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Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Promises Simpler Privacy Controls

Gordon Kelly


Facebook CEO Zuckerberg Promises Simpler Privacy Controls

A master password, sharing passwords with third parties and advertisers - yes Facebook has a lot of explaining to do...

Following a leaked email in which CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted "we've made a bunch of mistakes", the Facebook founder has now stepped forward to give an official statement regarding the state of its privacy controls and to offer a full apology.

"Sometimes we move too fast — and after listening to recent concerns, we’re responding," he explained. "The biggest message we have heard recently is that people want easier control over their information. Simply put, many of you thought our controls were too complex. Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls; but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark."

Zuckerberg isn't wrong as the diagram above maps out the tangled mess the social networking site's privacy controls have become.

"We have heard the feedback," he continued. "There needs to be a simpler way to control your information. In the coming weeks, we will add privacy controls that are much simpler to use. We will also give you an easy way to turn off all third-party services. We are working hard to make these changes available as soon as possible. We hope you’ll be pleased with the result of our work and, as always, we’ll be eager to get your feedback."

Quite frankly the situation can't get much worse, but they say admitting you have a problem is the first step towards fixing it. The wider impact will be whether users' trust can ever be fully restored. Then again, with over 400m members and rivals like MySpace and Bebo crumbling around it, Facebook remains in a uniquely powerful position...

Link: Facebook


May 24, 2010, 7:25 pm

I'm pretty sure they will have known that they were 'missing the mark' while they were selling your data and allowing it to be accessed by a metaphorical 'everything and everyone', and that they are only sorry that they got caught.


May 24, 2010, 8:30 pm

Every time a change has been made to their privacy settings, they have defaulted to the lowest settings possible so that everything is visible to everyone, rather than the other way around. And it takes about 10 minutes to set them all back again (if you know what you're doing and where to find it all).

I am glad I deleted my account - I just hope my data went with it.


May 24, 2010, 8:40 pm

More like testing the water and seeing how far they could get away with it. Just as when they tried to target adverts towards their users with information pooled from their personal data. They've had to take action when even a dusty old blinkered relic like The New York Times takes issue with it.

The sad fact remains for Facebook that despite having over 400 million users it still can't make any decent money of them. And certainly nothing to justify it's ludicrous valuation.


May 24, 2010, 10:42 pm

@ffrankmccaffery - I don't see the appeal of Facebook to be honest - the number of people who seem to spend their lives on Facebook astounds me. That having been said, they are a valuable resource - the amount of data the Facebook has on these people is, frankly, disturbing, and they are starting to monetise it in quite sinister ways. They effectively have a vast, willing network of drones forking over personal information hand over fist and actively helping Facebook to filter that information. As a crude example, the Facebook "Like" function acts as a human filter for content on a scale Digg could never have imagined.

Clearly the $15bn valuation that was being kicked around not so long ago is at best hugely speculative and at worst totally absurd for a company that has only recently turned cashflow positive. The fact is, though, if Facebook was publicly offered tomorrow it would rake in billions in share subscriptions before people realised it wasn't going to return on their investment and the share price went through the floor. Zuckerberg could walk away with a couple of billion, easily (Wikipedia puts his net worth at $4bn). Not bad for 26 years old.


May 25, 2010, 10:49 pm

@ John McLean: I can time the bowel movements of over half the people I have on my profile with the amount of useless information they write on their 'walls'. However it's a reliable way of staying in touch with friends who have either moved to a different town or country or have simply changed their number for the umpteenth time.

ITV have sold of Friends Reunited at a loss of a £150m, AOL are winding down their Bebo site after buying it for $850m two years ago and Rupert Murdoch is struggling to make a return on his $580m investment in MySpace. But still as you say there are plenty of idiots willing to ignore such cases as above and bid for a site such as Facebook.

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