Randi Zuckerberg loses control on Facebook (and Twitter)

The Facebook CEO's sister is peeved that a photo she thought she'd posted privately is exposed publicly. It's quite a photo.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read
Oh, Lordy. Let's discuss decency. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

It's easy to have sympathy for those who have been misled by Facebook's ever-morphing privacy controls. One should therefore have additional sympathy when the person led astray is a former director of Facebook and enjoys the name Zuckerberg.

Randi Zuckerberg thought she had posted a picture to be only seen by her friends. Suddenly, it was there for all to see. Yes, all. The world. The whole misanthropic, green-eyed human race.

As ReadWriteWeb's Dan Lyons icily fulminates, it seems that one of her sister's friends saw the picture, assumed it was for public viewing and -- because of its profoundly fascinating nature -- tweeted it down the Styx to public hell.

You'll be wondering about the picture. Well, it shows several members of the Zuckerberg family standing around the kitchen, staring into their cellphones and seeming astoundingly happy.

You might imagine that Randi Zuckerberg felt this was not the right message to be sending to the world.

Happy families at this time of year can be disturbing sights, encouraging onlookers to wonder what lurks beneath those open mouths and exposed teeth.

Yes, and do it publicly. Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

People will wonder what gifts these people bought each other and why the boy with the very pale face and the hoodie is leaning smugly against the kitchen cabinets.

Zuckerberg, however, leaped onto Twitter to explain her pain: "Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend's photo publicly. It's not about privacy settings, it's about human decency."

Oh, but this only led to her receiving little lectures -- not exclusively about human decency, oddly enough.

Media Bistro wondered whether she was a Twitter bully.

Lyons, pitching from the full wind-up, felt that the decency thing was a little indecent:

It's so important, in fact, that now Randi Zuckerberg, a not-universally-acclaimed aspiring chanteuse who rocks Silicon Valley with an awesome band called Feedbomb, as well as producer of a terrible reality series about Silicon Valley (See Bravo's Silicon Valley: The Painful Truth Behind A Caricature Of Excess), as well as sister of the guy who created that beacon of morality known as Facebook, would like to use this as a teaching moment in which she can instruct the world about basic human decency.

And a tweeter called Anna soothed her with: "@randizuckerberg Instead of vilifying a subscriber for not reading your mind, maybe you should talk to your brother about recent FB changes."

You're already wondering how that conversation might go, aren't you? You're already imagining whether the brother in question would listen raptly or would stare into the medium distance, privately imagining, perhaps, what live animal he might kill next.

Personally, though, I don't believe that money breeds spectacular levels of self-righteousness. I actually agree with La Zuckerberg.

She is absolutely right that the standard of human decency should fly higher and more proudly than any handkerchief flag of privacy.

Facebook should immediately impose a code of conduct. Its one principle should be that of human decency.

Everyone on the site -- including Facebook's management and breast police -- should first consider the intentions of users before doing anything. It will be an excellent exercise of their human skills.

An indecent exposure, such as the one suffered by Randi Zuckerberg, should incur a fine of $20,000.

A second offense? $200,000.

However, if someone -- say the site itself -- indecently impounds an image for a commercial purpose -- for example, to advertise 55-gallon tub of personal lube without the subject's knowledge -- they should pay the person $10 million.

It's time the principles of decency were upheld fully and without prejudice on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Zuckerberg herself has referred to her critics as -- oh, I can't summarize this. Read for yourself what she tweeted: "Apparently, the topic of online etiquette elicits passion, debate, anger & Twitter crazies. Guess I just found the topic of my next TV show!"

Her next TV show? Does that mean the last one will be canceled?