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Delete Facebook account group forced Facebook CEO’s apology?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has apologised to users of the service who are upset with the company over privacy issues and threatened to delete their accounts on May 31st.

Delete Facebook Account PrivacyFacebook’s CEO has apologised privately in an email to tech evangelist Robert Scoble, who asked to reprint Zuckerberg’s response on his blog.

Facebook has been under attack over the repeated incremental changes to privacy policy which the company has forced on users, with many feeling the most recent changes to force openness simply go too far. Groups such as ‘quit facebook day‘ have been asking users to commit to deleting their Facebook accounts in protest on May 31st, Zuckerberg’s reply to Scoble can be seen as a pre-emptive move to blunt the effectiveness of Quit Facebook Day, however is most likely part of a larger PR offensive to restore trust in the service.

Sophos reports that a survey of users found 60 percent of respondents indicated they were considering deleting their Facebook account due to privacy issues. While this number seems abnormally high (and is possibly skewed by the audience participating in the poll) it is clear that Facebook has lost trust with users over privacy and has some work to do to restore it.

Facebook needs to work hard to restore user trust, as while many are unprepared to quit from the social network yet, they will nonetheless talk negatively about the brand over social networks (including Facebook itself) this will push others over the tipping point into leaving the network and Facebook needs to address this trust-rot sooner rather than later.

Unfortunately Facebook is in a bind, their venture capital is drying up and their backers are seeking ways to improve the monetisation of the product, to do this opening up people’s personal information is key. Long term this no doubt remains the strategy, no matter the short term changes brought in to calm the mini-revolt Zuckerberg has on his hands.

What do you think?

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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