Facebook's privacy bait and switch

When it first arrived on the scene, Facebook's main appeal was how well it protected your personal information. Those days are long gone.

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The firestorm over Facebook’s rapidly shrinking privacy protections shows no sign of abating, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to Facebook. According to them, the vast majority of users are totally sanguine with the social network’s increasingly generous data sharing policies – it’s just us cranks in the press who are bitching and moaning.

Ethan Beard, director of Facebook’s developer network, had this to say in an interview with Computerworld’s Sharon Gaudin:

"I think the response from users that we've seen from the products we launched at [Facebook's F8 developer conference late last month] has been quite positive. People are actively opting-in to engage with the social Web. The response from users speaks very, very loudly that they love what we're doing. I think there's a lot of other talk that's not coming from users necessarily. There's been a lot of interest from the media, from organizations and officials. But to be honest, the user response has been overwhelmingly positive."

Beard stopped short of accusing the media of inventing this controversy, but you know it’s what he was implying.

Meanwhile, the ever bubbly Robert Scoble thinks the privacy controversy is much ado about nothing.

"I have always set my Facebook to the most public setting possible. Whoa?!? Here’s the deal: I wish Facebook had NO PRIVACY AT ALL! That’s called the open web. I wish Google could index every word I write on Facebook. Hint, it can’t. The thing I hate about Facebook is that people who want to see my profile can’t. Even now only 5,000 of you can look at my Facebook profile. That’s lame. I want to live my life in public. Why? Because that way none of you can exploit me more than any other."

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