Over Christmas, Mark Zuckerberg's older sister Randi Zuckerberg posted a "private" photo of a family gathering on Facebook.
The photo was innocent enough, as it showed several members of the Zuckerberg family gathered in the kitchen and having a good time. Randi also tagged her relatives in the pic, including brother Mark.
But unbeknownst to Randi, the photo apparently popped up in the Facebook feed of someone named Callie Schweitzer. Schweitzer then proceeded to tweet it to 40,000 of her followers, reports Forbes. As you can imagine, the photo suddenly went viral. Randi Zuckerberg's reaction to the innocent photo going public didn't help matters either.
In a Twitter battle, Randi Zuckerberg wrote to Schweitzer saying that she was not sure where she got the photo, but that the photo was posted for "friends only" and said that Schweitzer's reposting of the photo on Twitter was "way uncool."
Schweitzer took the high road, apologized, and removed the photo. But by that time, the photo had already gone public and sites like Buzzfeed had posted it for the world to see.
So where's the irony in this Facebook flap, besides Randi being Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's sister?
For starters, the photo that captured the Zuckerberg family was shared using a new Facebook mobile app called "Poke," which allows the sender to decide how long the photo can be seen by others, reports Forbes. But it seems Facebook didn't figure that someone could simply copy the image from Facebook and post it elsewhere, permanently?
Secondly, apparently even Mark Zuckerberg's sister couldn't figure out the complicated intricacies of Facebook's privacy settings. (She's not alone in that regard.) While Randi Zuckerberg stuck to her guns and placed the blame squarely on Schweitzer, the fact is that she did not understand her own Facebook privacy settings and posted the photo in a way that someone like Schweitzer could have seen it.
Apparently, Schweitzer is "friends" with another Zuckerberg sister whom Randi tagged in the photo. That's why the photo showed up in Schweitzer's Facebook feed.
It's not clear what Randi Zuckerberg herself may have learned from her Facebook photo privacy flap, but she apparently feels there's a lesson that others should learn. "Digital etiquette: always ask permission before posting a friend's photo pubicly," she tweeted, according to Forbes. "It's not about privacy settings, it's about human decency."
- Watch Randi Zuckerberg Have a Facebook Freakout Over Her Photo Going Viral (Gizmodo)
- Requesting Greater Facebook Privacy Protection (FindLaw's Technologist)
- Forget About Facebook, Protect Your Google Plus Privacy (FindLaw's Technologist)