Facebook’s New Privacy Settings to Launch Today

Last week I commented on Facebook’s new privacy paradigm, which they said would launch “in the next couple of weeks”. Seems that process is starting today. Here is Facebook’s spin:

Facebook Asks More Than 350 Million Users Around the World To Personalize Their Privacy

Setting a new standard in user control, Facebook announced today that it is calling on its more than 350 million users to review and update their privacy settings—a first among major Internet services. In addition, Facebook will be rolling out easy-to-use tools to empower people to personalize control over their information—based on what the content is, why they are sharing it, when, and the audience they seek to reach.

“Facebook is transforming the world’s ability to control its information online by empowering more than 350 million people to personalize the audience for each piece of content they share,” said Elliot Schrage, Vice President of Communications, Public Policy and Marketing. “We’ve always designed Facebook to enable people to control what information they share with whom—it’s the reason our service continues to attract such a broad and diverse group of users from around the world. We’re proud of the latest evolution we’re announcing today and we will continue to innovate to serve users’ changing needs.”

The tools launching today are part of Facebook’s continuing innovation and a response to requests from both users and experts. Different versions of these suggestions were developed and tested extensively since the beginning of this year. The resulting new features include added control for each piece of content users share, simplified privacy settings, help in choosing settings, and expanded privacy education materials.

Again, I do think Facebook should be applauded for taking steps to give users more direct control over each piece of information they choose to share, for attempting to simplify the privacy settings, and for prompting each user to visit and change those settings.

But, again, the devil will be in the details: Will Facebook’s recommendations lean towards more open or more private settings? Will the removal of regional networks mean users will be prompted to share information with everyone? Will the privacy settings actually be easier to use?

I’ll report back once the rollout reaches my account. In the meantime, you can listen to my interview on these topics on today’s episode of the American Public Radio show, Future Tense.

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