Monday, December 5, 2011

Mark Zuckerberg, I’ve Read Terry Pratchett and You are no Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is one of the greatest satirical fiction writers to ever have lived. Mark Zuckerberg is really good at building a business, but his recent attempt at satirical fiction would be laudable were it not missing humor.

Facebook has entered into a settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission over allegations of privacy violations. The allegations were severe enough that facing a losing battle Facebook agreed to be audited every two years for the next 20 years. That’s a long time to submit to auditing. Zuckerberg went on to write a highly satirical blog that is so subtle some may think his marketing department got a hold of some LSD and wrote a press release.

Zuck says “I founded Facebook on the idea that people want to share and connect with people in their lives, but to do this everyone needs complete control over who they share with at all times. This idea has been the core of Facebook since day one.”

In case Sheldon (Big Bang theory) is reading this, yeah, that’s sarcasm. Here’s the story of the early days.

Zuckerberg offers to give someone private email, pictures, and other confidential information that belong to Facebook users and explains that the people who entrusted him with that information were “dumb fucks”. See the sarcasm where Zuck explains the idea upon which Facebook was founded? Rewriting history or an attempt at satire?

Zuck goes on to say “Overall, I think we have a good history of providing transparency and control over who can see your information.”

You might think that by transparency Zuck means you can see what Facebook is doing, but in fact, and this is probably what he considers comic genius, he means that everybody can see everything regardless of what you want. You see, Zuck doesn’t actually specify WHO has control of who can see your information.

As the “blog” progresses, Zuck tries the use of Orwellian double speak. Referring to settlements with Twitter and Google for alleged wrongdoings as “establishing agreements” Zuck merrily claims that Facebook has entered into such an agreement. Dude, you agreed to be audited for lousy privacy practices! (Yes, Sheldon, he was being sarcastic again).

Mastery of the old knife in the back gag is demonstrated in the first sentence of the closing paragraph…

“Finally, I also want to reaffirm the commitment I made when I first launched Facebook.”

What commitment was that, Mark? Giving out private information and calling us dumb fucks?

One of the steps Mark claims that Facebook has taken to improve privacy is improved mobile privacy controls. Well, why is it that I can’t uninstall Facebook for HTC Sense from my Android phone? Would it have anything to do with a marketing agreement where Facebook gives Money to T-Mobile in exchange for making sure that their customers can’t remove Facebook from their phones?

I believe Mark and I am certain that Facebook will tell T-Mobile (and other carriers) to make tools available that will completely remove Facebook from Android devices if the software is unwanted.

Yes Sheldon, that was sarcasm too.

Randy Abrams
Independent Security Analyst

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