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Reporters' Roundtable: Facebook and privacy (podcast)

Facebook recently rolled out privacy changes and new data sharing features,prompting a swift and mighty backlash. To discuss, Rafe Needleman is joined by CNET's Declan McCullagh, and by Kara Swisher from All Things Digital.

Our topic this week: Facebook and privacy. At the F8 conference on April 21, Facebook rolled out privacy changes and new data sharing features. As usually happens when Facebook makes a privacy change, there was a swift and mighty backlash against them. But this time, even the federal government is getting involved--four senators sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the company to roll back some of the new features.

Do the words Facebook and privacy even belong together anymore? What is going on at the world's largest social network?

To discuss, our guests today are two people who have studied the company in depth. First, in the studio, Declan McCullagh, our politics and policies reporter. And joining us in from Washington DC, Kara Swisher from All Things Digital and co-producer of the D8 conference with WSJ's Walt Mossberg. Thanks for joining us!

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Show notes and talking points

What did Facebook announce at F8?

What's the problem? Is there a real danger?

Who owns the data?

What is the accepted (not actual) privacy that users expect of FB?

Is there a geographic or generational difference in tolerance

What about people who complain that FB seems to be watching them on other sites? (Yelp etc)

I guess one of the issues is unreadable and constantly-changing TOS agreements and instructions. Is this intentional?

Let's review: Beacon. What was that about?

Why is this data so important to FB? (How does the company monetize the social graph?)

Under what guise would the govt get more involved

Is regulation the answer, or openness?

Declan, you wrote, Why no one cares about privacy anymore. Please expand

Kara: You know Zuckerberg. Does he understand why ppl are upset?

He'll be at your D8 conference. What do you expect from him?

Lessons FB could learn from other companies? Google?

Do we now have to trust app vendors w/ our FB data

Location privacy?


Next time: Ethics and online journalism, with CNET editor-in-chief Scott Ard, and the Poynter Institute's Kelly McBride. E-mail comments to, and get all the show notes as well as replays and downloads of the podcast on the blog. Watch my Twitter feed (@Rafe) for updates.