With Facebook’s desire to outGoogle Google, its recent privacy issue infractions, phishing scams, exodus rumors, senatorial probes and the controversy surrounding instant personalization and advertising as its ulterior motive, the network appears to be on a downhill spiral. Today, however the last log might have been thrown on that fire!
User confidence is eroding where there is a growing number of grassroots revolt groups mobilizing and a "We're Quitting Facebook Day" scheduled for May 31. While only 229 sign-ups at the time of this posting, the amount of organization that went into creating this movement underscores the growing resentment of followers.
Hard to believe with all this push-back, that Zuckerberg et al did not have a crisis-management plan in place to kick into action when and if their Open Graph manifesto was not received well. Was that naivete or arrogance - or combination of both?
However, that seems to go to the core of the problem. Zuckerberg's posture on 'privacy' did not evolve just this past year - in fact, if the incoming reports are correct, his cavalier attitude toward the privacy of others has a foundation that can be documented all the way back to age 19 when he was a freshman at Harvard. While many know about the origins of Facebook incubating in his dorm room and th scandals that have been subsequently exposed in a book and soon-to-be released movie, the breaking news that surfaced on May 13 is more telling and damning then anything that has gone before (as hard as that is to believe).
According to SAI sources, the following instant messenger exchange is between a 19-year old Mark Young ZuckerbergZuckerberg and a friend shortly after he launched Facebook in his dorm room.
Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard
Zuck: Just ask.
Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS
[Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?
Zuck: People just submitted it.
Zuck: I don't know why.
Zuck: They "trust me"
Zuck: Dumb fucks.
Facebook has since released the following statement in an attempt to diminish the effects of this damning news.
"The privacy and security of our users’ information is of paramount importance to us. We’re not going to debate claims from anonymous sources or dated allegations that attempt to characterize Mark's and Facebook's views towards privacy. So the question remains with all this evidence stacked against Zuckerberg will he reverse his OPEN GRAPH and 'privacy' posture to move back into the graces of the 400 million who have put their trust into his network? Or will May 31 mark the beginning of the end for the visionary CEO?
Everyone within the company understands our success is inextricably linked with people's trust in the company and the service we provide. We are grateful people continue to place their trust in us. We strive to earn that trust by trying to be open and direct about the evolution of the service and sharing information on how the 400 million people on the service can use the available settings to control where their information appears."
UPDATE - May 15 - Within less than 24 hours, the "We're Quitting Facebook" sign-ups had increased three-fold.
For more on this topic, see my recent post, "Atlas Shrugged, Will Facebook Buckle?" And let us know how you feel about this recent news in the comment section below.