Facebook Announces Privacy Changes

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Facebook has been under heavy fire in the media lately about their privacy settings. Facebook’s privacy settings were too complex for the average user and everything was made public by default. Facebook users declared May 31st as “National Delete Your Facebook Day.” Just 5 days before that date, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a new set of simplified privacy controls that he hopes will make it simpler for users to control who sees what information.

The biggest change is that all of the privacy settings are on a single page that can control how you choose to allow your information on Facebook to be visible. You can customize what information you want exposed to just friends, friends of friends, or everyone on the internet. With the old privacy settings you had to navigate through several pages to modify these settings.

The second page deals with search options: It lets you select what you want to be searchable on the internet for other people to be able to find you. The search setting is set to everyone by default, otherwise people would not be able to find you.

The 3rd page deals with platform, application settings, and Instant Personalization settings. A lot of people were concerned with Instant Personalization when it was released. By default it is on, and before it wasn’t clear how to opt out of it. Instant Personalization shares general information with certain partners of its choosing. This includes you and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, connections, and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. It is still on by default, which is one of the major upsets in the first place, but Facebook has made it easier to opt out now with the new settings.

Facebook wants to make sure that this time, unlike in the past when privacy changes have been made that it is communicated more clearly. The privacy guide has been updated with the new settings. Facebook also plans on putting a message at top of peoples’ homepage that links to the new guide so people understand the changes hopefully more clearly this time. This roll out of privacy change will happen over the next week or so. The new settings do look simpler, but I think the one mistake they are making is that you have to still opt out of certain things such as Instant Personalization instead of it being turned off by default.

In the next week or so I will be releasing a detailed guide on the new privacy settings explaining all of them so you can ensure the information you want private on Facebook will indeed be private.

Tim Martin is a Technology specialist, who gives us insights into the technology and software that helps us to get through our day. Technology is everywhere, an increasingly pervasive part of our lives. Tim helps us make sense of it in many ways.