Facebook has invited members of the House and Senate to attend a special privacy-centric briefing. Based on the ongoing backlash from its user-base and the blogosphere, Facebook will be facing off with perhaps its toughest critics, namely Senators Begich, Bennet, Franken and Schumer.
As this screenshot attests, the event appears to be a rather exclusive affair with only the House and Senate staff allowed - leaving open the big question: If Mark Zuckerberg is so concerned about clearing the air, why did he not request a "public briefing" before TV cameras and his user-base?
The privacy issues grew and festered for other a month before Zuckerberg addressed the issue for the first time in luke-warm apology he penned for the Washington Post on May 23. Those issues which I've outlined in previous posts focus on user's private data becoming public, an opt-out vs opt-in functionality and allowing third parties access to one's data without explicit prior permission.
For Senators to react so quickly, with New York’s Charles Schumer asking for a meeting at Facebook headquarters as early as April 25, it appears that his constituency had strong opposing views to Facebook's bold moves.
According to a Mashable report, apparently Facebook like any other 'big business' has a full cadre of lobbyists and policy wonks in DC. "Like any major corporation that plays footsie with public and private data, large amounts of money, mergers and acquisitions, and other hallmarks of big business, Facebook must stay abreast of policy changes and try to influence legislators in its favor," notes Jolie O'Dell.
The Facebook event page (noted above) says that the company will host a meeting called “Facebook’s New Privacy Controls Hill Briefing,” that is “open to House and Senate staff only” on May 27, at 4:00pm EDT.
This move on Facebook's part an obvious attempt to turn the government around, get the politicians to drink the cool-aid and soften the rhetoric -- before any of us common folk get to hear any of this debate. My question to my readers is: Shouldn't this 'privacy' issue be made public? For a social network that prides itself on 'transparency' and engaging the 'wisdom of crowds' -- once again, similar to the mentality of other 'big business,' they are working the margins to get "buy-in from the few." Please vote in our Shouldn't 'Facebook's Briefing Before Congress be Public? POLL, and let me know your thoughts on this issue.