This morning Mark Zuckerberg published a new video on the Facebook blog explaining the journey the site has taken over the past 6 years. He says they’ve heard the concerns from users in relation to privacy and that the new simplified settings will make it easy for users to control their information now and into the future.
With a single master setting, you can set all privacy options in bulk to Everyone, Friends or Friends of Friends. Those who want more control can go in and set a Custom privacy level.
Surprisingly Facebook are making it simple to turn off ALL 3rd party applications. Whilst this may sound like a great idea, just take a second to think about what that really means. I’m a big fan of being able to post to Facebook from 3rd party apps like TweetDeck, but hate rubbishy apps like Farmville. If I was to turn off 3rd party apps, it would definitely stop Farmville, but also TweetDeck. So I’ll still need to go through app-at-a-time and customise that.
If users begin to block their information from 3rd party apps and services, this will harm Facebook’s ability to earn revenue from these users. It seems Facebook have taken the approach that it’s better they have these people on Facebook, rather than not and potentially earn revenue from their friends and family. Now ads will clearly still be shown to users who opt out of sharing their information, but a consequence may be much less targeted / useful ads.
The new privacy controls will be rolled out periodically, so if you can’t see it at http://facebook.com/privacy now, check back in the next couple of days. Spend the time to set your privacy levels, hopefully this will be the last change for a while.