Analyzing Facebook's Privacy Push

Facebook faces up to outrage over its privacy policy. We look at the mea culpas and the new face of privacy online.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a news conference in Palo Alto, Calif., May 27, 2010. (AP)

Rebellion in Facebook country over the last few weeks over privacy. And yesterday, Facebook blinked. 

The online superpower, with nearly a half a billion members posting all manner of personal information worldwide, finally could not resist the howls of unhappiness from users – and some powerful elected officials – outraged over just how much personal laundry was being publically aired and shared for profit all over. 

Facebook says it will now make it easier for users to cover up, at least a little. 

But the battle over privacy in the online era is not over.  

This Hour, On Point: Facebook, and the new face of privacy.


Dan Fletcher, technology reporter for Time magazine whose cover story is “How Facebook is Redefining Privacy.” His article begins, “Sometime in the next few weeks, Facebook will officially log its 500 millionth active citizen. If the website were granted terra firma, it would be the world’s third largest country by population, two-thirds bigger than the U.S.”

Marc Rotenberg, president and executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center. He spearheaded a consumer groups complaint with the Federal Trade Commission that puts the heat on Facebook to change its privacy controls. He teaches privacy law at Georgetown University Law Center. You can also read his letter about Facebook to Congress.

Daniel Castro, senior analyst and resident Facebook expert for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. His recent position paper is called “Facebook is Not the Enemy.” He’s a computer engineer who has worked as an IT analyst at the Government Accountability Office.


-You can listen to the first hour of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s conference call yesterday with the press:

-WBUR new media watcher Andrew Phelps live-blogged Zuckerberg’s roll-out yesterday.

-Link to Facebook’s user feedback page on privacy.

-Finally, if you haven’t joined us on Facebook already, please know that On Point Radio has an energetic discussion group always chatting away. You’ll get show updates and more. Tom and the staff would love to hear from you.

On Point Radio's Facebook page yesterday, as the FB privacy announcement was being made.

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