We recently referenced this Q&A in the Times Online with Facebook’s chief privacy officer. Privacy guru Michael Zimmer pokes fun at the questions posed by the interviewer in a recent blog post and comes up with what he calls “a real set of questions” for the chief privacy officer at Facebook. Some samples:
- Why aren’t users instructed to review and adjust their privacy settings during the new account creation process?
- What kind of clickstream information do you capture with regards to user activities across the Facebook site? How long is it stored? Is it identifiable to the individual user? How is it used, and who is it shared with?
- What do you mean when you say “Facebook may also collect information about you from other sources, such as newspapers, blogs, instant message services… in order to provide you with more useful information and a more personalized experience.”
It’s too bad that these questions are just hypothetically posed — it would be interesting to hear real answers from Facebook’s chief privacy officer. They have backed down when challenged by privacy advocates in the past — the British Information Commissioner’s Office opened an investigation last year after a UK citizen complained that he couldn’t delete his Facebook account. After increasing pressure on the matter, Facebook changed the guidelines and while the process is still “well-hidden” it is now possible to delete an account.