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May 19, 2010

Facebook says it will make privacy changes

Posted: 11:26 AM ET

After an online uproar about Facebook's privacy policy and some users threatening to leave the site en masse, the 400-million person online social network says it will simplify its privacy settings soon.

It's unclear how exactly the changes will be implemented. Or when. In a public radio interview posted Tuesday, Facebook's head of public policy, Tim Sparapani, said the settings will be updated in coming weeks.

"We've heard from our users that we're gotten a little bit complex. I think we're going to work on that. I think we're going to be providing options for people who want simplistic bands of privacy that they can choose from. And I think we'll see that in the next couple of weeks. Because we do listen to our users," he said in the interview (go to about 26:30 to hear the clip).

He added that Facebook has "built a privacy setting for every type of new communication and sharing that we have," and said that "Facebook should be getting credit here for giving tools in the first place."

Many sites don't have any privacy settings, he said.

Facebook's privacy settings have been widely criticized as complicated. According to a New York Times chart, the site's privacy policy is longer than the U.S. Constitution. Users must navigate through 170 specific options.

The bad press led Facebook's rival MySpace this week to announce simplified privacy controls with only three settings. It will be interesting to see if, in what would be an ironic turn, Facebook follows suit.

[via Wired / Mashable]

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1315horn   May 19th, 2010 11:52 am ET is new, safe and flexible You can create 3 different types of neighborhoods. Completely private, semi-private and public.

Franko   May 19th, 2010 11:55 am ET

Too late Fascist Book

CrabApple   May 19th, 2010 11:58 am ET

@ 1315horn
And all that is required is that you provide a SSN, DoB, and CC number. BRILLIANT!

Franko   May 19th, 2010 12:17 pm ET

When will Fascist Book be mandatory ?

A 256 bit encrypted retinal scan verified by security agencies is necessary.
Think of the efficiency of advertising targeting and terrorists apprehension.

Ryan   May 19th, 2010 1:02 pm ET

I hope they do fix all the privacy stuff they messed up. I really like Facebook but if they don't change I'm going have to leave..

CrabApple   May 19th, 2010 1:09 pm ET

Speaking of Facebook. Does everybody know what day it is today?
"Everybody Draw Mohammed Day!"

Pat   May 19th, 2010 1:11 pm ET

"We've heard from our users that we're gotten a little bit complex"
Uh – Engrish please.

lilmoon   May 19th, 2010 1:18 pm ET

I have already deleted my facebook account based on an email I received a while back. I didn't want to waste my time making a decision.

PGeorge   May 19th, 2010 1:20 pm ET

They're pretty user friendly and I hope they do fix their issues. And tells you it's for everyone but I get the image it's for "whites only" at least that's what their welcome page shows me...

CrabApple   May 19th, 2010 1:23 pm ET


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CrabApple   May 19th, 2010 1:24 pm ET

🙁 Guess ASCII art doesn't work with CNN's blog-o-sphere 🙁

Franko   May 19th, 2010 1:31 pm ET

I like Facebook
Facebook is fun
Facebook is great
I wish I could Facebook more

Michael   May 19th, 2010 1:51 pm ET

I am so, so conflicted on this. Facebook is such a huge thing for my generation, and has been such a great way to connect with friends over the past few years. Things though have been getting scary recently, with people friending me that I'm afraid of (bad histories), weird emails from strangers being sent to me about my FB profile popping up during their google search for my apartment complex, and other creepy things. I think it's time to say goodbye to Facebook for me, there just has to be a line somewhere. I guess this it for me...

HOHOHO   May 19th, 2010 1:51 pm ET


Kimberley   May 19th, 2010 2:26 pm ET

I have no idea why there are so many people complaining about FB's privacy settings. I have an account, and I really love it. But Im also very educated about how I use it. No super personal info, FriendsOnly on everything, don't friend people I don't really know, and don't accept or play any applications.

Obviously if people don't take the time to read the rules or don't pay attention to recent changes, their experience with FB isn't going to be good. But as with everything in life, people need to take responsibility for their OWN ACTIONS or in this case... INACTION. =/

My only suggestion is that they provide a "Friends Only everything" option, so you don't have to go through and set every little thing to Friends Only individually.

Scooby   May 19th, 2010 2:26 pm ET

OK people, stop using computers and the internet as real life IT'S NOT. Turn it off and get out there, life is to short to be inside looking at a screen all the time.

jamie   May 19th, 2010 2:27 pm ET


Bidee Bidee Bidee   May 19th, 2010 2:37 pm ET


Peej   May 19th, 2010 2:39 pm ET

I really don't mind the privacy settings.

Calculon   May 19th, 2010 2:43 pm ET

Oh, how cruel and melodramatic fate is.


toppflight   May 19th, 2010 2:44 pm ET

whiners booohoooo!

W.W.W.   May 19th, 2010 2:51 pm ET

I'll get you my pretty!

Devil made me do it   May 19th, 2010 2:55 pm ET


Michelle   May 19th, 2010 3:49 pm ET

Are you quitting Facebook?

SquirrelBiscuit   May 19th, 2010 4:03 pm ET

I have my facebook private and want to keep it that way. The way fb started owning the internet is what's troublesome. It took me forever to figure out how to turn off anything about ME showing up on the side when I went to And you can't put anything in your likes and hobbies without it linking to a group. I don't want to be linked because I put my current city in there.

Biggest gripe, let folks choose to opt IN to sharing, not read a million paragraphs trying to opt OUT of every website and media sharing source.

Michelle   May 19th, 2010 4:40 pm ET

I opted out of facebook and I'm so angry. I had posted pictures of my grand kids to share with family members and my setting are on only friends, not friends of friends. I now feel violated. In today's world you do not want to post pictures of kids so anyone can see...Hello. I believe FB is absolutely miss leading everyone and it's shameful statement that if you don't want the world to see don't post it especially since their prior mantra was you can post pictures for your family and friends and now we learn any pervert can see them. I am sicken by this. Shame on you FB

Alex   May 19th, 2010 5:48 pm ET

I don't get why people leave the site over privacy disputes when you can just change all your settings to "Only friends" and things like that and then you'll be invisible. It's not that hard.

Matt   May 20th, 2010 8:14 am ET

I'm so tired of seeing typos in news articles online. "We're gotten too complex"????

Mark   May 20th, 2010 10:09 am ET

People should stop bad mouthing the site, and instead just stop using it. Nobody is requiring you to be on the site.
Also don't be friends with people you need to hide from, duh.
Make friends lists and only allow your closest friends to view your information.
Make yourself unsearchable.

piece of cake.

Finley   May 20th, 2010 11:23 am ET

I am very pleasure to meet you .I like facebook too .

I come from China and living in Shanghai .

If you want to know more about China or shanghai City ,Please email me .

Your are welcom,!

Finley   May 20th, 2010 11:25 am ET

My email

Jacqueline Rice   May 20th, 2010 4:15 pm ET

I quit facebook yesterday.

laxbro   May 20th, 2010 9:03 pm ET

facebook fun easy just enter name adress favirote color credit card number pin number and social security number you losers get of the computer and go play laccrosse

Anon   May 20th, 2010 10:50 pm ET

Never joined facebook. never will. I'm still going to lead as many people as will follow, away from the deceptive practices of business that think this type of behavior is ok.

Ann Onimus   May 20th, 2010 11:48 pm ET

I have not one shred of real info on Facebook. Every detail is fake, even my name and gender. Chew on that, FB. I only want an account so I can play Farmville and Restaurant City. I don't trust FB with my info at all.

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