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Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg today posted a lengthy communication on Facebook’s blog entitled “Making Control Simple” and the company issued a news release about it ( here.)

He was announcing new changes that are supposed to give users more control over who can see their personal information and activities on Facebook. The changes will be rolled out in the near future, he said.

The social media site, with over 400 million users worldwide, has been criticized for a cavalier attitude about users’ privacy, expanding the list of user information that was public, changing exposures and privacy settings that were nearly impossible to understand.

The two key paragraphs in Zuckerberg’s post appear to be:

“First, we’ve built one simple control to set who can see the content you post. In a couple of clicks, you can set the content you’ve posted to be open to everyone, friends of your friends or just your friends.

“This control will also apply to settings in new products we launch going forward. So if you decide to share your content with friends only, then we will set future settings to friends only as well. This means you won’t have to worry about new settings in the future.”

In a later paragraph Zuckerberg seemed to be trying to close the privacy debate:

“Finally and perhaps most importantly, I am pleased to say that with these changes the overhaul of Facebook’s privacy model is complete.”

Facebook also posted a page “Controlling How You Share” which appears to be the future go-to page for an explanation of Facebook privacy settings.

For those who would like a second opinion of their Facebook settings, this article in the Tech Herald might be interesting: “New tool will check privacy settings on Facebook.”

It’s about the reclaimprivacy.org site which will check your settings and make recommendations. It’s a lot easier to understand than Facebook by a long shot. I thought I had my Facebook privacy settings screwed down pretty well, but it spotted two exposures I hadn’t thought of.

Tom Kelchner

Update:

Zack Whittaker who writes the iGeneration blog for ZDNet, doesn’t think much of the Facebook changes. In his piece “Facebook privacy settings ‘better’; doesn’t undo the damage already done” he wrote:

“If I didn’t face social ostracisation or exclusion, I would have shut down my Facebook profile weeks, if not months ago. These new privacy settings mean jack squat and are only being rolled out to satisfy the press-hungry needs of the wider reading public.”


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