New Facebook Privacy Option Will Offer Simplified Settings

In response to confusion over its latest round of changes, Facebook intends to simplify its privacy options, Tim Sparapani, Facebook's chief of public policy, said in an interview.

"Now we've heard from our users that we have gotten a little bit complex, I think we are going to work on that," Sparapani said in a radio interview (see video below). "We are going to be providing options for users who want simplistic bands of privacy that they can choose from and I think we will see that in the next couple of weeks."

Previously, in a Q&A with Facebook users published in the New York Times, Facebook's VP of public policy Elliot Schrage also acknowledged confusion over the site's settings: "Our extensive efforts to provide users greater control over what and how they share appear to be too confusing for some of our more than 400 million users," Schrage wrote. He did not specify what the solution would be, but noted, "It’s certainly fixable. You’re pointing out things we need to fix." He added, "We will soon ramp up our efforts to provide better guidance to those confused about how to control sharing and maintain privacy."

Facebook's recent changes to its privacy policy rankled users for potentially making their personal information more widely visible--sometimes by default--and for offering a bewildering number of settings. Facebook's new privacy policy now runs even longer than the US Constitution, and users face some 50 settings with over 170 options.

He also defended the social network's privacy options, saying that the site "should be getting credit here for giving tools in the first place" and arguing that other companies provide nearly "no privacy settings at all."

He touted new Facebook features, such as the "Like" button and Open Graph, which can be used to personalize websites for each user. "That is an extraordinary gift to the public," he said.

Already, the site has already announced a new security feature aimed at countering phishing scams and spam via Facebook.

See the interview with Saparani below. Read more at Wired, which has a more complete transcript from the interview.


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