Facebook’s new privacy discussion thread

We had a series of posts a few weeks ago about Facebook’s failings in the realm of user privacy.

Our posts (and your trackbacks and retweets) were but a few in a sea of outspoken discontent. It doesn’t matter how small our contribution was because you and I, dear reader, played a role in the protests. We protested, we stated our boundaries and guess what; they listened!

The result of this is that Facebook are currently rolling out new privacy settings. That means that you should review them to see that they are doing what you want them to be doing.

My account has not been updated yet so I really can’t discuss it much, however some of your accounts will have been reached by the rollout so far. Given that we discussed the badness so much, it’s only fair that we now give you a place to discuss the new changes and collaborate and discover the new settings.

The EFF has stayed true to form and they have already pulled together an article, complete with a video tour. Further links and discussion of the settings in  infinitesimal detail are most welcome.

Commenting note: I will not be allowing comments that try to persuade people to delete their Facebook accounts. People who still have them, have them because they want or in many cases need them. It is their decision, and it is theirs alone. Please respect that.

5 thoughts on “Facebook’s new privacy discussion thread

  1. Melinda

    I’m not that thrilled with the announcement. It sounds as if the policies are remaining the same – that there is information that you simply cannot keep private. Improving the user interface is nice but I don’t think it’s the core problem.

    1. Jon Niehof

      It doesn’t sound like a big change to me, either. “Your friend list is always available to applications and your connections to friends may be visible elsewhere.” Even if I disable applications? What exactly is included in “elsewhere”?

      The description of features, intended features, and implemented features have been disjoint for awhile, particularly considering the rather serious bugs that came to light in the past couple of weeks.

      Adding the all-out (or at least apparently all-out) blocks for Apps and Instant Personalisation is probably just enough to quiet a significant fraction of the discontent, though.

  2. A.Y. Siu

    While I will admit the privacy settings were too involved for most users, that’s not the real issue. Yes, there should be simple settings for those who want it simple and advanced settings for those who want to fine-tune things. But the main issue I have with Facebook is the whole opt-out approach. You shouldn’t have settings changed for you without your permission, which you then have to hunt down and change back. Every change should be opt-in.

    Some people want things public. Some people want things private. Most people want something in between. But nobody wants changes to be implemented without their permission.

  3. Timm!

    It might be a good idea to post a link to the EFF page in your profiles to spread the word and help people understand what their options are.

  4. @thorfi

    From what I can see, there’s not any serious change in what is and isn’t controllable (except for the new “drop all applications” button), but the interface looks somewhat less confusing, and somewhat easier to use. Still not great, but it’s an improvement.

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