Facebook’s New Simplified Privacy Settings in a Nutshell

Over the past few weeks Facebook has been under fire from all corners for its sloppy privacy policies. Of course, this isn’t something new to Facebook. In the past Facebook has been slammed by privacy advocates for various missteps like the Beacon. The latest outburst was prompted by the introduction of Facebook Open Graph.

During a press event held at its headquarters, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveiled the new simplified privacy controls for Facebook. One of the troubles with Facebook has been that its granular privacy controls are too complicated for most users. Facebook is hoping that the new privacy controls will alleviate this issue.


The announced privacy settings overhaul is quite significant. To begin with, you will now have access to a single control to change settings for all content and its visibility on the site. According to Zuckerberg, there will be less publicly available information and more privacy control for connections. You can once again keep your friend list as well as subscriptions private.


Moreover, Facebook will now differentiate between “basic directory information” and other information included in your profile. The basic directory information will be public by default, so that other people can find you.


Facebook is also making it easy to opt out of instant personalization. It will offer a single checkbox to prevent external sites from harvesting your private information. You can even opt out of the entire Facebook platform (applications and extensions).

While these new privacy controls will perhaps help in quelling the growing sentiment of discontent towards Facebook, the main cause for controversy still remains unaddressed. Instant Personalization is still enabled by default. In fact, almost all Facebook privacy controversies have been triggered due to its insistence on making new features opt-out rather than opt-in by default.

Unfortunately, this won’t be changing anytime soon. Zuckerberg indicated that he believes that Facebook’s privacy model is complete and ruled out any further substantial changes in the near future. The simplified privacy controls will be rolled out at facebook.com/privacy over the new few days.

Screenshots via TechCrunch and video via Robert Scoble

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Pallab De

Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .