Circos Brand Karma

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Is there a generation gap in views on privacy policy (violations)?

with 2 comments

Last night while at dinner I asked my dinner companions if they used Facebook. 2 of the 3 (females, 30s) had Facebook accounts to stay connected to their friends. They talked about sending each other gifts, and were particularly excited about the “bag” application — you can buy LV and other luxury bags to send to your friends on Facebook, and the pictures depicting the bags are real, not cartoon-like.

Also, they told me that Stanford is the first university to offer a programming class on building a Facebook app. Apparently, the apps are doing pretty well.

Today, I read that is going to take on Facebook’s Beacon ads. For my twentysomething friends, they seem to expect that whatever they put online is somehow going to be shared/used/monetized, whereas the thirtysomethings actively limit what they offer about themselves online. I’d imagine the fortysomethings would probably not even register for a site if they have privacy concerns.

I’ll admit that these observations are based on the people I know, but I do wonder if there is a generation gap in views on privacy policy.In any case, I’m very close to signing up for a Facebook account because so many of my friends are already on Facebook it seems futile to resist. Maybe a friend will send me a designer man-purse (a murse, for those of you who are fashion forward) that Beacon can then use to target an ad to me. That’d be quite all right with me as I’ve heard a lot about murses but Google has yet to make it easy for me to find one for purchase online.


Written by Morris

November 22, 2007 at 6:31 am

Posted in privacy, social apps

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2 Responses

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  1. Hi – this is Adam with MoveOn. Interesting topic to ponder. I think what changes this from a gray area to a black and white issue is your phrase “whatever they put online.” Obviously, if someone posts a picture or other stuff on their Facebook page (opting in, making the choice to do that) there is a high chance it’ll be out there publicly on the Internet for a long time. But if I buy a train ticket online, or if I make a political contribution online, or if I buy a political book from Amazon, is that really “putting something online” in a way that one would expect their friends or employer to be able to see it? I don’t think any reasonable person of any age would say yes. Those are private transactions. And that is what is at issue here. Facebook is putting private transactions that take place on other sites into Facebook user’s news feeds that are seen by everyone they know — and potentially thousands of people in their network (300,000 in my DC network). Make sense?

    Adam Green

    November 22, 2007 at 6:50 am

  2. Yes. I agree that there is a definite difference between information that is private to me, private to my network, and public for all to see. It would appear that Facebook has made it so that users have to opt-out in order to have ecommerce transactions be “private to me.” For me personally, ad targeting as I described in my post is OK, but ecommerce transaction details is not OK. But then again, I am in my 30s.

    The point of my post wasn’t about the policy per se, it was about how generation gaps may expose different intensity in people’s feelings about privacy. Mark Zuckerberg is in his 20s, as I’d guess quite a few people over at Facebook. From their perspective, what Beacon does was OK and still is. Nonetheless, I’d love to be a fly on the wall to hear the discussions going on over there on this topic.

    In any case, I hope your petition will inspire more thoughtfulness for users not just on their part, but everyone who’s working in this space.


    November 22, 2007 at 5:33 pm

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