It’s likely you have been following the pressure Facebook has been getting concerning its privacy policies. The pressure seems to be working, as Facebook recently announced it will change its approach to privacy and make it easier for users to protect their personal data. This has been an on going battle. I first commented on the need for better controls in Facebook 3 years ago, prompted by the then reaction of Facebook to privacy violations related to its Beacon advirtisements. At that time I commented that “mature” uses of 2.0 (especially those that take the form of Enterprise 2.0) have to address the issue of privacy and learn from established corporate practices concerning responsible content management.
Here it is three years later and Facebook is in a similar situation, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is still resisting the demand to do the “right thing.” While the ability to set privacy controls within Facebook has “been made simpler,” defaults are still set to “open.” The ability to disable the mining/access of personal profiling by marketers is still “not that simple.” Sure, Zuckerman is moving in the right direction, but he is going kicking and screaming, one small step at a time.
But enough critisism on that issue. You can read the many articles and commentary out there, and determine for yourself if Zuckerman and Facebook are doing enough. In this post, I want to focus on one of Zuckerman’s recent quotes in particular. In commenting on the struggle between social computing and privacy, Zuckerman stated, “The company [Facebook] treads a delicate balance between protecting privacy rights and promoting social networking.” When I read this quote – I could not help but think of Seth Meyer and Amy Pohler on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update: “Oh Really.”
I have stated for years that as the adolescent we know as “2.0″ matures, it will become a bit more cognizant of the realities of the real world – for many reason. The issue of balancing access and security is not new, nor unique to 2.0. I have been describing ECM as such a balancing act for over a decade. I first developed the graphic above over 10 years, as a way to explain how to approach an ECM strategy. At the top a grayscale bar represents a continuum between control/secure and collaborate/innovate. This is framed under the competing business practices of risk management and knowledge management. This is the highest level design decision you must grapple with when controlling any and all forms of content – social content included. Depending on the context and the point in the content’s lifecycle, the balance between security/privacy and access/collaboration need to be treated perhaps differently, but always proactively.
So, come 2.0 GROW UP. Social computing – open, transparent emergent platforms – sure they are powerful and should be exploited, but you cannot throw caution to the wind. It’s time for social platforms to take responsibility for what they create – whether inside or outside the firewall. Inside the firewall, there really is no excuse, not to address this issue head on.
The concept of balancing access to content against security is the focus of the IAI Primer: “Enabling Collaboration While Managing Risk.” (Free download) The issue is also addressed from many angles in a series of IAI Primers on Enterprise 2.0. (Free download)
I also recently authored a study on behalf of The 2.0 Adoption Council, sponsored by NewsGator, entitled, “Implementing Enterprise 2.0 Within the European Union: Transparency and Emergence vs. Privacy and Compliance.”
I will also be addressing this very issue head on at the upcoming Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, on June 17, in a presentation entitled Implementing Enterprise 2.0 in a Controlled Environment: Lessons Learned.
Want to hear more, and/or debate this point with me? I hope you can attend the talk, (Thursday at 9:30 AM). If you cannot make it, stay tuned, I will be posting my slides and the reaction I get from the audience in an upcoming post – promise.