Internet Turns Bullsh*t Detector On Facebook CEO

Yesterday afternoon, while everyone else was cheering about how Facebook’s supercool new privacy settings were going to bring about world peace and end hunger, Marshall Kirkpatrick actually took the time to listen to what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had to say about the changes, and noticed something interesting: Zuckerberg, as Kirkpatrick put it on ReadWriteWeb, “said a number of things that seemed of questionable…truth.”

Today’s changes were good for users concerned about privacy, but Zuckerberg’s tone on the call was odd.

He said a number of things that seemed of questionable…truth. Those were: that settings weren’t changed arbitrarily when all this began in December, that the changes weren’t driven by advertising and business concerns and that Facebook makes its decisions based not on criticism but on metrics or its belief in what the right thing to do is. …

Zuckerberg began the call today with a long and detailed history of the site, its growth and its changing privacy policy over time. When he got to the part of that history concerning the radical change in privacy defaults last December he described it like this: “We asked people to reevaluate their privacy settings, but we didn’t change any settings.”

Perhaps that was a slip of the tongue, a mistaken oversimplification of how Zuckerberg intepreted things. It sure doesn’t seem true, though.

Last December people who had never changed any of their privacy settings had their new defaults set to share far more content publicly, with the world at large. The prompt to re-evaluate was a chance to opt-out of the new changes, but those settings and the defaults were certainly changed.

Kirkpatrick tries to determine why Facebook made its recent privacy changes, and finds that, based on statements by Zuckerberg and others, it’s “unclear what exactly is going on.”

One thing that is clear: “The company’s response to public backlash through greater simplification of settings and language is in many cases obfuscating its largely unchanged agenda (default = public) and is in some cases based on untruths.”

The Half Truths of Mark Zuckerberg [ReadRightWeb]