Facebook's Privacy Whiteboard


Last year, when Facebook started going lax on their default privacy settings (in opposition to how they'd always defaulted settings) I had this idea. It's obvious why Facebook would push their userbase in that direction, because it would mean more public outfacing pages to sell internal and external advertising on. If you're running a giant private walled garden, you can only sell ads to other users -- but when you open that page up to the world (and Google) you can sell ads to everyone.

So my thought upon seeing a major change in privacy at Facebook was there must be a whiteboard in a Facebook office somewhere listing all the changes necessary to their privacy settings in order to maximize revenue. I'd guess there are maybe 20 items on the list, and it seems every few months they pluck a couple off the list and make it live. Sure, they're also releasing other features to offset the bad publicity of further privacy changes, but this excellent blog post and infographic (one of which is shown above) demonstrate exactly how they've progressed on implementing their changes over time. I'd guess at this point, they're about 3/4 of the way through that list.

Now I'm just waiting until the day an engineer at Facebook is fed up enough to take a photo of the Privacy Nightmare Punchlist whiteboard and post it on the web for all to see. It has to exist, but I'd still like to see it.