The Washington Times – reports today that the White House is collecting comments and videos posted on its various social media profiles – on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube, Vimeo and Slideshare. Their beef is that the White House is doing this with out informing people that they are saving and archiving the posts.
Of course these are public forums where comments can be seen by pretty much anyone and which are stored and searchable for as long as the Web shall live. Everyone actively participating in social media (by posting comments or videos) ought to understand at this point that in the digital age public comments are public. How is this so complicated to understand?
The article goes on to make the point that if people realize their comments are stored it could have a “chilling effect” on Web users that might want to be critical of the administration. I don’t know, there seem to be plenty of places where Web users can be critical of pretty much anything they want. Conservative groups are quoted repeatedly throughout the article talking about this as a privacy issue. I’m sorry, but if you post and participate in public the expectation of privacy seems pretty silly.