Facebook’s New Privacy Approach Shifts Control Back to User

BY Hari Sreenivasan  May 26, 2010 at 2:44 PM EDT


Facebook unveiled new privacy controls Wednesday, after the social networking site came under heavy criticism in recent weeks for hard-to-use new settings and for making chunks of previously private information public.

Leslie Harris of the Center for Democracy and Technology stopped by the Rundown Wednesday to discuss the new controls. The new approach, Harris says, “completely shifts the paradigm back to user control.”

Among the changes:

  • One simple privacy control page will allow you to change the visibility of your profile and content settings. Users can set controls that apply to all information on the site or customize their information. The controls will be applied to all content retroactively.

  • Less information will be automatically public in general Facebook searches.

  • Applications that run on Facebook will have “dramatically restricted access” to personal data.

  • Users will be able to opt out of instant participation, a program that allows partner sites to access user information.

NewsHour producer Joanne Elgart Jennings live-tweeted the Facebook press conference. Read Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s blog announcement of the controls here.