Bill Gates, Facebook and Privacy Controls

While in India this week, Bill Gates made the following comment:

He admitted that he once had a Facebook page, but every day “ten thousand people tried to be my friend.” He said he spent too much time trying to decide “Do I know them? Don’t I know them?” Ultimately, he said, “I had to give it up.”

Would it be incorrect to assume that Bill Gates is technology savvy? Gates could have easily avoided being so public by restricting his profile. He could have even set up a Fan page for all those that wanted to be his friend. (Although I think when he closed his account it was before Fan pages existed.) If we believe that Gates is competent — which I believe he is — what does that say about the ability of “normal” people to set the privacy controls on applications?

Most people do not take the time to restrict their Facebook profiles and allow anyone who becomes their friend to see all of the information contained in the page. As I’ve written before, this can lead to strange and unusual circumstances. The amount of time and effort most people need to set up the proper controls is too much for them.

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