications from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The cancer survivor was best known for his entrepreneurial spirit and his frequent contributions to charities.
Product Review

Don't bother with any other 2-in-1. The Surface Pro 6 is still the best

The Surface Pro been updated to its sixth generation, now coming dressed in black and packing a quad-core processor. Outside of that, you’ll have to dig a little deeper to see where Microsoft has made some truly noteworthy improvements.
Computing

How does Microsoft’s newest Surface stack up against the Apple iPad Pro?

In an era where everyone is taking a bite at Apple’s products, we’ve stacked up the 12.9-inch iPad Pro against the latest Surface Pro 6. Check out this comparison guide to see which one gives you more bang for your buck.
Computing

Leaked benchmarks suggest rumored AMD GPU could be king of midrange graphics

AMD's next GPU may not be Navi-based after all. Rumors continue to build about an RX 590 which has now shown up on 3DMark's benchmark database, delivering results that easily outstrip stock clocked GTX 1060s.
Emerging Tech

Curious how A.I. 'brains' work? Here's a super-simple breakdown of deep learning

What is deep learning? A branch of machine learning, this field deals with the creation of neural networks that are modeled after the brain and adept at dealing with large amounts of human-oriented data, like writing and voice commands.
Computing

Qualcomm’s ‘Snapdragon 1000’ could bring octa-cores to Windows laptops

The rumored Qualcomm Snapdragon 1000 CPU may bring the octa-core design of mobiles and tablets to Windows laptops, offering four powerful cores for high performance, and four low-power cores for efficiency.
Computing

Is the new Surface Pro 6 worth the extra money or is the Surface Go good enough?

Each of Microsoft’s Surface devices are great, but with the recent addition of the Surface Pro 6, you might be wondering how it stacks up against the Surface Go. In this comparison piece, we’ve put the two devices up against each other…
Computing

Is the Surface Pro 6 a sidestep, or does it blow away its predecessor?

How good is the new Surface Pro, and is it worth an upgrade? The best way to find out is to pit the Surface Pro 6 vs. Surface Pro 5 in a head to head that tests them both on performance, design, and portability.
Computing

These gloves will make virtual reality feel even more immersive

Scientists from EPFL and ETH Zurich have come up with a thin and light VR glove which makes it so that a touch of an object in the virtual world equates to the physical touch you would expect in real life.