Facebook privacy settings to be simplified

Facebook privacy settings will be simplified within weeks according to one of the social network’s senior executives. Facebook has taken a battering recently over its baffling number of privacy settings and it seems it’s getting ready to backtrack…

In a US radio interview about the Facebook privacy problems, Tim Sparapani, Facebook’s chief of public policy, said: “We are going to be providing options for users who want simplistic bands of privacy that they can choose from and I think we will see that in the next couple of weeks.”

New features like the Facebook Like button which reveal personal information to other sites have rankled users who don’t agree with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s claim that “privacy is no longer a social norm”. In December when Facebook made lots of information visible by default, Zuckerberg also turned most of his own profile public.

The current Facebook privacy controls run to 50 settings with over 170 individual options to choose from. Despite the complexity, Sparapani defended them claiming Facebook “should be getting credit for giving tools in the first place”. He said that in comparison other companies offer almost “no privacy settings at all”.

He also did some cheerleading for the Facebook Like button and Open Graph, which allows external sites to show personalised versions to Facebook users, saying: “This is an extraordinary gift to the public.”

That seems like a big claim. While those Facebook features are undoubtedly helpful to some users, they’re also all about expanding the social network’s dominance.

What do you make of this development in the Facebook privacy row? What changes does Facebook need to make?

Out now | £free | Facebook (via Wired)

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