Reactions to Facebook Privacy Changes Vary

by Ron on May 27, 2010

Facebook announced the long-awaited privacy setting changes yesterday and will be rolling them out to users over the coming weeks. The biggest news is that they have been simplified (supposedly) and put on one page. That should help. It was a bother moving from page to page to set individual settings, but are these changes really meaningful?

It depends who you ask.

Finally, Facebook is hoping this whole privacy conversation will go away now that they’ve made these changes, but they seem to completely underestimate the undercurrent of anger and frustration in their user base. The fact is that people should control their own data. Yes, it’s all about sharing as Zuckerberg pointed out recently, but it should be up to individuals to decide what they want to share and with whom they want to share it.

Facebook officials seem to think that just because their numbers are still growing, they have nothing to worry about, but I think they’re dead wrong. I believe that they are vulnerable to new, more open social options that respect a user’s privacy and that their business model could be more fragile than their own arrogance and myopia let them believe.

Let’s close with this video from Mashable where Facebook officials speak for themselves. I think their attitude speaks volumes. And by the way, I don’t think this is the end of the privacy conversation. In fact, I think it’s just beginning and Facebook ain’t seen nothing yet.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Christine Pilch May 27, 2010 at 10:19 am

Ideally I would like to see Facebook’s privacy simplified to a basic choice of: Only Friends, Friends of Friends, or everyone, then providing for adjustments at the granular level for those who want to go in and tweak them., which include Only Me and Custom.

I agree, Ron, that this is just beginning, and Facebook is just starting to feel the storm brewing. They know what they’ve done, and they know why people are upset, yet they ignore the fact that they claim user control over data, but they continuously do things that strip away that control from users and make whatever they want public.

At the most basic level, whenever Facebook changes anything, the default should be to Only Friends, never Everyone, as they are opt to do. This is finally coming back to bite them, and their PR spin is not working.

I produced a few videos over the last couple weeks that describe how to change your Facebook privacy settings, and the inplications of ignoring them. This will change, but as of right now, the info is accurate. You can watch them here:

– Christine

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