This question was posed in the title of a recent article by Shashi Bellamkonda of the San Francisco Examiner‘s Examiner.com. As the article points out, Facebook now has 350 million members, more members than there are people in the U.S. If it were a country, it would be 3rd largest in the world.
Although most of the members (about 70% are from outside the U.S.), a healthy remainder are within the U.S. Because a large number of its members sign in every day, Facebook boasts some 55 million status updates each day. The article opines that, if you or your business are not on Facebook, you should be because that is where the customers are.
The title question is, of course, posed tongue-in-cheek because Facebook is not a country. If Facebook were a country, however, it would have some unsettled views on the right to privacy, apparently. Recently, Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerman, made a series of statements during the Crunchies awards, which has met with mixed reactions from tech writers.
You can link to the full text of Zuckerman’s comments here, reprinted at Mashable.com. The gist of Zuckerman’s comments is that privacy is a dead letter; public, sharing is the norm. About Facebook’s role in this supposed new “norm,” Zuckerman stated
“We view it as our role in the system to constantly be innovating and be updating what our system is to reflect what the current social norms are.”
Of course, the obvious dilemma with Zuckerman’s statement is that Facebook is no longer in a responsive role when it comes to social norms. Facebook is a major player in shaping social norms. So, the inescapable question arises: Is Zuckerman making such a statement because it is true, or because such a statement serves Facebook’s interests?
You be the judge. For now, it seems that the tension between social sharing on Facebook and privacy interests remains. What do you think about this issue? Are the interests of privacy and social media platforms like Facebook simply irreconcilable?