No company—not even one with over 800 million users and an upcoming IPO estimated at $100 billion—and no government, in fact, can afford to turn a blind eye to its critics in this day and age. Yes, the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement on Nov. 29 with Facebook after issuing an eight-count complaint against the company for failing to keep privacy promises to its consumers, but chances are the company would have evolved its approach to privacy issues without the efforts of the FTC.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg discusses the settlement in a post on Facebook's blog, and focuses on Facebook’s commitment to privacy and controlled sharing. In his blog post, Zuckerberg outlines Facebook’s continuous improvement of control settings, alluding to the fact that the company has been listening to its critics all along.
“In the last 18 months alone, we’ve announced more than 20 new tools and resources designed to give you more control over your Facebook experience,” Zuckerberg writes.
Zuckerberg also admits to making “a bunch of mistakes.” In particular, he cites poor execution during a transition to new privacy protocols two years ago. Zuckerberg also announced two new positions: chief privacy officer, policy, and chief privacy officer, products.
Whatever gripes people may have with Facebook's privacy policies, it's clear that the company is listening now. And as any social media expert—or political activist—will tell you, once a true dialogue is established, it's disastrous to shut it down.