Facebook this week announced a major revamp to its privacy settings (Photo Gallery) as well as a few new related features. The overall consensus is that this is a step forward, but security experts still have mixed feelings.
ESET, a Slovakian IT security company, declared that the changes were positive. The company particularly underlined that they were good for Facebook's average user who is clueless when it comes to privacy settings.
"This sort of movement is positive for us security types, well, at least making security choices simpler, the kind of thing my mom may understand and (hopefully) use, maybe even without me explaining it," an ESET spokesperson said in a statement. "They also say they'll be listening for feedback from the user base following the rollout, and being responsive, so it'll be nice to see a proactive stance. Keeping things secure is a continually moving target, so it's nice to nice to see efforts in that direction from Facebook. These changes will be hitting the streets in the next few days, so keep an eye out. It also might be a good idea to notify your friends that they can no longer threaten you with posting tagged photos of situations you can't entirely remember, which can't really be considered career-builders."
Sophos, an English vendor of security software and hardware, also thought the improvements were solid, but believes that Facebook could do more. The company insists that the social networking giant needs to take even more initiative.
"Facebook, unfortunately, has time and time again eroded privacy introducing new features which share additional information about their users, assuming they want the features turned on," a Sophos spokesperson said in a statement. "In other words, the onus has been on users to keep a close eye on what Facebook is up to, and OPT-OUT when the firm introduces something they may not want to happen to their personal information. Although I'm pleased to see what appears to be Facebook simplifying its privacy settings, and making them more visible, it has missed an opportunity to lead the way on privacy. Facebook should become truly opt-in. Not just on the basis that a new user opts in altogether by joining Facebook in the first place, but on the basis that everything is locked down until a new user opens up each feature. Facebook should not wait until the regulators in the world's developed economies start legislating to make it do a better job. If they took the lead, people would love them all the more in the end."
Facebook started pushing out the changes yesterday but most users likely won't see them on their accounts for a few weeks.