general coverage, criticism, and issues
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has changed the privacy settings on his personal page to open it up to friends of friends. This means that hundreds of his photographs and status updates are now visible to a very wide audience. Before the switch, only minimal information about Mr Zuckerberg was available via Facebook. The change comes as Facebook faces criticism for big changes to the way members manage their use of the site. Roll back On 9 December Facebook announced the changes to privacy settings via a pop-up message that greeted all members when they visited the site.
Friending wasn't used as a verb until about five years ago, when social networks such as Friendster, MySpace and Facebook burst onto the scene. Suddenly, our friends were something even better - an audience. If blogging felt like shouting into the void, posting updates on a social network felt more like an intimate conversation among friends at a pub. Inevitably, as our list of friends grew to encompass acquaintances, friends of friends and the girl who sat behind us in seventh-grade homeroom, online friendships became devalued. Suddenly, we knew as much about the lives of our distant acquaintances as we did about the lives of our intimates – what they'd had for dinner, how they felt about Tiger Woods and so on. Enter Twitter with a solution: no friends, just followers.
As you may have heard by now, one of the biggest problems with Facebook's recent privacy overhaul was that it removed users' ability to hide their friend lists from the world. This was one of several changes that were met with substantial criticism and anger from the media and from Facebook users. The significance of the changes was eloquently explained by Joseph Bonneau, a researcher with the Cambridge University Security Group:
I came close to killing my Facebook account this week. As I delved even deeper to the supposed privacy I have or don’t have on the service, I wondered why on earth I even have an account at all. And I kept thinking of Anil Dash’s post earlier this year, Google’s Microsoft Moment . Was this now Facebook’s turn to for people to see it as having gone evil? After I examined Facebook’s recommended unprivacy changes (see Facebook’s Privacy Upgrade Recommends I Be Less Private ), I then read the EFF’s summary, Facebook’s New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly .
December 11th, 2009 at 01:41 UTC by Joseph Bonneau Facebook has been rolling out new privacy settings in the past 24 hours along with a “privacy transition” tool that is supposed to help users update their settings. Ostensibly, Facebook’s changes are the result of pressure from the Canadian privacy commissioner , and in Facebook’s own words the changes are meant to be “new tools to control your experience.”
Here’s a new one. As Facebook continues to grapple with the negative press over its privacy overhaul , it’s now suggesting a new way to protect your personal information: lie about it. At least, that’s what Barry Schnitt, Facebook’s Director of Corporate Communications and Public Policy, told the Wall Street Journal in an article this evening. From the story: