You've probably seen the deeply silly Randi Zuckerberg photo privacy story going around. But the lesson learned might be more about how little everyone knows about Facebook itself, like these goons on the USA's Today show.
Here's a clip from this morning's Today show:
Just to really drive that home, here's a partial transcript:
"Show of hands if you understand how the photo got onto Twitter. I don't quite get it myself."
"Well, apparently something, th— b— ... privacy settings is the—the issue. You know, it's created some confusion, but I guess the sister posted it, then it got—she thought she was posting it with the privacy setting, then it got published to like 40,000 people. It was sent out, somehow."
"It was tweeted out."
"It was tweeted out, yeah."
So here's the thing. It's not a crime for people to not know how Facebook works. Lots of people don't know what the hell Facebook does. But these dufuses are ostensibly reporting about Facebook privacy, which actually does concern people, yet clearly know nothing about it. And worse, they're proud of that. While that likely puts them in company with their audience, the Today show being what it is, it's also explicitly negligent. That audience is probably made up of exactly the kind of people who would actually benefit from being informed by people who know what they're talking about. Instead, "privacy settings" is just brandied about as a scary buzzword, like when 60 Minutes decides to talk about "hacking."
Is it the worst journalistic oversight/laziness in the world? No, not really. And it's not like the daytime media's ever really been informed. But it's just staggering how aggressively you have to try to remain uninformed about something as simple and pervasive as Facebook, when occasionally talking about Facebook is part of your very visible job. Today's host sums it up pretty well: "What's the takeaway here? We don't know either." [MSNBC]