Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday that the media and the public have unrealistic, schizophrenic expectations of the social network because they praise it for enabling social revolutions at the same time as they bash it for invading their privacy.
Both things are different sides of the same coin, he said.
He made the comment at the e-G8 Forum in Paris in a Q&A session with Maurice Levy, chairman and CEO of the Publicis Groupe.
“We see this kind of dual coverage in the media and in the public debate, where on the one hand, people are like, ‘You enabled this big change, that was sweet,’ but on the other hand, ‘You’re enabling all this sharing, and that might be kind of scary — and we’re not sure we like that,’” he said.
“I think it’s really hard to have one without the other, and that’s why those underlying aspects of how the internet develops are just really important to understand before trying to figure out what kind of rules should govern that,” he added.
He again downplayed people’s expectations of privacy, noting that the various uproars over the changes Facebook made to its service over the years have been followed by acceptance.
For example, users were unhappy first about Facebook’s newsfeed feature, as well as its introduction of third-party apps because they were worried about the developers getting access to their personal data as well as their friends’ data.
“I think the reality there is that a lot of valuable services are being built, and a lot of steps are being taken to make sure that everything is under good control, and there isn’t a lot of abuse,” he said. “But almost every single thing that we do, there is some tension around that.”
The e-G8 Forum is the digital portion of the G8 summit, hosted by French President Nicholas Sarkozy. He convened the digital portion of the event to talk about internet governance.
At the summit, Zuckerberg also downplayed down the role of his social network in enabling the revolution in the Middle East.
Protestors would have used some other tool if Facebook hadn’t been around, he said.