27 May 2010 1 Comment

Are we too hard on Facebook?

The recent uproar over Facebook’s privacy policy has led to the social network reverting to a more simplified privacy system. Facebook has faced the stern criticism for implementing a more complicated privacy policy in order to expand it’s business model. I believe much of this is unfair and undeserved.

Firstly, Facebook must innovate to stay alive. Currently they are the number 2 website in the world behind Google. However, the past evidence shows that if a social network remains static they will see a dramatic fall off in users. Just look at the once popular Bebo. If you look at the various innovations Facebook has introduced it’s obvious that their privacy policy would have to change accordingly.

No business get’s it right all the time. Facebook introduced a new privacy policy, listened to user feedback then made the appropriate changes. Start-ups can learn a lot from this approach. Of course there will be people who shout and yell. Of course there will be critics. These are the same people who would criticize Facebook for not making any changes and not introducing any new features. The key point start-up entrepreneurs need to take on board is that they put it out there and listened then did something about it.

When you work with techies they tend to over complicate things and make stuff seem much more difficult than it is. I believe that this is one of the core reasons why people did not warm to Facebook’s new privacy policy. Also, Facebook is a social network. The name is a big hint. Social implies, sharing so by joining Facebook people are doing it to share stuff. What sort of privacy policy would you implement if you were in Zuckerberg’s position?

Ultimately this controversy can be boiled down to snobby “right first timers” versus the more realistic and chilled out “incremental improvement” gang. See it’s all about making mistakes and learning from them.

Please comment especially if you have a different view.

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