The Antisocial Social Networking Bill

by on May 19, 2011 · 4 comments

For those who wonder about the latest craziness coming from California, here is a summary.  It’s truly shocking that California policy makers are going after Silicon Valley, since it is one of the reasons the economy hasn’t completely tanked.

From my recent TNW column:

Facebook is having a tough month. First, it was revealed that the company hired a PR firm to portray competitor Google in a negative light, and now it is facing an even worse scenario: government regulation.


The Social Networking Privacy Act (SB 242) introduced into the California Senate by Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, would force any social networking site to make new users choose their privacy settings when they register and make the default settings private except for the user’s name and city of residence.

This is a huge challenge to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who has argued that making personal data public is the new “social norm.”


Clearly, the battle over what constitutes the appropriate social norm is up for grabs. According to Corbett, “you shouldn’t have to sign in and give up your personal information before you get to the part where you say ‘please don’t share my personal information.'”


This might sound like common sense at first, but someone should remind the senator that signing up for Facebook is voluntary. No one is required to log in or give up their data.


In addition to its stipulations about privacy settings, the bill would force social networking sites to remove any personally identifying information that a user wants to delete and would allow parents to edit their children’s Facebook profiles.


Suddenly the horror that “Mom’s on Facebook” could mean a lot more than potential embarrassment for kids. For those under 18, it might mean deletion of one’s online identity.


Read more here.



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