There are many arguments to be made on the function of privacy control in our online activities.
Mark Zuckerberg’s stance on privacy is pretty transparent (pun intended!), being that users should have one online identity which connects to all of their online activities. The reasoning is not because it makes our personal information more relevant and valuable to marketing companies. No, Zuckerberg just hates liars. He claims that having this singular identity promotes authenticity in our online behavior. Christopher Poole, 4chan founder, couldn’t disagree more. Poole believes that people are more inclined to be honest when hidden behind the cloak of anonymity. Hence, 4chan.
I think there’s fault in both theories. I mean, there’s just too much variation to contend with. We’re all unique individuals, and making claims that people are more honest one way than another is oversimplifying the way our brains work.
I will say this. Zuckerberg is way more delusional in his claims.
In the past year the following people have added me as friends on Facebook: my aunt, my high school musical teacher, my ex’s younger brother and sister, my ex’s mom, my mom, my mom’s best friend, my mom’s boyfriend and MY GRANDMOTHER. These people have DEFINITELY affected my activity, and especially my tone, on Facebook. I mean, I started off thinking it would be no problem- that I could just block them from my wall. They’d see my pictures and send me messages, no problem. Nope! See, last Christmas my Aunt Roxanne wanted to post something to my wall (in the way of, “Merry Christmas!”), and when she was denied access, well… it set off a tidal wave of crazy and really uncomfortable conversations. Conversations I never would have had, had I not blocked her from my stupid wall.
Beyond that, people frequently befriend their coworkers, employers, etc. on Facebook. That just prohibits people from feeling free at all on their wall. In conclusion, Mark Zuckerberg is an idiot if he thinks I’m going to post about my mean hangover on Facebook for all of my family and family friends to see. And that’s not authentic at all. Not when I have a hangover.
Poole’s working on a new site, Canv.as, which uses Facebook Connect as a way to authenticate an account, but also allows users the option to post anonymously. Using Facebook Connect allows for site moderation, giving administrators and moderators the ability to hold any malicious users responsible for their actions, without limiting the voices of other users. Way to get along, guys! I think it’s the best marriage for now, until something better than Facebook comes along. And that would require 600M to snap out of it. It’s like Mark Zuckerberg is like an evil internet siren, and Facebook is run by evil succubi. Where’s Ulysses when you need him?