Facebook began the roll-out of its new simplified privacy controls after the backlash it has generated from FB users worldwide–even landing them on the cover of Time magazine. Privacy issues started to crop up when Facebook changed their privacy model from “regional networks”, that revolves around communities for your school, your company or your region, to a model that let’s you share information to your friends, friend of friends, or everyone. The practical change however didn’t include a practical way of setting up privacy controls. FB users are left on their own to dive into the rabbit hole of confusing privacy options and settings.
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg had this to say in his Open Letter last December 2009:
Since this update will remove regional networks and create some new settings, in the next couple of weeks we’ll ask you to review and update your privacy settings. You’ll see a message that will explain the changes and take you to a page where you can update your settings. When you’re finished, we’ll show you a confirmation page so you can make sure you chose the right settings for you. As always, once you’re done you’ll still be able to change your settings whenever you want.
We’ve worked hard to build controls that we think will be better for you, but we also understand that everyone’s needs are different. We’ll suggest settings for you based on your current level of privacy, but the best way for you to find the right settings is to read through all your options and customize them for yourself. I encourage you to do this and consider who you’re sharing with online.
In addition, Facebook also recently launched “Community Pages” that allows users to have personalized and social experiences on external sites, but may also allow those sites more access to their info than what they actually intended–unaware their privacy settings let them opt-in by default.
So hopefully, the new simplified privacy controls will make users more aware of privacy issues and let them be in control of their content and make effective use of the features in Facebook.
Check your privacy settings in the next few weeks for the new features.