It's been a few weeks since the last round of viral “copyright” notices went around Facebook. You know these, where people assert that they have the right to control their information they loaded on Facebook's servers, using Facebook's site, while talking to their friends using Facebook's network. LIke the Instagram controversy, this shows that ordinary users are concerned about their privacy. That they don't want these large companies using their data without some sort explicit permission. (Sadly most of them don't know that they already gave that permission when they agreed to the Terms and Conditions and signed up for their account.) Techdirt points out that this is an odd phenomena, as the Senate renewed the government's right to use these networks, to spy on the American people.
This was a reaction to the vote to renew the FISA amendments and continue the expanded wiretapping privileges enacted after September 11th. It is probably a correct assumption that people spend more time involved with their favorite social networks than they do with the US Government, but Facebook taking too many liberties with your data means someone else can create a new network. Many of these governmental powers are enacted in heavy secrecy, meaning even informed citizens have little idea what's actually going on.
It would be easy to do what likely many of you are already doing, and assume that this is some sign that people care less about their privacy, and are being distracted by things like Facebook to important issues. This isn't the right way to think about this issue. In fact, this is a sign that the hyper partisan media isn't covering issues in a way that engages people. The narrative of the debt ceiling/fiscal cliff debate and Obama vs. Boehner fits the way the current media see the world, but it does a disservice when real issues are ignored. If you can connect people to the idea that they've agreed to let Facebook use their data with the same thoughtlessness they've let Congress spy on us, they might connect that a bit of fine print is necessary.