May 27, 2010

maybe privacy isn't so hard

I said in a previous post that I thought privacy was hard and that getting it right for an organization like Facebook was a big challenge.

I've changed my mind some after thinking more on the other bits I included in that post.

So, if I was sitting down with the top brass at Facebook, what would I say? I think I'd ask them, "Do you think the default [Facebook privacy] settings are ideal for your children and/or your parents?"
If you polled a representative sample of Facebook users and asked them to describe what of their Facebook experience was available to their friends, networks, all Facebook users, or the whole internet, how close to the truth would they get?

Maybe it's not so hard after all. Maybe it's just a matter of asking the right questions about privacy and making sure the answers are implemented in the product.

If that's the case, then almost all of Facebook's privacy problems could be solved by ensuring that the answer to the first question is "yes", which would no doubt mean significant changes to the current defaults, and that the answer to the second question is "pretty darned close", which would require changes to the privacy controls interface.

So, how about it, Facebook executives?

Posted by asa at 1:48 PM