In the wake of last week’s celebrity nude photo hacking scandal, many in the media are reassessing what it means to be secure on the Internet. That includes The New York Times, which published a column this week discussing how the so-called “Facebook Generation” has begun to re-embrace online privacy.
The article cites a quote Mark Zuckerberg gave in 2010, saying that online privacy was no longer an expected “social norm.” However, more and more young Internet users have begun using apps like Snapchat and Instagram that involve less personal information and can be more easily controlled. Even Facebook itself is becoming more private; as the Times point out, the default setting for new users’ posts has been changed from “Public” to “Friends,” and the company launched a new privacy checkup feature just last week that helps users figure out how to get a better handle on their settings.
“You’re seeing more pressure on companies to be more explicit about what they’re doing with your data,” said Justin Brookman of the Center for Democracy & Technology. “But a lot of companies would just as soon fly under the radar. Requiring real transparency and real choice would help a lot in these matters.”
That is an encouraging message for Facebook users concerned with what the site is doing with their data. Even though Facebook may be frustratingly opaque when it comes to the privacy of its users, there’s one thing that’s certain to change the company’s course: public opinion turning against them.