Facebook CEO Is Sorry You're So Dumb

Amid mounting criticism over Facebook's privacy practices, CEO Mark Zuckerberg issued a Washington Post op-ed to apologize for his simpleton users' inability to understand Facebook. God, how hard can this be, people?

Following up on his Sunday email to blogger Robert Scoble , Zuckerberg did admit "we... missed the mark." But he was talking, in true computer-geek style, about Facebook's confusing settings panels — not about all the profile data Facebook has intentionally and permanently made public amid its quest for traffic growth, or about its many recent privacy breaches.

Here's what Zuckerberg wrote:

Many of you thought our controls were too complex. Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls; but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark.

No doubt Facebook's privacy controls could use some simplification, as Zuckerberg promises. Our numerous guides to restoring Facebook privacy have racked up loads of traffic and regularly generate a disproportionate number of emails from readers. And the New York Times recently showed in an infographic how Facebook has more than 50 settings with more than 170 options, a bewildering array.

But along with user confusion at Facebook come some very real and very controversial decisions by the company on behalf of its users. For examples, user likes and interests, current city and hometown must now be publicly visible via a "connection." Your friend list and profile picture now are, according to Facebook's recently-revised privacy policy, now public information.

To the concerns over this, Zuckerberg has nothing to say; if anything, he makes it sounds like users are just confused — that sounds familiar — and have as many protections as ever:

We have also heard that some people don't understand how their personal information is used and worry that it is shared in ways they don't want. I'd like to clear that up now. Many people choose to make some of their information visible to everyone so people they know can find them on Facebook. We already offer controls to limit the visibility of that information and we intend to make them even stronger.

We'll see what Zuckerberg means about making privacy controls "stronger." For now, though, it looks like the founder who told Scoble he'd "made a bunch of mistakes" has a very different idea of what those mistakes are than the rest of us do.

(Pic by JD Lasica)