Yesterday news broke that Randi Zuckerberg, former Marketing Director at Facebook mistakenly posted a family photo (reacting to the new “Poke” app on Facebook) to her subscriber feed. She thought the photo was only for the eyes of her close friends and family groups in her Facebook feed, but with the confusing privacy settings it leaked onto her public profile. When a Randi Zuckerberg subscriber, Callie Schweitzer posted the photo on Twitter, Zuckerberg tweeted:
Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend's photo publicly. It's not about privacy settings, it's about human decency
— Randi Zuckerberg (@randizuckerberg) December 26, 2012
When the subject of online privacy in social media comes up, the offenders and the pedantic cry out, “You should have read the Terms of Service!” or “You should have stayed informed about the most recent the privacy settings!” But when even the closest to the top can't even keep things straight, what's that say about the rest of us who have better things to do all day than brush up on Legalese? Or incessantly check up on what's changed in our privacy settings?
It's a Brave Old World
The truth is, “privacy” has never changed, even in the digital world. Perhaps we've become too loose with what defines a “friend” now that it's possible to “Friend” someone with the click of a button. When it comes to private information, how close does one have to be to share an ATM pin code, or private moments with loved ones? Or what I really think about my mother in law? Perhaps now, more than ever, privacy should be handled, privately. Shared behind closed doors and quiet voices, with people who truly have earned real trust.
Can Public People Have Private Lives Online?
Social Networks are wonderfully fun tools that have helped a lot of people make careers and build audiences. But make no mistake, there is no such thing as privacy for anyone in this space.