It’s not that I’m unsympathetic to complaints about Facebook privacy, or, actually, lack of privacy. I get it. Facebook felt like a private medium in the beginning, especially to the college students who gave it its sizzle. I don’t like Mark Zuckerberg as Big Brother any more than I liked Richard Nixon or Dick Cheney as big brother. But there’s an important difference: those big government bad guys were spying on unsuspecting citizens; in Facebook, you’re publishing. If you reveal what you don’t want to, you’re the one who revealed it. Not just them.
The Internet is just not inherently private. You can make it private, I suppose, if you try, with enough encryption and technology and strain. But what you’re typing on the keyboard into your computer is inherently data that’s going to be transmitted through and to a lot of other computers.
My friend John Jantsch, the marketing guru and author of Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine, sums it up very well in a recent post called Unchecked Privacy on the Web, writing about the recent Facebook privacy controversy: