This is something I've been expecting for a while, but not quite so suddenly and sharply: privacy is becoming enough of an issue that people are questioning its violation as a business model.…
Interesting contrast: FB lost 19% of its value (!!!) after its earnings call, but Google jumped a percent after its call just a few days earlier. I think this means people are recognizing a difference in the two companies' approaches.
While people like to say "oh, they're all big companies, they're all after your data, they're all bad," there are profound differences between the companies' attitudes and business models.
FB, at its root, is about getting maximally personal data about people, and both making it available to others (via API) and using it to market in socially questionable contexts (in a social stream).
G's revenue comes, at root, from advertising on searches and on web sites, which are places where the commercial context is expected — and a lot less private information is ultimately collected.
But perhaps more importantly, Google's attitude towards privacy is (and has always been) extremely serious: the privacy accidents that have happened over the years are viewed as serious industrial accidents, with regret and thorough postmortems to avoid a repetition.
I haven't gotten the sense that Facebook has had that same attitude. Watching Zuckerberg continue to talk about Holocaust denial and Alex Jones and so on in the past few weeks has been a really vivid indicator that they *just don't get it*.
It's not that everyone doesn't. @alexstamos, who recently departed as chief of security, wrote a memo in late March which leaked. Short version of it is, he's exactly the sort of person you want thinking about security and privacy issues.…
Slightly longer version, though, is that this vision clearly didn't have deep enough support across company leadership. Which saddens me, because this is exactly what we need more of.
I'm honestly less interested in what this drop does to Facebook as its broader effect on the business world in general, and what lesson people end up taking from it. I hope it ends up being: Don't try to screw your users just enough that they won't stop you. It's a bad plan.
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