Friday, December 11, 2009

Facebook Loosens Privacy Controls, Sparks a Backlash

Facebook simplified its privacy controls for 350 million users Wednesday. But some users and privacy advocates protest that important controls got lost in translation — including the right to keep one’s data from unscrupulous third-party developers.

One of the impetuses behind Facebook’s privacy changes was to get users to share more things with more people, in order to keep up with sites like Twitter where the point is to post publicly. Facebook is accomplishing the shift by changing default settings to be more permissive — such as making all status updates public by default — since 80 percent of its users stick with those settings.

Electronic Frontier Foundation lawyer Kevin Bankston, for one, criticized Facebook for removing controls as it tried to simplify its privacy settings.

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