Feeds

Facebook promises simplified privacy controls from Thursday

So, like, even hysterical idiots can protect their stuff?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Facebook is due to begin rolling out simplified privacy controls on Thursday, a senior executive has announced.

Chris Cox, Facebook’s vice president of product, promised “drastically simplified” privacy controls at a keynote presentation at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York City. There were no details beyond the suggestion they will address recent criticism.

The announcement follows the high-profile admission earlier this week by Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg that the social networking site had "missed the mark" and made mistakes in revising its privacy controls over recent months. Zuckerberg promised simpler privacy controls and features that will make it easier for users to opt out of third-party services in an op-ed piece in Monday's Washington Post.

This mea-culpa was seen by many as a damage limitation exercise following weeks of sustained criticism over privacy-eroding changes by the dominant social networking site. The continuing fallout over privacy roll-back that left previously shielded information open by default last November was increased by a new row over Facebook's plans to share user information automatically with "pre-approved" websites; a privacy shitstorm ensued involving European regulators, privacy activists and broadsheet journalists all lobbing criticism at Facebook.

Critics were quick to highlight the absurd complexity of Facebook privacy controls, featuring a thicket of 50 privacy settings and 170 privacy options, as well as the steady erosion of privacy safeguards over the last five years in criticising Facebook. Wags have also pointed out that Facebook's privacy policy is longer than the US Constitution.

Facebook users have always had the ability to lock down their profiles to some extent, but that normally avoids opting out from sharing their information with all and sundry while keeping guard against further changes. Moving towards an opt-in approach may satisfy those in the information security community who have criticised Facebook, but is unlikely to be popular with the social network's advertising partners.

So what we're more likely to get are simplified controls that recommend the sharing of most all the information users post online outside their circle of friends rather than more restricted default settings, if Facebook's previous form is anything to go by. ®

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.