Today I, along with a ton of other journalists, met with Facebook and listened to their presentation on the new privacy settings. Afterward I met one-on-one with Mark Zuckerberg and I told him that Facebook still has a trust problem (you can watch that entire video interview here). I like Mark, some people say I’m a shill for Facebook, and that’s OK. I think Facebook is THE most important Silicon Valley company right now and still is. Anyone who disputes that is just not facing reality. Yes, I know Apple just passed Microsoft in market cap, but Facebook is the one that is shaking up my world view more than any other company (and, I’m hearing that inside Apple they are working on a range of things that will use Facebook, so even Apple is thinking hard about what Facebook means to its future customers).
Yes, Facebook largely solved its privacy problems by giving us simpler choices and giving us more control over our info and what we want shared with whom and I think Zuckerberg won over enough of the critics to — at minimum — allow us to move the discourse around Facebook to other issues than just privacy.
But I’m still don’t trust Facebook enough to move my business into it. Will I ever? Yes, probably. But it will take time for me, and you, to trust this company beyond just playing games or poking our friends.
What is holding back my trust:
1. This is a very ambitious company that changes its approach to the world every year or two and doesn’t have a good roadmap of what’s ahead. Even Zuckerberg, in the interview I did with him, admitted he doesn’t know where Facebook is going tomorrow. Some of that is excusable, we are radically changing our entire culture due to a range of new web services, but some just needs a more steady and predictable approach that will come as Facebook grows into a more mature company rather than a rough-and-tumble-run-by-20-year-olds startup.
2. They need a more mature approach toward customer service. People and content are still getting deleted by spam filters which no one understands or can explain to me and there isn’t good place to go to appeal content deletions. This the problem with not having a federated system that runs on our own servers. Facebook has too much control over our digital lives and that power to delete content really freaks me out.
So much has been said about Facebook today that I’ll just shut up now, and let the changes soak in and see where things go from here.
What do you think after watching this interview and the other press reports that came out today?
Oh, and here’s a video of Zuckerberg introducing the new privacy settings this morning to the press (this was 10 minutes of a much longer press conference):