Facebook Eats Humble Pie

After weeks of backlash from media, security experts and privacy conscious users, Facebook, has thrown in the towel and bowed down in humility. Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, has tried to salvage his company from this media uproar by acquiescing to the demands of the public; Facebook now promises simpler privacy controls to its users.

According to an article published in Washington Post by Zuckerberg, the company listens to the public.

“The biggest message we have heard recently is that people want easier control over their information. Simply put, many of you thought our controls were too complex. Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls; but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark”

Zuckerberg also tried to allay fears that information submitted by Facebook users is sold to interested third party. Facebook will now also offer more versatile controls to let users easily manage third party services.
“We have heard the feedback. There needs to be a simpler way to control your information. In the coming weeks, we will add privacy controls that are much simpler to use. We will also give you an easy way to turn off all third-party services.”

For the past few weeks, Facebook created a huge debacle when it announced the launch of Open Graph during its F8 conference in the last week of April. Open Graph API integrates Facebook with other websites. This protocol gives a website all of Facebook features. This means that users can use their like button to mark a website. Great right? Not so, say a lot of privacy gurus. When you hit the like button, all your other Internet trails can be shared, too.

Facebook aims to make its site the central hub of a user’s interests and preferences. But this also puts the user’s privacy in peril. Although some users might like the social implication of this, others might have to share more than they would like to.

Early this year, Zuckerberg was quoted to have said that the “age of privacy is over.” This made critics fume over Zuckerberg’s total confidence on his dominion over Facebook’s 400 million users. Facebook has configured its settings as public by default. A few months after, he was quoted again, when he called those who trusted him as dumb in an exchange of IMs with a former college buddy.

Zuckerberg, now only 25, made it to Forbes top billionaire in 2008. He is also to be estimated to have a net worth of $700 dollars. He is dubbed by BBC Web list as the youngest billionaire and is 9th in its list.

Until Zuckerberg and Facebook apologized for its overconfidence in its new policies, predictions of its inevitable downfall were circling the web. Facebook’s privacy fiasco was being compared to MySpace’s inability to adapt to the call of the times, which eventually led to the demise of MySpace’s popularity.

With Twitter and other social networking platforms working overtime to take advantage of the Facebook controversy, Zuckerberg has had to swallow his pride and make efforts to save whatever is left of his empire. Already predicted as the new Google, Facebook’s apparent haste in taking the social networking platform to an entirely different level has fallen flat, on its face. Although still young, Zuckerberg does not lack experience in recovering from controversy. Even at the infancy of Facebook, Zuckerberg has faced reprimands and lawsuits. Six years later he is a rich survivor.

Zuckerberg has to carefully tread through this current controversy and has to learn to edit his words before he gets quoted again by the media. For years Zuckerberg has been the media’s baby, right up to the time when he appeared too full of his success, that is. Admittedly he still quite young and might forget that he now represents a company. He should remember he is no longer a college dude enjoying a weekend in his dorm room.

The promised changes to Facebook’s privacy controls are yet to be implemented. Until then, Facebook still has a lot of proving to do before it officially survives the storm that it brought upon itself.

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