As promised, Facebook is rolling out a new, much simpler way for users to control their privacy settings. With one control, users will now be able to determine who they want to share all of the content on their profile with.
During a demonstration for the media, CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed how a user could select one of three boxes — “everyone,” “friends of friends,” or “friends only” — to designate who has access to all of their info. Users will also be able to easily turn off access to their profile info by third-party apps and websites. At the same time, however, Zuckerberg said the company would retain the more granular controls it introduced in December, which lets users specify who can see individual updates.
The latest changes come as Facebook has been widely criticized over the last month for its approach to privacy. Specifically, users had complained that Facebook — without asking their permission — was sharing their profile information with some third party sites and that certain profile information, such as what pages a person was a fan of, could no longer be kept private. Zuckerberg did not straight out apologize but did say that the company had not communicated recent changes as well “as we could have.”
David adds: Almost an hour into the media call, Zuckerberg sounded more peevish than contrite, arguing that only a small number of people seemed to be complaining. “We have done a lot of studies and we try to make sure that we have an interface that people will understand. More than 15 percent have changed their default settings on Facebook and that suggests we’re doing a good job. But I hope the changes that we make today make that even easier.”
Zuckerberg also denied that advertisers were driving the company’s privacy policies. Instead, he said the company was trying to find a the right balance between letting people both share some information and keep other things private. After all, he said that “a core part of the (Facebook) experience” was being able to look up other people on the site.