If Facebook started today, they would take where the web is today into account. The default would be public rather than private. And this is why they changed defaults from private to public since they want service to remain relevant. Mark added that it was not an easy move – from a technical or a user perspective – to change a service with 300 million users on such a core dimension.
Interesting take (above quote and linked post) on Facebook’s shift to making public the default setting for Facebook users: that if it were setting up today then public by default would be how it did things.
On one level – of technical and service innovation and staying on the cutting edge – this view is absolutely correct. However, Facebook is not a new entrant to the social networking market, it comes with 300 million or more users to whom it has a duty of care to.
Whilst its most Twitter-literate, Foursquare-using, smartphone-toting users require public-first, or at least are used to open as their default setting on their web lives, the majority of its users are still uneasy or easily confused about privacy issues – from the practicalities of settings on the service, to the implications of their personal content and data being available on the open web.
The better, more responsible move for Facebook would be to be private as the default setting, easier settings for users and more effort put into educating users about the options available to them.