One of the comments from Justin Smith’s recent Inside Facebook transcript of the platform people talking at Graphing Social Patterns East is illuminating.
Dave Morin’s statement “We want the same kind of privacy settings that exist within Facebook to propagate throughout the web” is crucially important for anyone wanting to know where the web will be in 12 months time.
Facebook, as I’ve said before, is the leader in a fundamentally different kind of web – one where you are identified as your true self, authenticated by your real friends linking to you.
This brings benefits – suddenly I now have more friends online on community applications. That means it’s easier to organise parties and to share photos. It does bring the mixed blessing of more personal accountability – now the only sure way to stop your parents seeing you drunk in photographs is to not get drunk in the first place!
This is made possible because people trust Facebook to keep information about them private. Facebook provides more granular privacy control – for instance, only mates can see photos of me at weddings while business colleagues miss out – it means I can at least be a bit more relaxed about what photos go up on my profile.
What Facebook are calling for is good for the web – better privacy actually leads to more sharing as more people are confident that the platform can protect them.
So if you’re wondering why people don’t share on your web application take a look at what privacy controls you give users – maybe this is the overlooked magic that Facebook have found.