Zuckerberg’s Law on Data Sharing, Not Puffery

As I noted in a blog post late last year, Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, has predicted that “next year, people will share twice as much information as they share this year, and that next year, they will be sharing twice as much as they did the year before.”  He explained that “people are ever more willing to tell others what they are doing, who their friends are and even what they look like as they crawl home from a college party.  Recent statistics support his optimism (and then some).  Yesterday, Zuckerberg announced that his social networking site now has 250 million active users, up from 200 million users just three months ago and 150 million in January.

This development has much significance.  It tells us that social networking is no passing fad — it is deeply embedded in our daily lives and will likely remain so despite many parents’ dismay.  It suggests that we are more connected personally (and perhaps more distracted professionally).  And it 120px-facebook_svgmeans that we entrust Facebook with an exponentially increasing amount of data.  Facebook’s information security practices and privacy policies are thus worth watching carefully.  No doubt, this development will have other far-reaching impacts so your comments are most welcome.

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1 Response

  1. Facebook’s growth is due in part to the hidden and complex privacy controls that lead to Michael Zimmer’s First Law of Social Networking: “social networking sites are incentivized to promote the open and unfettered flow of mountains of personal information.” (http://michaelzimmer.org/2009/06/13/the-laws-of-social-networking/) Michael Risch (PrawfsBlog) has written more on economics of social networking privacy, as has Joseph Bonneau (lightbluetouchpaper.org), Bruce Schneier (schneier.com), and Marshall Kirkpatrick (in a recent NYT post).