back to article Facebook simplifies controls but continues exposing users

Facebook was praised for simplifying its privacy controls on Wednesday, but critics say the moves fail to restore users' trust in the appropriate handling of their information. The social network unveiled a greatly simplified interface for controlling user privacy settings, hosted on a single page. The previous set-up, …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Anthony Shortland

    Privacy International says....

    what you basically mean is :

    Privacy International reacted to the changes with "We're disappointed that facebooks default settings do not go against the whole point of facebook".

    Seriously, a facebook that by default hides all information wouldnt be facebook. It wouldnt be a social networking tool at all. The whole point is that you can find people. Thats why people use it ffs!

    1. anarchic-teapot

      There's a very fine difference

      between "social networking" and "giving up all hope of privacy". I wonder if you can tell me what it is?

      Your boss doesn't necessarily need to know who your friends are, or the sort of things you talk to them about. Neither does your family. And, of course, vice versa.

      We behave differently depending on who we're with. Mixing completely different social contexts into one big mess is Not A Good Thing.

      1. Anthony Shortland

        ok then...

        so you have a choice then.... either dont join, join and set your privacy tight so no one finds you, or use one of those sites that almost got popular but where you couldnt find anyone (face-pic etc) that werent so social and have kinda died off since facebook showed them being social is better.

    2. ChrisC
      Thumb Down

      Being able to find people... all well and good, but there's no reason why anyone should be able to view wall posts, photo albums or anything else like that *until* the person associated with said posts/albums/etc has agreed that you're actually someone who they're happy to have viewing said stuff.

      Let's say I'm sat in the pub with a few friends and we're passing around photos from a recent holiday. Would I be happy for a complete stranger to wander over, plonk themselves down next to us, and start looking at those photos too? Uhh, no. Would it make it any less anti-social if this complete stranger then turned to me and said "hey, I think we were at school/uni/insert company name here together, do you remember me?". Not unless they were a) right about our previous association AND b) they were someone I had any interest in reassociating myself with...

      There are plenty of us who've managed to use FB as a very successful social networking tool without needing to expose all our details to anyone who passes by, so I don't agree with the suggestion that having default settings which hid most/all of the interesting stuff from anyone outside of our networks would render it useless.

    3. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      I think you're missing the point ...


      What security managers are saying... sure its nice that they've simplified the controls, but by default, you're open as always.

      What they are saying is that you should start off with nothing being visible and then you the user walk through the options and turn on what you want to be made public and what you don't want to be public.

      Sure its more work for the average luser. For most intelligent people its the same amount of work since we go through the options as a matter of routine behavior.

      The WTF because most normal people know this shite...

  2. Chris Hatfield

    Kevin Rose says "oh it's all about the 'social''

    Did anyone watch diggnation this week? Kevin Rose says he is mates with Mark Zuckerburger and things people are over-reacting. On the most recent show, where he says he has the 'scoop on Facebook privacy' he does nothing more than sound like a Zuckerburg apologist.

    What they are doing is sneaky - it should be OPT-IN by default, NOT opt-out. Remember when Apple were sneaky and Safari for Windows was downloaded by default? People often don't bother to change the defaults. They may have busy lives or they may be just lazy.

    Leo Laporte has been scathing. I recommend listening to the recent TWiG show.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This sums it up nicely:

    I predict at least 10 'facebook is for idiots posts' are currently held up in moderation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Kevin Rose says he is mates with Mark Zuckerburger"

      Doesn't surprise me. Everyone involved in Digg seems to be a monumental pillock.

    2. Andy Towler

      They may have busy lives or they may be just lazy.

      So... that would be their own fault, then?

  4. Anonymous Coward


    "no they're dumb fucks.... anyway, wanna go dig up some corpses? I stole a shovel earlier. the clerk saw me so I beat him to death with it but... oh hang on - BOLLOX my wall is public again. damnit I guess that code I wrote to opt myself out of evil shit doesn't work. BRB"

    - Mark

  5. SNS
    Thumb Down

    the settings are easy to use

    Im confused as to why everyone is stating the settings on facebook are hard to use?

    They are very simply and quite quick to set up and restrict your information.

    All you need to do is create a "group" for your friends which you trust and know in person. You then restrict access to photos, personal information, contact information and status updates to this ONE group of friends.

    I do this, and it means that only a small % of my complete friends list can see my details.

    Those people are people I trust with my details.

    Everyone else is limited to just my wall and some select info. It isnt hard to do, but im worried if they change it, it will become dumped down to the point of being useless.

    The current restrictions work IMO.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thank you...

      ... for explaining to us how to do this.

      Unfortunately Facebook themselves chose not to, which would suggest they don't want people to know.

      Which is the whole point.

  6. Shannon Jacobs

    Principles of Privacy 101

    Facebook needs to start with some clear principles of privacy. I suggest that Principle #1 should be a simple application of the Golden Rule for the default privacy setting. If someone wants to see some of my personal information, then they should agree to show the corresponding personal information to me. Only after we both agree should any information be shared.

    The sharing of information should NOT be transitive or transferable, and Facebook should be actively looking for anyone who is actively trying to cheat. For example, it might make sense for someone to spend a lot of time looking in some detail at the information about one actual friend, but it makes no sense for someone to be scanning lots of personal information at robotic harvesting speeds.

    The underlying principle should be that I own my personal information, and anyone else should be allowed to access it only with my permission--which I can revoke at any time and for any reason. Of course, that revocation can only be in principle in these days of easy copying, but the principle of ownership needs to be established, and any abuse of personal information needs to be regarded as a crime.

    You don't think so? Okay, then start telling me all of your personal information and see how it feels. Have you EVER made a serious mistake? I bet you have, and I bet that you wouldn't want to have it widely publicized. Even if you're as pure as Caesar's wife, if I know enough about your personal likes and interests and even your strengths, then I guarantee that I could find some way to twist you like a pretzel.

    Maybe the secret masters of Facebook are right and privacy is already dead. If so, freedom died with it and we need to schedule a nice funeral.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... should have learned from Scott McNealy, who may have done great things in his life but the only thing he is ever remembered for is one idiotic remark.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    'Simplified' privacy controls = FAIL

    They're hardly 'simplified'. They're just slightly less stupidly complicated than the old ones. Just because you don't deep-fry a Mars Bar doesn't suddenly make it 'healthy'.

    And try this : Go to the privacy settings for Applications and Websites. Go to 'Information accessible through your friends' and see that everything is unchecked, as it should be. Now turn off platform applications completely and then turn them back on again. Now go back to 'Information accessible through your friends'. Oh look! All those boxes have been checked again.

  9. Iain 15


    Whilst protecting the idiots is a very laudable and proper policy to have, like all IT you get out what you put in. So, if you have photos of yourself in compromising positions or an opinion that may get you sacked from work, don't put it on the internet. Assume no privacy.

  10. tstaddon

    Granularity Roolz KO (sic)

    SNS is almost right. Key word being "almost".

    I've got a list for work colleagues, a list for family, a list for mates, and so on. Friends from one list, cannot see posts from friends in another list. This part of it is not difficult to do at all.

    However, the "custom settings" only allow for one set of permissions to be in effect - so for example you can set it so that every single app-generated post in the entire macrouniverse of Facebook is shown to mates and hidden from your work colleagues by default, but you then have to manually amend every single post from every single app if you want it to be shown to work colleagues and hidden from your mates.

    What's wrong with making those permissions app-specific?

    A second issue is, you can hide the "Friends" box from your profile page but this is a bit pointless given there's a "show all" link in "Mutual Friends". And you can't hide the "Mutual Friends" box.

  11. Lennart Sorensen

    If the reg listened to its users, this title would not be required.

    Now if we could just the option to hide profile pictures back (which the article incorrectly claims was always visible. It was not, that changed in the recent big change.) then we will be almost back to being able to do what we could do before.

    The only thing that was ever shared at all times up until last years big change was your name. Nothing else was forced to be shared. I don't care if the profile picture makes it easier to find people. It should be the users choice if that is shared with all or not. I can't even imagine why they thought making pages you follow public to all. You would have to be a complete moron to not recognize how that cold cause a big privacy problem, but hey this is facebook, so oh well.

  12. Inachu


    they change the security settings so often that even when we make our changes next week they say they have new and better settings and i go in and find my settings back at default as if thats their way to keep sharing our info with the advertisers.

    Once we make a change it need to be cemented against ANY CHANGE

    Got so frustrated that I expressed my views and they banned me from facebook.


This topic is closed for new posts.

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019