Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

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.

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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

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24 comments
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  • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

    Its not the privacy controls that are the problem, its your Microsoft Windows PC according to one ZDNet blogger. Somehow if you get rid of Microsoft Windows then you won't need privacy controls in facebook. I'm still not sure how that works but that is what blogger is trying to tell us.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

      @Loverock Davidson: Ridiculous! Claiming that the blame for the problems of privacy on Facebook is MICROSOFT WINDOWS, is oversimplifying the issue. We are not talking about security holes in the OS, rather the issue is that if you open a profile on any social site, sailing with any Web browser, and under any operating system, there are exposing data will determine whether or not you protecting your privacy.
      Charly.ar
    • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

      @Loverock Davidson

      troll much? LOL!
      rebel_angel_@...
  • If you are still required to Opt out they have not fixed ....

    anything and I will be deleting my account.
    mrlinux
    • Agreed

      @mrlinux

      Changing the way things are presented, trying to simplify, are just window dressing.... [b]Opt in, not Opt out.[/b] Anything other than that, I don't want to hear about it.
      Badgered
    • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

      @mrlinux <br>I thought being part of "SafeHarbor" meant the default action was Opt-Out, I need to rechceck that inference. The issue within the US, and the mentality of many companies, believe that personal information privacy is a "Privilege" not a "Right" as-is the case in Europe.<br><br>In any case I read their privacy policy the first day and again a few days ago, I am not convinced this company and many others like it (Google for example) are doing enough to protect the data and namely this stems from simply being too large to manage. Take the banking disaster for example, too big to fail... now what? Facebook has encroached on this principle that if they fail to any degree in their security policies then hundreds of millions of people are potentially at risk and don't think identity thieves are not trying, that sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. Through data aggregation and cross-reference it is surprising how easy it is to steal a persons identity, Google and other searhc providers, including ZabaSearch, has helped make this step quite a bit easier.<br><br>I can only suggest not to use such ridiculous sites and get a real life, and a real social networking application that does not house all your information at the mercy of a beta-happy developer.
      ryanstrassburg
      • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

        @ryanstrassburg

        That's not a real option; I am on the web 17 hours a day for years and I still haven't found a real life yet...
        eric.jernigan
    • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

      @mrlinux <br>Facebook is part of SafeHarbor, SafeHarbor requirements for Choice states:<br><br>Choice<br><br>Organizations must give individuals the opportunity to choose (opt out) whether their personal information will be disclosed to a third party or used for a purpose incompatible with the purpose for which it was originally collected or subsequently authorized by the individual. For sensitive information, affirmative or explicit (opt in) choice must be given if the information is to be disclosed to a third party or used for a purpose other than its original purpose or the purpose authorized subsequently by the individual.<br><br>So basically it seems if you opted out for advertising, prior to recent changes, then it would seem they are in direct violation of this.
      ryanstrassburg
  • Privacy, schmivacy

    Expectations of privacy have changed faster than ever before over the last, oh, five or so years. Have you noticed? Not many years ago, very few Americans would consider making public their personal information. Any of it. True, the technology didn't yet exist to hook up and catch up casually in near-realtime with hordes of long lost friends, schoolmates, and strangers around the world. Now that it does exist, many thousands, nay millions, have been quick to cast off virtually all restraint in the rush to build a network, to see and be seen, and to party away with abandon. And, in general, the younger the person, the more inclined he or she is to put it all out there. These days we see identity theft rising faster than ever before, and--surprise!--it's rising fastest among persons in their twenties. "Privacy controls! We must have privacy controls!" we all cry, and rightly so. Trouble is, we can't really have it both ways, IMO. If we want to make it easy for lots of people to locate us and link up with us, AND we want our identities protected from theft/misuse--and our online misbehavior hidden from prying eyes, some compromises must be made. I don't think we can simply lay most or all of the blame/responsibility at the feet of Zuckerberg et al., and all their ilk, and be done with this. Each of us who plays must accept some responsibility for the information we share and the ways we share it. Or perhaps you, Gentle Reader, have a simple solution to all this?
    bill.long@...
    • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

      @bill.long@... "Not many years ago, very few Americans would consider making public their personal information. Any of it."

      Sure. Then along came a generation of coddled, do-nothing "early adopters" who were given expensive technology, the time to play with it, and left alone by their parents before they were old enough to know what privacy was or the consequences.

      To say that expectations of privacy have changed is inaccurate... there are no expectations of privacy by the current generations, and - too late - they find out that their photos of mooning the camera or sexting their buddies ends up in their employment portfolio.

      Who is/was monitoring the kids? Why do even little kids nowadays HAVE TO have cellphones, laptops and advanced technology even they can hardly understand? Why are schools banning cellphones from the school grounds?

      IMHO it comes back to irresponsible (or absent parenting). The last "ME" generation has raised the next "ME-FIRST" generation - and given them so much STUFF they think that's the base-line and they are unhappy with it.

      Privacy? Let them eat cake...
      bimjim2
      • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

        @bimjim2 <br>I cannot speak for every parent but I can speak for myself and the fact that I use various tools, including Microsoft Family Safety, to help manage my daughter using the internet to any capacity. The most she gets is Messenger and can only recieve messages fro people I authorize, same with email, and web access is limited to "Child approved" sites or site I add to the accessible list.<br><br>I have also had numeroustalks with my daughter about information she should never give out, why that information should never be given out, and continue to test her to the extent that she fully understands why. Further to this if I catch her attempting to bypass or otherwise udermine these security measures I lockdown everything and the computer gets taken away indefinately, to date this has not had to happen.<br><br>You are right, there are a lot of parents who do not take the time to be active in what their child is doing. Technology is most certainly not the problem, it is the lacking education of the technology, the true potential, and how to use it responsibly. It is rather unfortunate that in these times many children are being led blindly into danger, with no idea how much danger potential there is.

        Education, education, education... Internet is *NOT* a right, it *IS* a privelege, and privleges come with responsibility. The more parents can adhere to that principle the safer their children will be.
        ryanstrassburg
    • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

      @bill.long@... <br><br>The issue isn't the balance of being able to TMI 24X7 with privacy. The issue is a company that has abused the trust of its users over time to exploit their information simultaneously. It was never made clear (to the early adopter) that this would be a risk to balance. It was billed as a benefit with not consequences to consider. People are sucked into these websites and are only now coming to realize that their trust was misplaced and can't be recovered.<br><br>Just like Bernie Maydoff (or how ever you spell that jerk's name...) people were suckered into buying into a perceived benefit while being exploited without conscience. The returns perhaps should have tipped the Maydoff victims off. Perhaps the users of Facebook should ask what are the risks they accept when they give their personal information to a company whose best interest is to exploit the user's personal information. <br><br>Don't blame the victims, people! Don't shrug off your right to privacy. Friends don't Facebook friends.
      eric.jernigan
  • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

    Tuff luck for FB bashing pencil-pushing legion.
    No more plugolas for their "spontaneous" reaction...
    I still wonder, who/is was behind this "spur-of-the-moment outrage" of concerned "journalists"?
    My bet is still on AOL - sort of vendetta for BeBo floating belly up.
    shame gents ... shame
    jp7691@...
  • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

    Personally, I like the "granular" controls. I'd like to see them offer a choice where it says "Simple", "More Options" and "Totally Granular" or "Fine Tuning." People like me would opt for fine tuning. I'm glad they'll let me keep it. I'd like to be able to do things like easily let some people write on my wall, some not, or "everyone except" (list or name). I think that's a granular setting I had not set before they took it away, and now I can't set it.
    coachandrew
  • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

    I want a way to dump everything and start with a new clean fresh window everytime i log on. Dump all history and entires. Leave nothing behind, ever.
    vger_z
  • Zuckerberg Playing Shell Game With Privacy Issues

    If Facebook members fall for this line of B.S. they deserve to have their privacy invaded. All he's done is add "STOOPID" controls to a system any three year old should be able to operate. My Facebook friends and I are all opening new Facebook accounts using bogus information for Facebook's records and a throw away email account for communication within the world of Facebook. Any linked out profile information is also phony. If more people take these precautions when joining Facebook it won't be long until whomever is buying Facebook's private database information starts to scream. Maybe THEN we'll see some meaningful changes
    materva
    • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

      @materva AMEN to THAT!!!
      irishreign
  • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

    Just how dense IS Zuckerberg???? It's NOT the complexity...we are not dunces...It is forcing people to OPT OUT of privacy issues instead of ALLOWING them to OPT IN!!!!! Dear God in Heaven...how on earth did he get this far???
    irishreign
  • Opt me in for the Niche community

    ...sigh FB was a total gimmick anyways and it been overrun by advertisers waving dollars at the people who own facebook and now the advertisers run facebook and since the "media" got ahold of facebook and twitter its like a geek can't find any safe harbor to connect with friends and oh yeah those damn tweenie boppers...<br><br>The future is in Niche communities anyways and thank goodness Im having a hand in developing one of those for the disabled community. We have learned alot from facebook, twitter and myspace's mistakes and wont be making them in our community<br><br>and oh yeah OPT IN not OPT OUt should be the rule
    KineticArtist
  • RE: Facebook launches simplified privacy controls

    @ryanstrassburg Nowadays the "culture" is based on tech at such level that internet is rissing our kids.

    It's easier to give our kids a laptop than spending 30-40 mins with them at dinner.... Most parents gets to know about their kids THROUGH THEIR ONLINE PROFILES, sounds familiar to any1?.

    Im not a parent my self, but I even "put a price" to my brothers and sister for the use of the internet (I request them to LEARN something productive each month), not everything is a game and internet is a concern when you live in a society full of corruption or terrorism.

    In a society where you teach kids to be "Kewl" your lack of real familly values is causing all of this.

    Facebook is responsible for providing us somehow with the necesary tools to protect your self from others, but how can they protect you FROM YOU???..

    Don't wanna be at risk?.. dont be so open..

    And lastly, raise up your hands if you've read EVERY T.O.S OF EVERY SERVICE U'VE AQUIRED!

    We did this, we are responsible for this from the moment on we decided to scroll down the T.O.S and clic [I ACCEPT]...
    lbaltodano