January 28th, 2010
10:36 AM GMT
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Davos, Switzerland (CNN) – As the serious business of rethinking, redesigning and rebuilding the world’s battered economy got started at Davos, I found myself wandering into a debate about how social media is changing the world.

LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman

Everyone that’s anyone in this rarefied world was there, including MySpace chief Owen Van Natta, LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was represented by his sister, Randi.

It’s standing room only in the ridiculously small conference suite deep in the fortified congress center, such is the interest in what these new kings of Silicon Valley have to say.

See CNN's full Davos coverage

The idea is that each panelist gives his or her view on the most interesting issues in social networking, from privacy to how it’s being used as a newsgathering tool. The discussion is also going out live on the Internet - at one stage Zuckerberg reveals almost 6,000 questions have been filed by Facebook users within minutes.

Williams, in his jeans and hooded top, seems to be tweeting between questions, while Hoffman comes out with one of the most provocative statements when he calls privacy an “old person’s” issue that young people aren’t interested in.

Tell that to the huge number of bloggers that complained when Facebook altered their privacy settings recently. Interestingly, Zuckerberg isn’t keen to discuss privacy as she hides behind her laptop.

Don Tapscott, a veteran tech writer, chimed in about Facebook profiles being open to scrutiny by potential employers. “Someone could miss out on that job due to content in their Facebook account that doesn’t necessarily represent their true character.”

An interesting point. Are you worried about where your personal information is going? Let us know below.

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Filed under: BusinessDavosQuest Means Business


soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. tvnewswatch

    Am I worried about where my personal information is going? In a word, yes. In the age of phishing, smishing and other scams, so should others. There are also issues of compromising employment status. As a blogger and micro-blogger I find it important to separate my public profile from my professional one. Also, given I am in China at present there are other concerns to be taken into consideration in terms of hiding behind a pseudonym. As regards Facebook, this is a particular bone of contention. In China I, as indeed a million other previous users of Facebook, are unable to log on due to its being blocked. As such I am unable to change or set privacy settings. What is still unclear is if one's profile will become more public if one does not log on or is unable to log on. While companies might change terms and conditions, few take into account issues that an inability to act upon it might have.

    January 28, 2010 at 11:15 am |
  2. tvnewswatch

    Just a final note, WordPress links are blocked in China so clicking the link sent by the automated message from the WordPress.com subscription service does not work !!

    January 28, 2010 at 11:19 am |
  3. Carla Greggio

    Yes, I worry for my private info in facebook /twitter. I use both in a minimum info basis !!!
    social net works are supposed to be fun and useful (my point of view!). But it turns out , it can also be harmful ...
    I believe social net works are really changing a lot ... it's in our hands to do it for better !!!

    January 28, 2010 at 11:39 am |
  4. Rafael Mellado

    I'm not worried about my personal information on facebook.
    Facebook has some great privacy controls so you can control who can see what. Some of my friends can see all of my post and pictures, while others such as employers or friends from work can only see what I want them to see. It's just a matter of learning how to use these tools.

    January 28, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  5. Gus-br

    The problem is not being out of the social networking trend and missing opportunities because you are not connected enough. It's a question of who are you providing personal information to and who else might be listening. The net is still the Wild West when it comes to security, where phishing and other types of cyber attacks abound. Having all your life twitted and put into a profile opens many possibilities of virtual and physical threat that should not be considered lightly.

    January 28, 2010 at 12:17 pm |
  6. CJS

    There is not and never has been any expectation of privacy on the net. It is a completely open forum and anyone who has an expectation of privacy is an idiot.

    January 28, 2010 at 12:54 pm |
  7. Sakkage

    Big Brother is watching you!!!!!!!!!!

    January 28, 2010 at 12:59 pm |
  8. Glenn

    Google is your worst enemy.

    January 28, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  9. Matthew Zelepski

    Being Generation X, I feel that the younger crowd not caring about privacy is a concern. I am afraid that something eye-opening will have to happen before a paradigm shift is made. It blows my mind that people don't realize that by having your full birthday with year, gives the identity thief another clue to validating who you are.

    The big wigs at these social networking sites will follow this mantra of privacy is a thing of the past because at the end of the day, they just care about page views because that generates more ad revenue and more money for the company. If there is less privacy the average user will click around more and generate revenue for these sites. Facebook for instance has made pictures open to friends of friends by default. Most people haven't changed this setting to only friends or done things to make there picture more private. You may not want to friend the home coming queen in high school because you don't know her that well. But, her photo albums have been set to less private settings. Going through her photo's might bring in 100 page views and each one will generate a new ad on the side and cha-ching for facebook. With a more private setting social network sites lose the page views. Hence the CEO's in these companies are trying to make us believe that privacy doesn't matter when it is a very serious issue.

    January 28, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  10. Naked On Google

    It is time to BAN google and infoUSA and yahoo and msn and any other $&%& profiting from my personal data ... I am sick of these (*&)(*& stealing MY data and profiting from it ... I want everyone to come together and BAN the use of my data and my life and say to these thieves ... butt out of my life !

    January 28, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  11. Redeye Dog

    "Privacy on the Web?" I believe it's a misleading term called "opt-out" these days...

    Since information on the web is immediately captured – forever, it then instantly propagates throughout the internetwork.

    Your "opt-out" doesn't take effect until many weeks after you initiate it, anyway. So all you have to do is chase all the "partners" who have their "opt-out" policy who also have partners with their opt-out policies and then their partners, etc., etc.

    In the current model, the damage is done immediately. A losing battle... So, what do you do to stop it in three easy steps?

    1. Unplug your connection to the internet.
    2. Do not own or use a cell phone.
    3. Do not buy products with GPS technologies.

    Privacy? What privacy?

    January 28, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  12. BoydayRutty

    good topic , search this from blogsearch after that good luck for you.just add up the rss feed to my reader,keep update!

    April 14, 2010 at 11:25 am |

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