“Reddit came out in opposition to CISPA because, even though we don’t collect much user data, we need our user trust or we lose the community,” Ohanian explains. “The community generates all the value, as on all user-generated websites. Likewise, if Facebook continues making bad decisions that jeopardize the trust of its users, they’re always a few keystrokes away from leaving.”
But does the average Facebook user really understand or care about these issues? For all its privacy missteps, users remain loyal to Facebook.
“We saw over 24 million people come out against SOPA/PIPA to stand for Internet freedom,” says Ohanian. “People clearly care about their online rights just like their offline rights.” To be fair, this groundswell of opposition only came to a head when giant Internet entities like Google and Wikipedia — whose models were directly threatened by SOPA — went dark in protest. But users did rally around the cause, even if they weren’t aware of it beforehand.
“But even more basic than bad legislation like CISPA, my dad cares when he watches a video on Facebook and doesn’t realize it’s been shared with every one of his friends,” says Ohanian, referring to Facebook’s advent of “frictionless sharing” apps, which connect to your account and automatically broadcast articles you read, videos you watch and songs you listen to.
“I don’t think it’s moral high ground, I think it’s user experience that will win the day,” says Ohanian.
So, what do you think?