Facebook’s perpetually shifting privacy regulations have mystified and angered users for years, and this month’s newest changes are certainly no exception.
So it’s with some measure of schadenfreude that one of the website’s latest victims of privacy breach happened to be a member of Facebook honcho Mark Zuckerberg’s own family.
As Gawker notes, Randi Zuckerberg, Mark’s older sister, posted a private holiday photo on her personal Facebook page.
In the photo, members of the Zuckerberg clan are shown hanging out in the kitchen, jokingly reacting to Facebook’s new “Poke” app.
The Facebook CEO can be seen smirking in the corner, a rare photographic glimpse of the notoriously private billionaire.
[ Last week's gaffe: Instagram alienates its users with new terms of service ]
Shortly thereafter, the photo appeared on Twitter thanks to high-profile tweeter Callie Schweitzer.
Schweitzer is friends with Zuckerberg’s sister, Arielle, who happened to be tagged in the family snapshot. Facebook allows users to see photos their friends are tagged in, even if the photos have been posted by someone outside their network.
Thinking it was a sweet family moment the Zuckerbergs had made public, Schweitzer shared the photo with her near 40,000 followers.
But public it was not, and the journalist received the swift force of Randi Zuckerberg’s digital ire.
“not sure where you got this photo. I posted it to friends only on FB. You reposting it to Twitter is way uncool,” she tweeted at Schweitzer.
A startled and apologetic Schweitzer immediately wrote back: "I'm just your subscriber and this was top of my newsfeed. Genuinely sorry but it came up in my feed and seemed public."
After she figured out how Schweitzer had accessed the photo, Zuckerberg asked the New York City resident to delete the photo and made a request that many who have been similarly affected by Facebook’s arbitrary privacy rules will likely find hilarious:
“Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend's photo publicly. It's not about privacy settings, it's about human decency.”
Though Schweitzer complied, the image lives on in pixelated infamy.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if the incident caused Zuckerberg to refashion his entire site to protect the privacy of his billion users? Alas, Christmas was Tuesday.
For turning privacy public, Callie Schweitzer is awarded the Gaffe of the Week, commemorated with the statue of Rob Ford in butter.