Facebook to simplify privacy controls

Posted May 26, 2010 at 2:21 p.m.

Associated Press | Facebook is simplifying its privacy controls amid growing unrest from
many of its users. Protesters have been organizing campaigns to quit
Facebook and privacy groups have complained to regulators after
Facebook announced new features last month, including “instant
personalization” that tailors other websites to users’ Facebook

“A lot of people are upset with us,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
acknowledged at a news conference Wednesday at the company’s Palo Alto,
Calif., headquarters.

One complaint has been over the fact that while Facebook allows users to hide their list of interests on their personal profile pages, the user would still show up elsewhere as “liking” that band, company or hobby. Zuckerberg said that under the simplified controls, privacy preferences will be extending to those other places as well.

Zuckerberg said the company is also making it easier for users to decline the instant personalization feature.

He said that as Facebook offered more granularity in its privacy choices, the settings have become too complex for many users. He said Facebook is trying to simplify the controls  –  and making them apply retroactively and to new services that have yet to launch.

Facebook said the changes will be rolled out in the coming weeks. It’s not yet clear whether the latest changes will quell user unease. Facebook hopes they do.

“One of the big takeaways is just don’t mess with the privacy stuff for a long time,” Zuckerberg said.

In a statement, the Center for Democracy and Technology, a Washington-based advocacy group, said that “while more work still needs to be done, these changes are the building blocks for giving people what they want and deserve.”


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