Facebook 'Privacy' Flap: Get Over Yourself, Zuckerberg

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Not talking about Mark here. I'm certain the Facebook ( FB) CEO gets it. Randi Zuckerberg, Mark's sister, needs to catch a clue.

In case you missed it: The Zuckerberg family was hanging out in their kitchen over the holidays. They were apparently playing with the Facebook 'Poke' app. Randi shared a photo of some tomfoolery with her more than 40,000 followers/subscribers. One of them (and, who knows, maybe more?) Tweeted the picture.

It went beyond viral. Randi Zuckerberg, who I have come to like and admire via her CNBC appearances, threw a hissy fit. She admonished the person who shared the photo, claiming it wasn't about "privacy settings," rather it was about "digital etiquette" and "human decency."

Can you say melodramatic snobbery?

The media took the bait and, by and large, continues to treat this like a "privacy" controversy. This is what the media does. Most editors and reporters, particularly in television and print, can't think for themselves.

Something happens. The parties involved initially react and then rush to spin the incident. Randi Zuckerberg decides to frame the photo sharing a "privacy issue" and the media uncritically runs with it.

This whole thing actually speaks to a narrative I have weaved as of late that goes like this: I believe in Facebook's business big time -- in fact, we have a $100 stock on our hands here -- but, looking through a generational lens, Twitter will live a longer life than Facebook because it is far superior as a useful, meaningful and ultimately righteous social platform.

This incident illustrates Facebook as the Wild West ... as an American cultural train wreck with legitimate staying power.

I am about seven years older than Randi Zuckerberg. Plenty happens -- at least in my experience -- between 30 and 37. At some point during that span -- probably around 34 to 35 -- I stopped blaming everybody but myself for my missteps.

It used to be that when something went wrong, I looked for evil external forces to lay it on. That's such a toxic way to live, even when dealing with relatively small things. They add up.

So, lesson number one for Randi -- this is not about "privacy settings," but it sure as hell is not about "digital etiquette" or "human decency." Drama queen!. This is about common sense.

If 40,000 people might see something you post, somebody is going to share it with a much wider audience, even if you asked them not to (which you didn't).

But lesson number two goes beyond that. And everybody knows this. It's Facebook. It's the place where your old high school friends rip gays, blame Obama for everything, brag about their annoying children and position their dysfunctional families as prosperous, cheery and well-adjusted.

There are no rules. And that's not simply because Facebook management has done a horrendous job of setting them (or not setting them) since day one. It's just the nature of the beast.

Mark Zuckerberg wants a "more open and connected" world, a place where "people spread and consume information," so what does he expect?

Sure he can qualify this with statements such as "People sharing more -- even if just with their close friends and families -- creates a more open culture ..." but what in the world does that mean?

Randi has 40,000 "close friends" and family. She blasted this photo to 40,000 people, including, presumably, many strangers or loose acquaintances, via a platform with the stated mission of getting "everyone in the world connected" and she expects it stay within that massive circle?

She's smarter than that. And she needs to get over herself.

--Written by Rocco Pendola in Santa Monica, Calif.
Rocco Pendola is TheStreet's Director of Social Media. Pendola's daily contributions to TheStreet frequently appear on CNBC and at various top online properties, such as Forbes.

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