This time it’s "personal"

John Moe May 24, 2010

I was re-reading Mark Zuckerberg’s op-ed in the Washington Post today about changes he says are coming to Facebook’s privacy controls. It’s an interesting article to read. It acknowledges user concerns but is also more than a little defensive about Facebook’s existing privacy policies.

But the part that I keep gnawing on is this:

Here are the principles under which Facebook operates:

— You have control over how your information is shared.

— We do not share your personal information with people or services you don’t want.

— We do not give advertisers access to your personal information.

— We do not and never will sell any of your information to anyone.

— We will always keep Facebook a free service for everyone.

Note how the word “information” is used in the first four points but in points two and three it’s paired with the word “personal” while in points one and four it’s not.

So there’s a distinction. And the implication is that “information” and “personal information” are two distinct things. Can we extrapolate from this that some information is shared with “people or services you don’t want” and “advertisers” but it’s not “personal information”?

Now, I have a hard time imagining that this thing was written by Zuckerberg alone in a room and then emailed to the Washington Post. A company like that, especially given the PR dust up they’re currently in, must have highly skilled communications professionals sweating out every comma of that article.

But for the life of me I don’t know what’s going on in those bullet points. And those bullet points are “the principles under which Facebook operates”.

I’m going to try to contact Facebook for clarification. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.

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