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Facebook Unveils Simplified Privacy Settings

Gordon Kelly


Facebook Unveils Simplified Privacy Settings

Facebook privacy settings are one of the most consistently controversial topics we cover, so will this finally bring some calm?

Following failed privacy initiatives and controversies about master passwords and sending advertisers user data Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has unveiled the social networking giant's biggest privacy overhaul to date. In typical Facebook-style Zuckerberg has penned a verbose 1,200 word blog post about the changes and the site's drive towards simplicity. Thankfully we can cut this waffle down to three key points:

1. One simple master control

The main privacy screen (above) will allows general settings to be applied across all elements of your Facebook account from wall posts to status updates and app access. One click can set these to 'Everyone', 'Friends of Friends', 'Friends Only' or 'Recommended' - Facebook's own personal suggestions about which I suspect many will be highly sceptical. For those who prefer to dig deep, each setting can be adjusted if you wish.

2. A reduction in mandatory shared information

Until now Facebook forced all users to share their lists of friends and pages. These can now also be removed from public view.

3. Cutting of application & website access to your information

For those not interested in Facebook's mountain of time vampire apps such as Farmville and the dreaded Mafia Wars and LivingSocial the option has now been introduced to kill them completely. A single click will cancel all information shared with these horrendous things and rid your email of their spam. Delightful.

"Of course we'll continue responding to your feedback and making things simpler," concluded Zuckerberg, "But after our recent changes we're now done migrating away from the old network-based privacy model."

The new privacy settings will be rolled out incrementally "over the next few weeks" and a new privacy page guide (link below) has been setup. Have Zuckerberg and Facebook done enough? I suspect complaints will keep coming, but it's a positive step towards solving a problem which really should have been dealt with long ago...


Zuckerberg Blog Post

Facebook New Privacy Page

Geoff Richards

May 27, 2010, 11:39 am

I had an interesting experience yesterday. After refreshing my Wall, a pop-up said they'd changed a policy and it wanted to convert all the personal information on my profile into Pages.

For example, under Likes I have the Australian author Matthew Reilly, and instead of plain text it now links to his Fan Page, and displays a small thumbnail of him. However, it wanted to hyperlink my Education History, and create new "pages" based on every line of my Employment History.

When I decided Facebook didn't require a Page for "Publishing Manager, TrustedReviews.com", and I used the handy Unselect All box, Facebook explained the only option was for it to remove all of this information from my Profile. So I agreed and it did.

Strange that it was a bit all-or-nothing: create dozens of unnecessary new Pages and hyperlink every single area of your personal details, or strip it bare. Given the recent issues with privacy, I'm not sure I'm that sad about the latter (though I imagine FB are still storing it, just not showing it).


May 27, 2010, 12:42 pm

It's worse than that, Geoff, those new Pages links are public and searchable by default regardless of previous privacy settings...


May 27, 2010, 3:26 pm

"Untick any Page you don't want to link to. Linking to education and work Pages may also create additional Pages, such as for your degree subject or job title. If you don't link to any Pages, these sections on your profile will be empty. By linking your Profile to Pages, you will be making these connections public."


That's MAD.

Make your data public or you can't have it!!


May 27, 2010, 4:16 pm

@Geoff: Went through precisely the same thing and was "Royally Pissed Off" to put it one way...

Should have followed someone's advice a couple of weeks ago when they said I should copy all the "interests" fields etc. into my 'Bio' field.

Can't be arsed now. My game collection is listed on PlayFire and I can probably find somewhere else for Movies later. Facebook's even getting on my normally tolerant tits.

P.S. Books are on Goodreads.com

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