Facebook Tightens Privacy Protections
Privacy activists have long pilloried Facebook for foisting excessively confusing and, some say, deceptive “privacy” settings upon users. Facebook blew them off for a long time, disingenuously claiming that it just gives users “options.” But market forces have caught up with the social media giant at last. Here's what Facebook is doing to improve privacy within their service...
Facebook Rolls Out New Privacy Controls
Young people don’t trust Facebook; they’ve been leaving it in droves and refusing to share, giving Mark Zuckerberg less and less places to hang his ads and fewer tidbits of personal data to sell to direct marketers. You know your social media site is in trouble when the over-50 demographic is growing faster than the valuable 18-24 year olds.
So finally, Facebook is rolling out simplified, more obvious, and more honest privacy features. Here are five of them:
Additional photo settings: profile and cover photos have been public by default, even after you change them. Soon, Facebook will let you restrict access to cover photos; profile pics’ sharing has always been under users’ control, although changing it has not been intuitive.
Mobile share settings: the button for restricting sharing of a mobile upload has been hidden under the icon that leads to your general privacy settings, so many users don’t know it exists. That button is getting moved to a more prominent position in Facebook’s mobile app, in a new “TO” field that makes it even more obvious that you need to make a decision before hitting “upload.”
New user sharing defaults have been “public.” Now newbies will share only with Friends, which they won’t have for a little while. Facebook will also alert newbies to select a sharing category for their first post instead of letting them bumble into “public” on their own.
The “privacy dinosaur” will be rolled out universally. This blue Barney-like critter is the symbol of Facebook’s “privacy checkup” app that helps make users aware of all their privacy settings. The privacy dinosaur will also warn you when you are about to post publicly; it remains to be seen how easily you can restrict access to a post while composing it.
Third-party apps will have to offer an “anonymous login” option after Facebook updates its app-development toolkit. Anonymous login lets a third-party app access your Facebook account to do its thing without sharing your username and profile data or those of your friends.
Is It Enough?
"We want to do all we can to put power and control in people's hands," Facebook said. No, they don’t, but they are doing so reluctantly and slowly. Facebook has heard the sound of millions of millenials clicking the "cancel my account" button. But it’s getting done at last.
It remains to be seen if it's too late to repair Facebook’s sinister reputation for in-your-face pushiness into things users don’t want to share. In the past, Facebook has been sued for making public certain things marked private, allowed access to content on deactivated accounts, and angered many users by using their profile pictures in advertising. Some will undoubtedly scoff at ANY privacy controls offered by the social media giant, on the presumption that Facebook will just go ahead do what they want, without regard to those privacy promises.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 30 May 2014
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Facebook Tightens Privacy Protections (Posted: 30 May 2014)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved