Privacy Still ‘Grey’ to Zuckerberg

The saga of Facebook continues: as goes a major announcement, so goes a renewed privacy debate. This time it was CEO Mark Zuckerberg pushing the issue, calling the company’s privacy policies “grey” and “not completely a black-and-white thing.”

Zuckerberg’s comments came in a surprisingly candid interview at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this week.

When pressed on the privacy issue by moderators John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly, the man who once declared, “privacy is dead,” admitted he doesn’t have all the answers.

“When we think about this, there is information [on Facebook] that is clearly yours and there is information that is somewhere in the middle,” Zuckerberg said, referring to the much-debated issue over who has rights to photographs and “tagging” friends on the site.

“I’m not sure we’re 100 percent right on this,” he added.

Zuckerberg also described the balance the company must try to strike between its goal of being as open as possible and the reality of users not wanting to let go, quite yet.

“The feedback we get on a day-to-day basis is ‘we want control.’ We’re mediating that tension,” he said.

But he also predicted that, in the end and as time goes by, users will loosen up in order to take advantage.

“My guess would be that over the next few years…the data portability and openness side of this, it will become a lot more obvious about why this is valuable and the great things that can be created from this.”

Also of interest to social media users were Zuckerberg’s thoughts on the impact social media will have across all industries over the next five years.

“Humans are hard-wired to be interested in people,” Zuckerberg said. “I think that over the next five years, most industries will get rethought to be designed around social. It’ll be a revolution.”

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