Feeds

Facebook convenes privacy 'crisis' meeting

What are they planning?

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Facebook has called a general meeting on privacy amid widespread user discontent over a succession of privacy-eroding changes by the social network.

The "all hands meeting" of Facebook staffers is due to take place at 4pm PDT on Thursday. It follows a critically panned attempt by Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president for public policy, to justify its privacy stance in an online Q&A with readers of the New York Times earlier this week.

The unofficial allfacebook.com blog speculates that the meeting may result in the social network taking an opt-in approach to features that potentially expose users' private details, photos and opinions more widely. A temporary suspension of the recently introduced “Instant Personalization” service that involves the sharing of profile details with selected third-party websites is also a possibility.

Controlling individual privacy settings on Facebook has become an arcane process over recent weeks, as this visualisation of the 150+ privacy options the site offers by the NYT illustrates.

A timeline of Facebook's eroding privacy policy can be found in an article by the Electronic Fronier Foundation (EFF) here. The digital liberties group is highly critical of the long trend towards less privacy charted by the social network.

"Facebook originally earned its core base of users by offering them simple and powerful controls over their personal information," EFF writes. "As Facebook grew larger and became more important, it could have chosen to maintain or improve those controls. Instead, it's slowly but surely helped itself — and its advertising and business partners — to more and more of its users' information, while limiting the users' options to control their own information.

EFF has published advice on how to opt-out of Facebook's instant personalisation. Stung by Facebook's continuous lurches towards sharing more information with partners a growing group of users have begun deleting their profiles, a development that presumably prompted Facebook to convene a privacy pow-wow. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.