Facebook Backlash Keeps Growing
"We don't share specifics around internal meetings, but we had a productive discussion about the latest product announcements and how we can work on providing the best experiences for users and developers," said spokesperson Andrew Noyes.
Presumably some information about the meeting will leak soon. After all, it's not realistic to think that all of Facebook's employees will keep the company's secrets forever.
But the real question isn't when the details of the meeting will emerge, but whether Facebook intends to roll back its new settings. If Facebook wants to keep goodwill with users -- at least those who are even remotely concerned about privacy -- it has no choice but to do so.
If nothing else, surely Facebook must be concerned to see headline after headline criticizing it. Or the growing number of articles about users who are considering exiting.
Just this morning, Boing Boing's Cory Doctorow became the latest prominent figure to announce he was quitting Facebook due to privacy concerns. "Never made use of #Facebook, but #privacy awfulness from #Zuckerberg has prompted me to delete acct," he tweeted.
In short, Facebook first lured people to join the site by offering them the chance to keep in touch with friends, then decided to make users' information visible to the Web at large. Last month, in what may be the most outrageous of Facebook's privacy violations so far, the company launched "instant personalization," which automatically shares users' data with Yelp, Microsoft Docs and Pandora.
Facebook should keep in mind that social networks are only valuable as long as people use them -- and the public is remarkably fickle. While Facebook currently has some 400 million users, the growing backlash is creating an opportunity for a start-up social network to quickly gain traction.
The one bright spot for users is that although Facebook has a history of unleashing programs that go too far -- like Beacon, which told users about their friends' purchases -- the company also has a history of backtracking. Facebook might have no choice but to do so again.