A BBC interview from 2009 shows Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stating that the company would never sell or share user data, less than a year later Zuckerberg declared that the “age of privacy is over.”
In a 2009 interview with UK broadcaster BBC News, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that Facebook would never sell user data. The interviewer says to Zuckerberg: “You say there’s a contradiction between people wanting to share information online and wanting to control it, why?” Zuckerberg replies “I think everyone wants to be able to see all the information that’s out there, and at the same time everyone wants to make sure that they’re only sharing their information with the people that want to see it. So it’s important that we design a system where people can do both.”
“So just to be clear,” says the reporter “you’re not going to sell or share any of the information on Facebook?” Zuckerberg replied, “what the terms say is that we’re not going to share people’s information except for with the people that they asked for it to be shared. Everyone gets privacy settings which has always been one of the big differentiators for Facebook and makes it a very different service for people is you can say, ‘I want this photo album to go to these people,’or ‘I want this note to go to these people’ and the privacy control on Facebook are really unparalleled by anyone else.”
The exchange can be seen at approximately 1:14 below:
However, only a few months later Zuckerberg said in an interview with TechCrunch that had he been creating Facebook then, he would automatically make all users information public. In the interview Zuckerberg stated:
A lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they’ve built, doing a privacy change – doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do. But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner’s mind and what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.
Now, the company faces intense scrutiny over their privacy practices. Zuckerberg has been called to testify before a second panel of U.S. lawmakers in Congress recently in relation to the social media giant’s latest user data scandal. The Senate Judiciary Committee urged Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who chairs the committee, to call on Zuckerberg to testify about the recent alleged misuse of Facebook users’ data. Grassley confirmed that he asked the Facebook CEO to testify at an upcoming hearing relating to data privacy that would examine “the protection and monitoring of consumer data.” Facebook is also under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission over the scandal related to data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica. The FTC has now stated that they are investigating the social media company’s internal user privacy practices.