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Mixed reactions, confusion on new Facebook privacy program

Facebook users quickly responded to the site's new privacy features with mixed but strong opinions. Thousands of members went to the Facebook profile page and, using the site's virtual thumbs-up, or "like," function, registered their response to yesterday's announcement about the new privacy tools.

In today's newspaper story, Post Tech goes over what the changes mean. Facebook says the new program will give users more control over what information they share. Public interest groups say even more personal information may be shared.

On the site's profile page announcing the changes, users revealed confusion and concern that too much personal information seemed to be available outside users' comfort zones.

One reader found it "unacceptable" that her settings were private and appeared to have changed. "I want that back!"

Another wrote that the new program appeared to give users less control over public distribution of personal information. "Coupling the increased public exposure with Facebook's failure to adequately map old settings to new settings with the privacy transition tool, the changes pushed today are wholly unacceptable. In fact, one could even argue that this is a ploy to push more user information into public space, not as one to help users better maintain their privacy."

Others offered guidance: "For those of you complaining, you still have the same level of control over your profile and wall. Set the options MANUALLY in your privacy settings. Do NOT choose Facebook's 'recommended' settings."

Here's a video of how it works:

By Cecilia Kang  |  December 10, 2009; 8:45 AM ET
Categories:  Privacy  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Update: questions about Facebook default for new privacy rules
Next: Federal report shows cellphone users are happy but don't like cancellation fees


I highly recommend the EFF's analysis of the changes:

In a nutshell, you CANNOT hide your name, gender, city, or profile pic from other Facebook users. Period. You could before, and now you can't. You also can't keep other people from sending you messages or friend invites, and you could before. While this isn't something that I would normally want to do, I can imagine that those who guard their privacy fiercely will probably simply have to give up Facebook because of these forced changes. And I'm not happy with having these new restrictions severely reducing my privacy.

Posted by: MaxH | December 10, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

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