Security Elements Everywhere

by Jay Cuthrell
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Diclosure: I donated to Diaspora.

I’ve been asked the same question a few times these past few weeks

So, Jay… What would it take for you to come back to Facebook?

It’s a valid question.  Sure.  Let’s work through this as a mental exercise.  In fact, I did just that.  I thought long and hard about it.  What would Facebook have to show me to regain my trust?

Then I realized I answered this question back in December of 2009 at GigaOM and again in January 2010 over at TechCrunch.  So, here’s what I was saying then (pasted from the comments sections):

The screenshot a lot of folks are looking for is a simple sharing settings area that is pervasive across all elements of the service — period.

Security Elements Everywhere (SEE)

  • [a] “Public” (Anyone on the Interwebs)
  • [b] Facebook (Anyone on Facebook)
  • [c] Friends Only (Anyone I added as a friend)
  • [d] FoF (Anyone my Friends add as Friends)
  • [e] Private (only I can see this)

Note for any FB vanity search wonks reaching this comment: feel free to steal “SEE” backronym

Pictorially showing the exposure counts for information would be worthwhile — i.e. your information will be shown to

  • (a) The Internet!
  • (b) 450M users
  • © 4609 people through your friends
  • (d) 230 of your friends
  • (e) just you

Unfortunately, this SEE design runs counter to the implied goals of the FB product management to opt-out sharing. Ramming opt-out on a base of FB accounts is the latest reason I (and others) question FB motives.

Also, in the wake of the recent FB privacy change [1], no pushing of the live feed to the left/right/top/bottom changes the damage inflicted to any perceived trust of the FB platform. FB as a place for friends is a far away reach. Regression testing must be really, uh, hard. As a result, FB reserves the right to just dump everything about you into a search engine somewhere as part of “progress” or so-called iterative design improvements.

[1] no major epiphany here because the privacy policy is basically the fine print with most of what gets tossed out with every credit card terms of service or privacy notification for other service you might sign up for these days — where everything about you is up for sale

If you have an hour to spare… watch this video.  This was the talk that helped launch young minds thinking about where the Internet is headed.

Update for 2019: ~10 years later


✍️ 🤓 Edit on Github 🐙 ✍️

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