You Want Privacy on Facebook? Pay For It.

by Art Fag City on May 18, 2010 · 49 comments Events

POST BY: PADDY JOHNSON

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Image via: Gawker

Last week’s five million articles on Facebook’s icky privacy settings are reminding me of a post I wrote back in December on the subject, the point of which being, if you want privacy at some point you’ll have to pay for it. The reason is this: social networking sites that run on ad revenue lose money through walled gardens, so at a certain point it’s unreasonable to ask websites to lump a cost on a free service just because it’s something you’d like.  Aside from the stories outlining CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s  frighteningly assholian IMs when he founded the company, what’s icky about Facebook are policies that tell users they’re being given privacy when they aren’t, rather than just charging for it. A little more transparency from this company wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  • http://www.gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooogle.com/ jmb

    I wish people would stop spending so much time complaining about privacy and start being a little more careful about what they put online.

  • http://www.gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooogle.com/ jmb

    I wish people would stop spending so much time complaining about privacy and start being a little more careful about what they put online.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    I’m only half-following this since as you know I’ve always thought the idea of Facebook was creepy. So, does this mean that all the art world “dish” people thought was private suddenly became public? As a longtime denizen of the open web who has arguably not watched his mouth, I’m not sure how to feel about this.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    I’m only half-following this since as you know I’ve always thought the idea of Facebook was creepy. So, does this mean that all the art world “dish” people thought was private suddenly became public? As a longtime denizen of the open web who has arguably not watched his mouth, I’m not sure how to feel about this.

  • http://artaux.tumblr.com/ Cat

    We shouldn’t have to pay for privacy. It’s really not an issue of privacy anymore, we lost that a long time ago & can’t get it back if we wish to live online. Its more an issue of intellectual property, ours. All those clicks and likes are valuable & we should be demanding to be paid for them. People don’t understand how valuable their precious privacy is, it’s about time they stop bitching about what we can’t control and start profiting from it instead. The corporations are, why shouldn’t we?

  • http://artaux.tumblr.com/ Cat

    We shouldn’t have to pay for privacy. It’s really not an issue of privacy anymore, we lost that a long time ago & can’t get it back if we wish to live online. Its more an issue of intellectual property, ours. All those clicks and likes are valuable & we should be demanding to be paid for them. People don’t understand how valuable their precious privacy is, it’s about time they stop bitching about what we can’t control and start profiting from it instead. The corporations are, why shouldn’t we?

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @cat This assumes that facebook’s platform is worth nothing, and the pictures we took of ourselves making out with the boss at the office party last week are the thing of value. It’s not the case. This is like saying we should get paid for our use of a photo album rather than having to pay for the photo album itself. Most crap on facebook is worthless.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @cat This assumes that facebook’s platform is worth nothing, and the pictures we took of ourselves making out with the boss at the office party last week are the thing of value. It’s not the case. This is like saying we should get paid for our use of a photo album rather than having to pay for the photo album itself. Most crap on facebook is worthless.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @tom I think it’s more like: the art world dish people thought was private was never that way to begin with.

    Privacy on the web has value on small list serves and aspects of financial management on the web, but in the larger social and media arena I think it exists only because the internet is still younger than most of its users.

  • http://www.gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooogle.com/ jmb

    Intellectual property is a myth. Facebook is for stalking people from your high school and wishing your aunt happy birthday. It is not at all adequate for robust and dynamic self-expression (at least in its current incarnation) If you want control over your intellectual property and a means by which to make a living off of it just use one of the myriad open and free alternatives… a la moody.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @tom I think it’s more like: the art world dish people thought was private was never that way to begin with.

    Privacy on the web has value on small list serves and aspects of financial management on the web, but in the larger social and media arena I think it exists only because the internet is still younger than most of its users.

  • http://www.gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooogle.com/ jmb

    Intellectual property is a myth. Facebook is for stalking people from your high school and wishing your aunt happy birthday. It is not at all adequate for robust and dynamic self-expression (at least in its current incarnation) If you want control over your intellectual property and a means by which to make a living off of it just use one of the myriad open and free alternatives… a la moody.

  • http://artaux.tumblr.com/ Cat

    @Art Fag City I’m not suggesting that uploading our photos is valuable or even updating our profiles, most of that is meaningless. It’s our clicks and likes, which groups we are part of, what things we are fans of that are valuable to marketing and advertisers who then in turn pay Facebook for that information and as well for Ad space. Facebook makes money on Advertisers not on us. Masses of information flow through FB everyday with so many people using it, this is a marketers dream. It’s valuable, don’t discredit what you are doing as having no impact. It does. Why shouldn’t you be compensated for that? Even if it’s in microtransactions.

  • http://artaux.tumblr.com/ Cat

    @Art Fag City I’m not suggesting that uploading our photos is valuable or even updating our profiles, most of that is meaningless. It’s our clicks and likes, which groups we are part of, what things we are fans of that are valuable to marketing and advertisers who then in turn pay Facebook for that information and as well for Ad space. Facebook makes money on Advertisers not on us. Masses of information flow through FB everyday with so many people using it, this is a marketers dream. It’s valuable, don’t discredit what you are doing as having no impact. It does. Why shouldn’t you be compensated for that? Even if it’s in microtransactions.

  • http://artaux.tumblr.com/ Cat

    for clarification here. i am not talking about facebook having value for artists or it even being a place to make money for artists. i just don’t feel like we should pay for things when we, the consumer, are the reason that it makes some of it’s money.

  • http://artaux.tumblr.com/ Cat

    for clarification here. i am not talking about facebook having value for artists or it even being a place to make money for artists. i just don’t feel like we should pay for things when we, the consumer, are the reason that it makes some of it’s money.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @cat This is what Amazon Turk is for, not facebook.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @cat This is what Amazon Turk is for, not facebook.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @cat This is what Amazon Turk is for, not facebook.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @cat This is what Amazon Turk is for, not facebook.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Cat, I’m not addressing the money aspect of it. My (faux?) self-deprecating comment had more to do with the consequences of brutal honesty online. Some of us have been navigating that minefield before Facebook came along with its promise of private discussion among elites.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Cat, I’m not addressing the money aspect of it. My (faux?) self-deprecating comment had more to do with the consequences of brutal honesty online. Some of us have been navigating that minefield before Facebook came along with its promise of private discussion among elites.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @cat I see what your saying — the use itself is what generates cash, and this is what we should be paid for. I think the distinction here is that some kinds of use and expression have monitary value while others don’t. Casual use has no monitary value — that’s the way it should be. There are all kinds of companies that use facebook’s platform as a means of directing traffic and generating revenue for their website. So people are making money of its use, just not a lot of us. This is fairly standard.

    Also, I tend to think of this as an investment. Facebook fronted the money and development costs to make the site happen. As such they get the majority of the revenue. Users invest time and energy in the site. In return, their stuff is archived for them. That’s worth something — according to facebook, the cost of they’re paying for your server space is offset by your activity. On a micro level they end up with a larger percentage, but they’re the major shareholder in this equation.

    Notably a year and a half ago facebook needed venture capital funding because the server space was costing them more than users were generating income. They shoulder all the financial risk, we have none.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    @cat I see what your saying — the use itself is what generates cash, and this is what we should be paid for. I think the distinction here is that some kinds of use and expression have monitary value while others don’t. Casual use has no monitary value — that’s the way it should be. There are all kinds of companies that use facebook’s platform as a means of directing traffic and generating revenue for their website. So people are making money of its use, just not a lot of us. This is fairly standard.

    Also, I tend to think of this as an investment. Facebook fronted the money and development costs to make the site happen. As such they get the majority of the revenue. Users invest time and energy in the site. In return, their stuff is archived for them. That’s worth something — according to facebook, the cost of they’re paying for your server space is offset by your activity. On a micro level they end up with a larger percentage, but they’re the major shareholder in this equation.

    Notably a year and a half ago facebook needed venture capital funding because the server space was costing them more than users were generating income. They shoulder all the financial risk, we have none.

  • http://artaux.tumblr.com/ Cat

    @AFC good point abt server space. Had not considered this in the equation. Ever since Google created the illusion of the bottomless server I tend to forget that these things cost money still.

    They do take all the financial risk. The risks we take are of our own making and are of a more personal nature.

  • http://artaux.tumblr.com/ Cat

    @AFC good point abt server space. Had not considered this in the equation. Ever since Google created the illusion of the bottomless server I tend to forget that these things cost money still.

    They do take all the financial risk. The risks we take are of our own making and are of a more personal nature.

  • http://artaux.tumblr.com/ Cat

    @AFC good point abt server space. Had not considered this in the equation. Ever since Google created the illusion of the bottomless server I tend to forget that these things cost money still.

    They do take all the financial risk. The risks we take are of our own making and are of a more personal nature.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Cat’s comment “Facebook makes money on Advertisers not on us, etc” was originally addressed to me–wasn’t it? That’s why I responded to it.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Cat’s comment “Facebook makes money on Advertisers not on us, etc” was originally addressed to me–wasn’t it? That’s why I responded to it.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Cat’s comment “Facebook makes money on Advertisers not on us, etc” was originally addressed to me–wasn’t it? That’s why I responded to it.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Cat’s comment “Facebook makes money on Advertisers not on us, etc” was originally addressed to me–wasn’t it? That’s why I responded to it.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Yeah, it was a mistake though, so I just corrected it. While I was fixing it you responded.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Yeah, it was a mistake though, so I just corrected it. While I was fixing it you responded.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Yeah, it was a mistake though, so I just corrected it. While I was fixing it you responded.

  • http://www.artfagcity.com Art Fag City

    Yeah, it was a mistake though, so I just corrected it. While I was fixing it you responded.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse P. Martin

    @Tom: I had a banner interweb-discourse week laying out some “brutal honesty” (which wasn’t even that brutal, honestly) on Facebook w/art-people ranging from Saltz, Parsons MFA’s, and gallerist Stephanie Theodore. In all cases, I was more or less met with swift reproach (and ultimatey blocked by Saltz & Theodore) for giving my opinions.

    I don’t blame Facebook for the preponderance of lame dialogue, though the public-ness of the venue does seem to have a (mostly negative) leveling effect on how/what people write & how they communicate with one another.

    I also can’t help but be reminded of what Howard Halle was stressing during one of the Gaga threads regarding how “fine art is being monetized for a mass audience.” This mindset has extended into places like Facebook in terms of how people feel they have to present themselves to “everyone” at all times, so most “discourse” ends up being dumbed-down, crowd-pleasing fluff.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse P. Martin

    @Tom: I had a banner interweb-discourse week laying out some “brutal honesty” (which wasn’t even that brutal, honestly) on Facebook w/art-people ranging from Saltz, Parsons MFA’s, and gallerist Stephanie Theodore. In all cases, I was more or less met with swift reproach (and ultimatey blocked by Saltz & Theodore) for giving my opinions.

    I don’t blame Facebook for the preponderance of lame dialogue, though the public-ness of the venue does seem to have a (mostly negative) leveling effect on how/what people write & how they communicate with one another.

    I also can’t help but be reminded of what Howard Halle was stressing during one of the Gaga threads regarding how “fine art is being monetized for a mass audience.” This mindset has extended into places like Facebook in terms of how people feel they have to present themselves to “everyone” at all times, so most “discourse” ends up being dumbed-down, crowd-pleasing fluff.

  • http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/ Jesse P. Martin

    @Tom: I had a banner interweb-discourse week laying out some “brutal honesty” (which wasn’t even that brutal, honestly) on Facebook w/art-people ranging from Saltz, Parsons MFA’s, and gallerist Stephanie Theodore. In all cases, I was more or less met with swift reproach (and ultimatey blocked by Saltz & Theodore) for giving my opinions.

    I don’t blame Facebook for the preponderance of lame dialogue, though the public-ness of the venue does seem to have a (mostly negative) leveling effect on how/what people write & how they communicate with one another.

    I also can’t help but be reminded of what Howard Halle was stressing during one of the Gaga threads regarding how “fine art is being monetized for a mass audience.” This mindset has extended into places like Facebook in terms of how people feel they have to present themselves to “everyone” at all times, so most “discourse” ends up being dumbed-down, crowd-pleasing fluff.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    History might have been different if Zuckerberg had devoted more time to ConnectU.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    History might have been different if Zuckerberg had devoted more time to ConnectU.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Jesse, my sympathies for trying to engage Saltz and Theodore in an environment where they had power over you. I think that’s why Facebook initially appealed to art world mainstays–it was a way to keep up the velvet rope. I haven’t experienced this crowd-pleasing stuff on the open net–it’s been endless bloody war, and very fun.

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    Jesse, my sympathies for trying to engage Saltz and Theodore in an environment where they had power over you. I think that’s why Facebook initially appealed to art world mainstays–it was a way to keep up the velvet rope. I haven’t experienced this crowd-pleasing stuff on the open net–it’s been endless bloody war, and very fun.

  • http://www.jessepatrickmartin.com Jesse P. Martin

    @AFC: I should reinforce that I was *blocked* by Saltz/Theodore, not just “defriended.” That means that I can’t even view their comments — they cease to exist on my account. I’m banished. And though I was a “longtime listener” to Saltz’s page, that was the first time I ever commented on his infamous status-posting. Lesson learned.

    @Tom: Facebook could (should) be an amazing place for art world participants, mainstays or otherwise. I love that I can see what other artists, writers, my former peers, and professors are working on/thinking about in a one-stop-shopping kind of venue. Unfortunately, a weird conservatism seems to dominate what could become engaging exchanges. I only just rejoined Facebook, and I’ve made a point to be more forthright on postings that I feel warrant such forthrightness. When I heard that my former MFA program had just had an Oprah clip filmed in their studios, I posted my concerns on a Facebook photo uploaded by one of the participating artists. A couple of students spoke to the questions, and one person actually threatened me with “a beat down.”

    Anyway… I summarized these Facebook exchanges here http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/2010/05/honey-is-bee-shit.html because I knew that they’d risk being deleted otherwise. I guess I need to look for more in the “open net,” but I admit not really knowing where to go (except here!).

  • http://www.jessepatrickmartin.com Jesse P. Martin

    @AFC: I should reinforce that I was *blocked* by Saltz/Theodore, not just “defriended.” That means that I can’t even view their comments — they cease to exist on my account. I’m banished. And though I was a “longtime listener” to Saltz’s page, that was the first time I ever commented on his infamous status-posting. Lesson learned.

    @Tom: Facebook could (should) be an amazing place for art world participants, mainstays or otherwise. I love that I can see what other artists, writers, my former peers, and professors are working on/thinking about in a one-stop-shopping kind of venue. Unfortunately, a weird conservatism seems to dominate what could become engaging exchanges. I only just rejoined Facebook, and I’ve made a point to be more forthright on postings that I feel warrant such forthrightness. When I heard that my former MFA program had just had an Oprah clip filmed in their studios, I posted my concerns on a Facebook photo uploaded by one of the participating artists. A couple of students spoke to the questions, and one person actually threatened me with “a beat down.”

    Anyway… I summarized these Facebook exchanges here http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/2010/05/honey-is-bee-shit.html because I knew that they’d risk being deleted otherwise. I guess I need to look for more in the “open net,” but I admit not really knowing where to go (except here!).

  • http://www.jessepatrickmartin.com Jesse P. Martin

    @AFC: I should reinforce that I was *blocked* by Saltz/Theodore, not just “defriended.” That means that I can’t even view their comments — they cease to exist on my account. I’m banished. And though I was a “longtime listener” to Saltz’s page, that was the first time I ever commented on his infamous status-posting. Lesson learned.

    @Tom: Facebook could (should) be an amazing place for art world participants, mainstays or otherwise. I love that I can see what other artists, writers, my former peers, and professors are working on/thinking about in a one-stop-shopping kind of venue. Unfortunately, a weird conservatism seems to dominate what could become engaging exchanges. I only just rejoined Facebook, and I’ve made a point to be more forthright on postings that I feel warrant such forthrightness. When I heard that my former MFA program had just had an Oprah clip filmed in their studios, I posted my concerns on a Facebook photo uploaded by one of the participating artists. A couple of students spoke to the questions, and one person actually threatened me with “a beat down.”

    Anyway… I summarized these Facebook exchanges here http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/2010/05/honey-is-bee-shit.html because I knew that they’d risk being deleted otherwise. I guess I need to look for more in the “open net,” but I admit not really knowing where to go (except here!).

  • http://www.jessepatrickmartin.com Jesse P. Martin

    @AFC: I should reinforce that I was *blocked* by Saltz/Theodore, not just “defriended.” That means that I can’t even view their comments — they cease to exist on my account. I’m banished. And though I was a “longtime listener” to Saltz’s page, that was the first time I ever commented on his infamous status-posting. Lesson learned.

    @Tom: Facebook could (should) be an amazing place for art world participants, mainstays or otherwise. I love that I can see what other artists, writers, my former peers, and professors are working on/thinking about in a one-stop-shopping kind of venue. Unfortunately, a weird conservatism seems to dominate what could become engaging exchanges. I only just rejoined Facebook, and I’ve made a point to be more forthright on postings that I feel warrant such forthrightness. When I heard that my former MFA program had just had an Oprah clip filmed in their studios, I posted my concerns on a Facebook photo uploaded by one of the participating artists. A couple of students spoke to the questions, and one person actually threatened me with “a beat down.”

    Anyway… I summarized these Facebook exchanges here http://jessepatrickmartin.blogspot.com/2010/05/honey-is-bee-shit.html because I knew that they’d risk being deleted otherwise. I guess I need to look for more in the “open net,” but I admit not really knowing where to go (except here!).

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    The “one-stop-shopping kind of venue” seems to be a selling point for many–it’s not just the snobbery of deciding who you want to associate with. “The internet” is a much larger one stop shop–there are a million ways to filter it, configure it, and communicate on it without crawling on your knees to Mark Zuckerberg (or Jerry Saltz). As DEVO said, “Freedom of choice is what you got/freedom from choice is what you want.” “You” being you Facebook users. [/flame]

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    The “one-stop-shopping kind of venue” seems to be a selling point for many–it’s not just the snobbery of deciding who you want to associate with. “The internet” is a much larger one stop shop–there are a million ways to filter it, configure it, and communicate on it without crawling on your knees to Mark Zuckerberg (or Jerry Saltz). As DEVO said, “Freedom of choice is what you got/freedom from choice is what you want.” “You” being you Facebook users. [/flame]

  • http://tommoody.us tom moody

    The “one-stop-shopping kind of venue” seems to be a selling point for many–it’s not just the snobbery of deciding who you want to associate with. “The internet” is a much larger one stop shop–there are a million ways to filter it, configure it, and communicate on it without crawling on your knees to Mark Zuckerberg (or Jerry Saltz). As DEVO said, “Freedom of choice is what you got/freedom from choice is what you want.” “You” being you Facebook users. [/flame]

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