Warner, co-founder of the business networking site, says Facebook made an error of judgement and was too focused on what it wanted as a company as opposed to what its members wanted.
“Distrust of the site will continue," he warns. "The bottom line is that people got used to being able to provide information online but take it off when they wanted. Facebook decided they wanted that information.” Facebook caused outrage when it removed a clause two weeks ago, without consultation, allowing users to permanently delete any uploaded content. The site also gave itself the right to use this material for what it called “public performances”.
Warner believes Facebook may have wanted the information for data protection purposes: “I think Facebook must have thought, misguided as it was, that it was the right thing to do. If people are using Facebook as a means of communication, the site would have been able to go back through that data if necessary and give it to the relevant authorities.”
He warns that issues around content on the web are here to stay. “There is an enormous amount of interest in social networking right now," Warner says. "We like the idea of it being transparent and free communication but it comes at a cost because there aren’t any real regulations around it.”