Facebook founder: our privacy is evolving with ‘social norm’

11 Jan 2010

With more than 350 million users worldwide and a change in recent privacy settings that worried some users and online privacy advocates about the amount of private data people were perhaps unwittingly sharing online, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg says the company is simply adapting to the online social norm.

Speaking at TechCrunch’s annual Crunchies Awards, Zuckerberg reflected on how much online privacy has changed since the growth of blogging and the advent of various online social applications.

“People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people and that social norm is just something that has evolved over time,” he said.

“When we got started in my dorm room in Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was ‘why would I want to put any information out there?’, ‘why would I want to have a website?’”

Innovation always

Zuckerberg said Facebook views it as its role in the system to constantly be innovating and keep up with the social norms, adding that in his opinion a lot of companies that don’t open up the privacy model do so because they are “trapped by conventions” and a legacy system.

As for 2010 plans for Facebook, he said the social-networking site would be focusing on Facebook Connect, an embeddable form of the Facebook platform that can connects members on third-party sites.

“The future of the (Facebook) platform is not just people building apps inside Facebook – that’s a good way to start.

The future will be facebook Connect because obviously a lot more is going to be developed outside Facebook than inside.”

Launched in 2009, Zuckerberg said that already tens of thousands of sites are using Facebook Connect.

“We still have a lot more to do; making it easier for users and developers, deep integrations, all the way down to making it easier for people who want to drop stuff into their site.”

By Marie Boran

Photo: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg