Facebook Capitulates To User Demands

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been forced to eat some humble pie after being slammed by Facebook users for the social networking's website's privacy settings – or lack thereof – and has now released a new set of controls so peoples' details will be more secure.

In a press release today, the company said, in part “Facebook today responded to user comments and concerns about privacy by announcing it will introduce simpler and more powerful controls for sharing personal information. New settings will give the more than 400 million people who use Facebook the power to control exactly who can see the information and content they share, all with just a few simple clicks,” which is what most people wanted in the first place anyway.

However, whether Zuckerberg is openly admitting he was wrong is another thing altogether as the company goes into damage control, but at the same time still trying to justify its previous stand. "When we started Facebook, we built it around a few simple ideas," said Zuckerberg.  "When people have control over what they share, they want to share more.  When people share more, the world becomes more open and connected. Over the past few weeks, the number one thing we've heard is that many users want a simpler way to control their information. Today we're starting to roll out changes that will make our controls simpler and easier."

So what can you now do? Here's a list:

  • One control for content: A new control makes it easy to share on Facebook with friends, friends of friends or everyone—with one click. The corresponding settings are immediately applied and displayed in an easy-to-understand grid. At the same time, Facebook has maintained its more granular settings for those who want to customize their level of sharing. These settings now all appear on a single page for easier access.
  • Retroactive control: People who choose the more restrictive "Friends Only" or "Friends of Friends" options with the simple control will have the corresponding setting for all the content they posted previously for sharing. Thus, a person can make all the content they've ever shared on Facebook more private with just a couple of clicks.
  • Future products: Facebook commits to carry over people's privacy choices for new products that facilitate sharing. Thus, if someone chooses "Friends Only" for "Sharing on Facebook," new products that have privacy settings will be automatically set to "Friends Only." This means Facebook users don't have to worry about new settings in the future. ·
  • Prioritising simplicity: Granularity of control has always been a primary objective in Facebook's privacy design. Starting with the changes announced today, the company will also prioritize ease-of-use in its privacy design.
  • Fewer privacy changes: Facebook's goal is to make privacy-related changes with less frequency and to work within the framework announced today as it continues to innovate new features and products.
  • Significantly less public information: Facebook has drastically reduced the amount of information that is available to everyone. This information is now limited to name, profile picture (should a user choose to have one), gender (though this can be hidden on the profile), and networks (should the user join any). 
  • Privacy controls for Pages: Connections to Pages, which were previously available to everyone, will have privacy settings that work for both ends of the connection. People can prevent others from seeing Pages on their profile and from seeing them in the "People who like this" boxes on the Pages themselves. Applications will also need to ask for explicit permission in order to access any of your Pages that are not visible to everyone.
  • Full control over how applications and websites on Facebook Platform access information: In response to requests, Facebook has added a simple way for people to completely turn off Platform applications and websites, so that your information is not shared with applications, even information available to everyone.
  • Easier opt-out of Instant Personalization Pilot Program: Facebook has also made it easier for people to turn off the instant personalization program, which prevents those, and any future, applications in the program from accessing their information.
  • Granular data permissions for applications and websites: Facebook also highlighted the new controls users have over information shared with applications and websites on Facebook Platform. With the new data permissions model, applications must obtain specific approval before gaining access to any personal information that a user has not made available to "Everyone."


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