By PETER WYLIE, special to LTW

Editor’s note: Local Tech Wire asked Peter Wylie for his reaction to Facebook’s changes in privacy policy this week. Wylie is a researcher at , a social media marketing company in Raleigh, N.C. He was previously an editor for an online business journalism company in Washington, D.C.

RALEIGH, N.C. – founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a Washington Post op-ed earlier this week that the company “missed the mark” when it came to its recent changes in its privacy settings.

Just in time for on May 31, the social media giant has revised its privacy settings to make them easier to operate and understand.

Though this recent criticism is some of the most vehement to date, backlash about Facebook’s privacy settings and overall treatment of personal information is nothing new. Sen. Chuck Schumer has called on the Federal Trade Commission to regulate Facebook’s use of privacy, and 15 privacy groups have filed a complaint against Facebook with the F.T.C., according to a recent New York Times blog post.

Facebook also faced intense criticism about the use of personal information in 2007 when it released its Beacon advertising product, which allowed advertisers to suggest items to users based on the purchasing activity of their friends.

Facebook’s response to that criticism—and the disparity between the short-term and long-term response of the Facebook user community to Facebook’s actions—gives great insight into the likely outcome of this round of privacy concerns and public outcries.

Over its six-year history, Facebook has gained more and more personal information from more and more people. That trend will not abate just because of this round of privacy complaints. The fact is, Facebook realizes its users have short attention spans.

When Beacon’s launch was met with fierce criticism, Facebook suspended it, only to launch the basic concept again with 90 percent of the personal data usage piece intact a month later as “Open Graph”.

The concepts that Facebook has dialed back after this round of privacy complaints will be back in short order, because management realizes that initial backlash has nothing to do with long-term growth prospects.

All of the privacy concerns about Facebook to date have not slowed its growth trajectory one iota. They actually just raise the public consciousness about the service. If Facebook wants to become a $200 billion company, rather than a $20 billion company (and rest assured they do), they will have to expand revenue generation beyond Web 1.0 advertising models of display and CPC [cost per click].

They will do this by using personal data, and if the past is any indicator, public backlash won’t cause any major long-term course corrections.

The fact of the matter is, Facebook is getting more pervasive, and its users will have to vote en masse to cease using the service before its Frontier Thesis of personal data gets amended. I simply wouldn’t count on Facebook reducing the amount of personal data they capture and use until their user growth slows.

Get the latest news alerts: at Twitter.