Facebook is rolling out changes to its privacy settings. Among the changes - Facebook slashed the number of settings required to make all information private and create one control for user content.
After weeks of controversy, Facebook announced a revamp
of its privacy settings in the name of simplicity.
In a presentation to the media, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined a number of changes designed to make it easier for users
govern how their information is shared on the social network. The
changes will start rolling out today and be available to all
users in the coming weeks.
For starters, Facebook has created one control for content shared with "friends," "friends of friends" or "everyone" that can set a policy
one click. At the same time, Facebook will still allow users to
customize their settings. These settings will appear on a single page
for easier access.
Facebook also has reduced the amount of information always visible
to a user's name, profile picture, gender and networks are still
always visible. Other information such as hometown and activities is
still visible by default. In addition, users can now prevent
others from seeing pages on their profile and from seeing them in the
"People who like this" box on the pages themselves.
Facebook has also sought to make it easier for users to opt out of
the "instant personalization" feature it has been pushing for the past
month, and has given users the power to turn off information
sharing with Facebook Platform applications and third-party Websites.
In all, Facebook reduced the number of settings required to make all
information private from nearly 50 to less than 15. The amount of pages
in the Privacy Center has also been reduced to eight from 13.
According to Facebook, the changes were developed in consultation
with the office of Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who a month ago asked the Federal Trade Commission
to set privacy guidelines for social networks. The site also consulted
a number of privacy and consumer advocacy groups, including the Center
for Democracy and Technology and the Progress and Freedom Foundation
"By giving users powerful new tools to further protect their
privacy, Facebook has employed a potent weapon to deal with marketplace
apprehensions: self-regulation," opined Berin Szoka, senior fellow and
director of the Center for Internet Freedom at PFF. "Government
intervention stands little chance in acting as swiftly or as
effectively to tackle such matters...we should trust that users are
capable of choosing for themselves if given the right tools, and that
companies like Facebook will respond to reputational pressure to
develop, and constantly improve, those tools."