Facebook exec makes security promises, drowns in irony

Mission to reassure EU on privacy rerouted through Chinanet

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Facebook wants its customers to know it respects their privacy, is doing everything it can to protect that privacy, will do even more to protect their privacy and doesn't want to be the target of "shoot the messenger" reactions when that privacy is violated.

"There is an increasing trend that where people are uncomfortable about content," according to Richard Allan, the company's European Union director of policy said in a seminar at the Westminster Media Forum Tuesday. "They're not necessarily going to the source of that content, but they're going to those places where the content is shared or indexed and asking them to resolve the problem."

(Allan gets around, especially on this topic. Here he is speaking on U.N. panel March 4 called "Internet Freedom: Promoting Human Rights in the Digital Age.")

As far as I can tell about Allan's don't-shoot-the-messenger comment is that Facebook isn't the source of privacy violations, it's only the conduit.

People who feel their privacy is violated aren't mad at the people who post private information about themselves on the internet (usually themselves). They're mad at the places where that information is shared.

That would mean Facebook, where people post potentially embarrassing information that is then taken out of context and out of their control when Friends, or Friends of Friends, or people who are Friends of people Tagged in embarrassing photos are able to take information posted for a small group of friends and broadcast it to the world at large?

Is that what you meant, Richard? That it's not appropriate for people to get mad at the site that gives them too few controls over their own content and too little chance to delete it when it becomes embarrassing?

Actually, forget it.

That sounds like a very interesting conversation about privacy, copyright, the right of a service provider to use other people's valuable data for its own purposes and lots of other things.

But I can't have that discussion today.

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