Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

Summary:Facebook rolled out its simplified privacy controls and CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that settings have been too complex. Facebook also detailed privacy policy changes.

Facebook on Wednesday rolled out its simplified privacy controls and CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that settings have been too complex. Facebook also detailed privacy policy changes.

Facebook users will get all of these changes in a home page message. Facebook is trying to walk the line between frequent feature updates while keeping privacy settings and the ability to change them relatively static. Facebook has lost some trust as privacy setting change as often features do. Frankly, it's hard to keep up with. Facebook hopes to end the privacy overhaul with the latest changes. "The lesson here is not to mess with the privacy changes for a long time," said Zuckerberg.

Post game analysis: Mark Zuckerberg's mission: Decouple Facebook features from privacy settings

"We've made a lot of changes over time that have been disruptive," said Zuckerberg on the conference call with reporters. "The key here is that we always listen to what people say and the data." The more simple controls are based on feedback from users since f8. Zuckerberg said users appear to be more concerned about Facebook charging than privacy. His anecdote wasn't to diminish the privacy flap---even though it did, but Zuckerberg did say Facebook saw no meaningful deactivation rush.

In a blog post, Zuckerberg reiterated:

I am pleased to say that with these changes the overhaul of Facebook's privacy model is complete. If you find these changes helpful, then we plan to keep this privacy framework for a long time. That means you won't need to worry about changes. (Believe me, we're probably happier about this than you are.)

Zuckerberg's talk was interesting. On the one hand, he was saying that Facebook cared about the trust issues. On the other side, Zuckerberg made no apologies about pushing the privacy envelope. His talk is ongoing and there are other nuggets of information on Facebook's developer blog and CNet News' live coverage.

None of these privacy changes are default. In a nutshell, Facebook is promising the following:

  • One simple control that sets privacy to friends, everyone or friends of friends;
  • The control applies to all content;
  • And the control plays to every new Facebook feature going forward.

"A lot of people like the granular control, but we're not going to take them away," said Zuckerberg. The idea is that with a click you can set your privacy settings.

Facebook is also changing its basic directory information. With all the changes you'll get a message on your Facebook page to reset them. "We've removed all of the connections settings that confused people," said Zuckerberg.

Facebook is also changing the way it handles platform sharing. This is in response to the changes announced at F8 that caused all the hubbub in the first place. You're still opting out from the looks of things.

Topics: Security, Social Enterprise


Larry Dignan is Editor in Chief of ZDNet and SmartPlanet as well as Editorial Director of ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic. He was most recently Executive Editor of News and Blogs at ZDNet. Prior to that he was executive news editor at eWeek and news editor at Baseline. He also served as the East Coast news editor and finance editor at CN... Full Bio

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