Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has blamed Google’s reactiveness to privacy concerns for negotiations between the two companies breaking down, pushing the social site into the arms of Microsoft’s rival Bing engine. “Microsoft was more willing to do things that were specific to Facebook” Zuckerberg said at the launch of Facebook Graph Search yesterday, the Guardian reports, citing the speed and willingness to remove personal content that had previously been public, but which Facebook users subsequently made private, as key to the deal.
“I think the main thing is about when people share something on Facebook, we want to give them not only the ability to broadcast something out but also change their privacy settings later and take the content down” Zuckerberg explained. “That requires incredibly quick updating … We need that content to be gone immediately … You need infrastructure that can support that and that takes a lot of commitment from the partner.”
Zuckerberg’s concern appears to be sudden changes – such as where people realize they want to alter the granular privacy settings on photos or other content – and the possibility that public searching could continue to turn up results that users might not want included. Facebook has been criticized in the past for confusing privacy controls as well as taking perceived liberties with user-data, and this reluctance to compromise on indexing accuracy appears to be a move by the social site to avoid any complaints further down the line that relate to speed of indexing.
“Google has a system that works really well for them about how they treat information across their company,” Zuckerberg said, “and I think that our system was different in ways that people share information and want to give them flexibility after the fact – that was the biggest stumbling block.”
Despite the Facebook CEO’s explanations, insiders within the company claim that there were no renewed negotiations between it and Google prior to Graph Search’s development. Instead, he is supposedly referring to earlier talks, which broke down when the two companies disagreed over exporting and ownership of personal data.
There’s more on Facebook Graph Search in our full run-down of the service.