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Facebook will launch “drastically simplified” privacy controls tomorrow, the site’s VP of product, Chris Cox, said today at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City. Cox said the Facebook team has had an “intense and humbling couple of weeks” amidst outcry over confusing and invasive privacy controls. But until now — aside from the occasional condescending Q&A and avoiding-the-big-issues op-ed — Facebook has largely kept quiet.
Cox said that he doesn’t believe the fuss over privacy is just an overblown media story. “A lot of people really care [about privacy],” he said. Cox tried to justify Facebook’s reticence on the issue by saying the team didn’t want to just talk about better privacy controls, it wanted to have products to show for its efforts, built with the input of advocacy groups. And tomorrow that will happen, with a wide rollout of new features and descriptions of what they mean for users.
As for upcoming location features, Cox said the company would talk about what it’s doing when it has a product ready for users. “A lot of things on Facebook happen in the context of location,” he said. “In the long run, we’re a platform company. We want something where users can have whatever data they’re interacting with.”
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