When online privacy baffles even Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's sister, there should be a collective "aha moment" on the Web.
Earlier this week, Randi Zuckerberg posted a family picture to her own Facebook page that she thought would remain private. It did not. Someone tweeted a copy of that photo to the world, to which Randi replied that it was "way uncool." The Zuck's sister, who was once the company's marketing director, sent another tweet saying that this was not a matter of privacy settings, but of "human decency."
Perhaps, instead, it is about a massive lack of understanding in the world today about what online privacy is and how to protect it. Even if you post a picture to Facebook for friends only, someone can right-click-save-as and post that image on any website or social media platform they so choose. You would think that everyone in the Zuckerberg clan would be aware of that.
A recent article on ReadWrite highlighted a few fun facts about the social networking giant created by Randi's brother. The piece describes Facebook as "a company whose original privacy statement was a simple sentence but now is longer than the U.S. Constitution and requires a law degree to understand."
One more time. Longer than the U.S. Constitution. Requires a law degree to understand. Yet in October Facebook passed the 1 billion-user mark. How many of those individuals do you think have read and understood the privacy statement and terms and conditions, through all their iterations, since the social network was founded? Hint: not a billion.
The fact that family members of the company's founder are struggling to maintain their online privacy shows how important this issue really is. Social media privacy is a complex issue because it is ever-changing. Websites, applications and service providers are constantly changing their settings and rules. And here is the kicker: they have no fear that people will stop using their creations. Why? Because we, as consumers, do not take the initiative and demand clear-cut, fair conditions. That has to change.
John Sileo is an online privacy expert and keynote speaker on social media privacy, identity theft and fraud. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent work on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.