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...