Theft v. sharing

Surely New York Times columnist and former editor Bill Keller understands how specious his comparison between Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg is.

What’s the difference, I asked a tech-writer friend, between the billionaire media mogul Mark Zuckerberg and the billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch?
When Rupert invades your privacy, my friend e-mailed back, it’s against the law. When Mark does, it’s the future.
There is truth in that riposte: we deplore the violations exposed in the phone-hacking scandal at Murdoch’s British tabloids, while we surrender our privacy on a far grander scale to Facebook and call it “community.”

Oh, come now. Murdoch’s henchmen steal private information through hacking phones and other nefarious means to splash it on the front pages of their rags. Facebook creates a platform that enables people to share with each other at their will, to connect, and to gather together to do anything from meeting for dinner to organizing a revolution. Surely Mr. Keller understands the difference between journalistic high crimes and felonies and providing a community with the means to organize itself — which, I argue, is what journalists should see as their mission.

Bill, I’ll send you a copy of my book, which explores the differences between privacy violated and publicness enabled.

  • John Robinson

    Precisely what I thought when I read that column this morning. I wish he’d stay away from “new media” topics.

  • as a broad brush statement i do like the sound it makes :-)

  • I had the exact same thought when I read those opening paragraphs. It really made it difficult for me to take the rest of the article seriously.

  • Lawrence Butts

    No kidding – Bill enter the real world please

  • Stan Hogan

    Who wants to defend the tactics used by Murdoch’s “journalists?” But really, Facebook is more than a warm hug from a benevolent Aunt, it’s now a publicly traded company under tremendous pressure to show a revenue model worthy of all the fawning it received ahead of its IPO.

    Unfortunately for all those people sharing, connecting and gathering there, it is their information that holds the true value. Most of those users are blithely unaware of how they’re being roped into that high-stakes game through the use of information they are forced to provide in order to play. Privacy is for sale and it’s troublesome.

    • Stan:
      1. The New York Times Company is a publicly traded firm under tremendous pressure to show a revenue model, etc.
      2. Isn’t it rather condescending to think you you are wiser than the 900 million people who use Facebook, whom you accuse of being so clueless they are “roped in” to some “high-stakes game.” C’mon. They’re using a service. It’s free. they know why. They’re not stupid. I have more respect for them than you do.

      • joaomsc

        Jeff, people are not stupid, but it is not that clear how information is shared when U use Facebook.
        By the way, comparing what Murdock to Zuckberg is not reasonable, and not a good way to polemize.

        Maybe U can help me, when I post something in Facebook to a group, like my family, only them can see that info?

        In the past I could block cookies and stuff, it was easier to know when U where sharing information to companies, like when U opt-in to receive newsletters…
        But now I’m not so sure if my e-mail in gmail (or face, or any other) is private, like in my “hard” mailbox, or if there is someone (or something like a computer) sniffing and reading my letters.Where I live it still is a crime to violate someone else’s letter (mail, call, message, telegram), in the internet it used to be a crime too. Now I don’t know if the internet mail companies think is a crime or not.

  • Robert Shaver

    One of the comments on the NYT article said, ”
    The NY Times requires a Facebook login.
    That says it all right there.”

  • newspaper types should stay away from articles about the internets.

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  • Kayla

    You often speak about things been ‘creepy’ and that users find some actions of companies to be ‘creepy’, are there any statistics that you’ve come across of the percentage of average users that find location based services creepy?

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