Facebook is rolling out new privacy controls today that for the first time let users specify their content as being viewable to “friends, friends of your friends, or everyone.” The aim: Make the social network’s privacy settings more straightforward. But it turns out that Facebook’s ‘Transition tool’ — which prompts members to review their settings — suggests by default that most users make many of their updates, including the posts they create and their “about me” information, available to “everyone.”
That’s raising eyebrows among privacy advocates. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, for instance, posted a blog post today, calling it a “worrisome development that will likely cause a major shift in privacy level for most of Facebook’s users, whether intentionally or inadvertently.” It also notes that users will no longer be able to restrict access to some basic information — like what pages they are fans of — and will also have less control over what information about them is shared via the Facebook API. Remains to be seen how Facebook users who have been notoriously averse to change will react. While it may seem far fetched that advocacy groups could fuel a member revolt, that’s exactly what happened with Facebook’s controversial Beacon advertising program, which was first questioned by MoveOn.org.
Facebook, meanwhile, which wants to get more people to share their updates, has been extra-careful to slowly usher in the changes. They were first announced in July and last week, after weeks of tests, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said they were about to go into effect.”