You probably already read about Randi Zuckerberg’s faux-privacy violation on Facebook this week. But odds are you’re not part of her inner circle. Lucky for you, a tipster who’s “Friends” with RZ gave up the goods directly from her wall.
While Randi was admonishing people for lacking “human decency” on Twitter—dispatches she’d delete shortly after writing—she was fretting to her vast Friend following about how to handle the situation. The situation being that a completely innocuous photo she’d inadvertently made public through tagging was circulating the Internet. And to think, it was a viral hit even without the original caption: “Mark convinced everyone to download the ‘poke’ app, so now my family is standing around sexting. Awk. Ward.” Truly! Where was Priscilla?
Hundreds of Randi’s Silicon Valley chums chimed in, including Google exec Hunter Walk, begging RZ to let it go.
Ignore, ignore, ignore, the people said. Tech investor Michael Arrington chimed in with something incoherent.
Former Microsoft big shot Robert Scoble warned that this will only get worse with the spread of Google Glass. Venture capitalist Dave McClure referred fondly to the time the three of them played Rock Band in 2008. Still, the friends all said let it go.
She never did.
It’s strange to look inside, from a friend’s point of view, and see Mark Zuckerberg’s sister miss the mark by so many yards. When something is out there, it’s out there, free to be shared like any other rumour, joke, or dog meme—and Randi’s family is rich because of it. It’s not even Facebook’s fault. No privacy setting could have prevented this, short of blocking everyone. Although whining about “decency” should make our eyes roll, she’s got the human part spot on—so long as we’re friends with humans on Facebook, those same people are free to spread whichever parts of your life they choose, and spread it widely. Because we like doing it, and that’s what Facebook is for.
Randi’s brother’s life goal is “Making the world more open and connected,” and he’s doing a good job at it. But the more connected we are, the quicker we’re just going to be the way we were a century ago. We like funny things. We like being in on the joke. And when you’re a self-appointed tech celeb, your frustration becomes a currency anyone will spend. One of your over 2,300 Facebook friends sold you out for a quick laugh Randi, and they’ll keep doing it over and over again, to all of us, so long as we’re all making money for your brother.