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Facebook CEO's sis gets taste of FB's privacy: It's complicated

December 29, 2012 5:37pm

Tags: Facebook
"It's complicated" is no longer just a status on Facebook for no less than Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg's sister Randi.

Randi was entangled in a privacy mess after a photo she tagged as private – or at least she thought was private – was shared online.

"There are all kinds of things we need to learn – or relearn – when it comes to online behavior, and how to handle privacy is one of them. It’s easy to throw rocks at Facebook or make fun of Randi Zuckerberg, but the bigger issue is not going away: if anything, it is getting even more complicated," said tech site GigaOM.

The mess started when Randi posted a photo of her family's reaction to Facebook's "Poke" app, and Vox Media's Callie Schiweitzer spread the photo on Twitter.

Poke is an app that lets users send messages or photos that self-destruct after a certain amount of time.

According to BuzzFeed, an unhappy Randi tweeted Schweitzer that reposting the photo on Twitter was "way uncool."

Schweitzer apologized but said she thought it was public because she "subscribed" to Randi's updates and saw the photo.

Randi has 1.4 million Facebook subscribers, according to

It turned out Schweitzer is also friends with Randi's sister, who was tagged in the photo.

But while she deleted the photo, Randi followed it up with a comment on digital etiquette.

"Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend's photo publicly. It's not about privacy settings, it's about human decency," Randi tweeted.

Randi's last tweet earned her brickbats from the online community.

"I love the irony about Randi Zuckerberg and her privacy complaint," quoted Greg Wiggleton as saying.

Another Twitter user, Scott Stratten, posted the controversial photo with the caption, "Want their picture privacy, Wants to sell your Instagram photos."

Still another (@girlvanized) told Randi: "Instead of vilifying a subscriber for not reading your mind, maybe you should talk to your brother about recent FB changes."

"How awful this must have been for you! How... invasive. What a violation. How terrible that someone might take something that belongs to you and use it in ways that you had not anticipated, and for which you had not given explicit permission!" added's Dan Lyons.

But GigaOM said privacy issues normally taken for granted in the real world may become "almost infinitely more complicated when we move online."

"If Randi Zuckerberg had taken a physical photo of her family, she could only have shared it with a small group of people – and by definition, those people would be close to her and her family, and so privacy wouldn’t be a problem. But when anyone can 'tag' a photo and instantly re-share that photo to an audience of thousands, things get complicated really quickly," it said.

GigaOM added figuring out these nuances is not easy, much less using software controls to do so. — LBG, GMA News
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Tags: Facebook

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