For years, Facebook has had a pretty consistent modus operandi: It breaks stuff, catches flack for it, and then-eventually-backpedals or otherwise responds to the criticism. The tradition continues with CEO Mark Zuckerberg's new blog post. After a few weeks of intense unhappiness over the company's recent new features and related changes to privacy policies, it's redoing its privacy settings in a major way.
Zuckerberg says that the new features will take a few weeks to reach every Facebook user. I don't see them yet. But here's a recap of what he says is new:
- Rather than having to wade through gazillions of granular settings, it'll be easy to tell Facebook you want anything you post to be visible to friends only, friends of friends, or everybody. These rules will apply to future Facebook functionality that doesn't exist yet.
- You'll be able to make your Friends and Pages lists completely private.
- It'll be easier to block apps on Facebook from getting at your information.
- It'll be easier to block external sites such as Pandora which use Facebook's new "Instant Personalization" from getting at your information. (Currently there's no single place to go to do this, nor any way to block all sites with one click.)
- If users find these changes satisfactory, Facebook intends to avoid major changes to privacy policies "for a long time."
It's a given that these tweaks won't satisfy every unhappy camper. For example, it sounds like Facebook will still share your info via Instant Personalization by default; if this bothers you, you've got to proactively tell it to knock it off. Some people, like my colleague Jacqueline Emigh, would be more pleased if Facebook renounced Zuckerberg's recent proclamation that "the default is social" and made every new form of sharing opt-in rather than opt-out.
Overall, though, the changes look like a significant step in the right direction. If you were rattled by the previous round of changes-as 75 percent of Technologizer readers who took our recent poll said they were-do the ones outlined in Zuck's new post calm you down?