Facebook simplifies privacy settings
Saturday 05 June 2010 | By Heidi Scott, Gosh! Media Copywriter
At a press conference at the company's headquarters in Palo Alto, California, on 26 May, the firm's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, unveiled the new privacy controls, while admitting that the existing privacy settings had been too complicated. He insisted, however, that Facebook was not trying to force people to share their information and that the company does not sell personal data to advertisers.
Using the new controls, a variety of different privacy levels can be applied with a single click, with the ability then to customise any of these settings further. There are four basic settings, allowing users to share data with 'everyone', 'friends of friends', 'friends only' or 'recommended' - the latter setting sharing certain data, such as family information, with everyone but photos and videos only with friends of friends.
Defending Facebook's privacy record, Zuckerberg said:
"People think that we don't care about privacy, but that's not true. There's a balance. More and more people want to share information, and as long as they have good controls over that, I think that's where the world is going."
In response to being quizzed about the company's handling of personal data, Zuckerberg added:
"The principle is that we don't give any information to advertisers. We target the ads to people ourselves. Advertisers come to us with adverts that they want shown to particular [demographic groups of] people, and we take the ad and show it to the person that we think will be interested in that information. So it doesn't matter who you're showing your data to. It doesn't matter whether you share it at all."
Zuckerberg was reiterating points he'd made in an article in the Washington Post a couple of days previously, where he wrote:
"Here are the principles under which Facebook operates:
-- You have control over how your information is shared.
-- We do not share your personal information with people or services you don't want.
-- We do not give advertisers access to your personal information.
-- We do not and never will sell any of your infomation to anyone.
-- We will always keep Facebook a free service for everyoner."