[Air-l] Facebook protests

Michael Zimmer michael.zimmer at nyu.edu
Wed Sep 6 20:05:17 PDT 2006

Many seem to think it is naiive and contradictory for students to  
post personal information online and then complain when a new feature  
is created to make it easier for others to find it.

However, this is less about users not realizing that their personal  
information is public in the first place, and more about how changing  
the norms of flow of that information disrupts the “contextual  
integrity” within the Facebook community.

Yes, they knew that all that information was out there, but the  
existence of that information takes new meaning (and new potency) now  
that the delivery method has been refined in such a way that each and  
every change is automatically highlighted and sent to tens/hundreds/ 
thousands of other users. By adding a news feed for all changes to a  
particular user’s profile, Facebook changed the way personal  
information flows within that context, and that does impact user  

While users can control the privacy settings for their profile,  
Facebook should also (if they haven't already) allow users to control  
what information, if any, will be sent via the feed.

flow-of-personal-information/ ]

Michael T. Zimmer
  Doctoral Candidate, Culture and Communication, New York University
  Student Fellow, Information Law Institute, NYU Law School
e: michael.zimmer at nyu.edu
w: http://michaelzimmer.org

On Sep 6, 2006, at 10:01 PM, Ledbetter, Andrew Michael wrote:

> Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on the recent changes at  
> facebook and subsequent user response:
> http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71739-0.html?tw=rss.technology
> Briefly, facebook recently enabled "news feeds" which allow  
> anyone's friends to immediately see changes to profiles, friendship  
> networks, etc., a feature which cannot be deactivated. In response,  
> many users have formed protest groups, one of which has  
> approximately half a million members (and there are thousands of  
> other protest groups)---the users claim the changes are "stalker- 
> ish". Media is framing as a tension between the transparency of  
> social networking sites and desire for privacy.
> Andrew M. Ledbetter
> Doctoral Candidate
> Department of Communication Studies
> University of Kansas
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