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Facebook to simplify Privacy Controls

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg announces new privacy tools

Full Story after the Jump...

NEW YORK – 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 profiles.

"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."

Post Tech States:

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday announced what he described as simplified privacy tools for the social networking platform’s more than 400 million users. He called the changes a “pretty big overhaul,” saying engineers and designers have been huddled in conference for the past three weeks.

Privacy advocates, however, said the best protections would be to set a default for the settings that are at the most restrictive level and allow users to change them for less privacy. They also want default settings to restrict any information from being shared with advertisers unless the user authorizes it.

Here is what’s been announced so far. We will update:

1) One simple control that allows users to change settings for all of their content and its visibility to everyone on the site. This control will apply to every piece of information on the site (photos, profile and contact information, videos, applications). More granular controls, which allow users to customize who can see every single piece of information (status update, photos, employment), will still be available.

2) A single check box to opt out completely from user data being accessed by outside sites. If that box is checked, it will prevent any information from being shared for future applications that are added on to the site.

3) Less basic directory information generally available on the Web. Zuckerberg said some profile directory will be available so that people can find users.

4) A way to make private user “connections" – the links from users to pages for groups or things that they like or are a fan of.

5) Less access to user data from applications that run on Facebook (Farmville).

6) An overhaul of the privacy settings page to reflect the changes.

Source Info: Yahoo News, Post Tech