back to article Facebook urges public exposure in 'privacy' revision

Facebook is urging its 350 million users to open their kimonos to the entire internet as part of its revamped security settings. Unveiled on Wednesday, the social network's new privacy controls are designed are to expose a user's personal data - including status updates, posted content, and details about friends and family - …


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  1. Keith T

    Facebook urged me to maintain my privacy

    For me, Facebook recommended I keep my current settings.

    Most of my settings are to "share with Friends, except Friends in one Friend List.

    Probably if your current settings were to share only with a geographic network, then it would recommend sharing with everyone. It would do this because ( a) geographic networks have been discontinued, and ( b ) stuff you would comfortably share with everyone in Bristol you'd probably be comfortable sharing with anyone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I had everything set to friends only, bar 1 grouping. It advised me to retain my settings on most of the radio boxes.

  2. jake Silver badge


    Anyone who posts personal info to !MyFaceYouTwit deserves what they get.

    Yes, I know, kids can get themselves into trouble ... but legally, their parents are responsible for their "not yet of age" chattel.

    Don't like that opinion?

    If you're underage, you have no voice and I don't give a shit what you have to say.

    If you are a parent, why the fuck are you allowing your kids to expose themselves?

  3. Anonymous Coward


    How naive is this? Of course they're not just "innocent silly buggers". They know exactly what they're doing, unlike the most of the members of Sheepbook.

    They want more profit, so they're "encouraging" people to open up their data. BS. Most of the people that use this service won't want to be bothered with all these complicated changes, so they're not being "encouraged", they're being pushed into clicking "accept" just to get rid of the annoying message and in the process, destroying what little privacy they've left themselves with.

  4. Paul 25

    It wasn't like that for me

    When I logged in and it gave me this choice, all the radio buttons were set to keep my existing settings.

    I clicked one button to continue and carried on with life as usual.

    So this is either a cock-up, or a change of heart on their part, or you are misrepresenting the situation to try an make it seem more interesting than it really is by setting all those buttons yourself?

    The article doesn't actually make clear if the second image was what you were presented with, or what you set them to based on a recommendation by facebook (which I obviously didn't read).

    1. lpopman

      titular agrandisement

      I had exactly the same radio buttont config as shown in the screenshot, it also recommended that I keep my current settings. I still had to set them by hand :/

  5. Citizen Kaned
    Thumb Down

    shit will hit the fan

    how frikking DARE they reset my security. i had everything locked down last week. (i rarely use facebook - its only so people who know me can find me) yet i look today and everything was on everyone!

    for people that dont use facebook a lot this is rally bad. why didnt they even email us? you shuldnt be allowed to open up 'private' info after a user has specifically locked it down!

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      That's actually illegal

      AFAIK, if you have provided your details with specific restrictions, opening up access without your permission is potentially a Data Protection violation. Unless you're in the US, where that appears to be A-OK.. Or unless you're in the UK, where the commissioner takes his dentures out before going to work. Or unless you're in the EU where none of what Brussels does is actually compulsory where it matters.

      OK, let's face it, you're f*cked. Better erase that profile completely..

  6. Ihre Papiere Bitte!!
    Thumb Down

    silly question?

    I don't use farcebook, so I don't know...

    Do you only have the choice of old settings vs everyone? I don't see any options for editing the old settings, e.g. A combobox to select friends / friends of friends / no-one for individual options. If you select old settings, can you no longer edit what those settings actually are?

    Oh, and my vote goes to cynical ploy. Many users blindly accept pre-selected options on everything, and that will benefit FB.

    1. lpopman

      titular spiel

      It's your way or the super-highway, I'm afraid. Friggin' annoying.......

  7. Mike Bird 1

    Defaults should not change things

    The default position on the new privacy options is to make it "open".

    Given prior debacles with social websites making things open, and sharing data that should not be shared, shouldn't the dailog defaults be "keep the same settings" ?

  8. Vincent Ballard


    Mine had "Old settings" selected by default for a number of entries, possibly because I'd previously gone through customising them.

  9. Alex 14
    Thumb Down

    Not here, it doesn't

    The "old settings" would surely be checked if your old settings weren't already "everyone". Was I just lucky to be only person who, when updating privacy details, had "old settings" checked when my previous settings weren't the alternative settings? Not very likely...

  10. DavidG

    Facebook becomes twitter/linked-in hybrid?

    They're only recommending you expose information that you normally would on twitter or linked in.

    It looks like facebook are just being competitive with rival sites...

    People still have a choice - if it's a problem... Don't share your details

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    checked yesterday and all good today wide open

    Thanks Facebook for steaming through any kind of personal choice i might have.

    Fortunately its to be expected from these leeches, sadly for international friends FB is the best tool.

    Oh and i have met all my FB friends in real life BEFORE they became friends on FB, i feel so old school!!!

  12. Coruscating Frenzy

    Someone's got this wrong

    The default options were to keep the old settings. That's what I found, and it seems that several other Reg readers got that too.

    So, is this a bit of anti-Facebook propaganda that you've punted as news without actually checking, or are there really people getting the 'Everyone' option as default?

    1. bigphil9009

      Erm, nope - My settings were the same as the Article

      I got the "Everyone" option when logging in for the first time in a couple of days, so it's not just "anti-Facebook propaganda"...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Mine all to everyone

      Just checked - yesterday all friends only, today all everyone.

      Class action lawsuit to follow?

  13. Test Man

    Backwards step

    It seems that public information is defined as a few things, including your friends list, which previously you could hide. So a backwards step definitely.

  14. Stef 2


    I've seen a Tweet about that.

  15. Bernie 2

    freely-shared data "makes it easier for people to find and learn about you"

    Well that's not sinister is it?

    Call me cynical but I recon anyone going to the trouble of finding me and learning about me probably wants to do something bad to me.

    When was the last time a stranger collected a whole bunch of info about you then used it to do something really nice and thoughtful for you?

    That's what I thought.

    1. Bernie 2


      Well I was finally curious enough to check this out for myself (I rarely log in to Facebook otherwise). My recommended settings were the old ones in every case and mousing over the buttons gave me details of what the "old" settings are.

      Having confirmed the change (or lack thereof) I can still go to the privacy menu and change settings if needs be, exactly as before.

      Basically, nothing has changed. This seems to be a way to get people who already don't care about privacy to explicitly agree to relinquish it.

  16. Phillip Webster

    It is bad.

    Seems there's a split as to which way it sends you with that initial screen.

    There is still a privacy options list of settings from the top-right dodgy menu system though.

    I would have liked more options than just "everyone" and "old settings" from that initial screen though, something like "everyone", "friends only", "friends of friends" and "old settings", with "old settings" set by default. This is the option given in the main privacy settings list, but I suspect most people won't ever visit it and so they'll either have "everyone" or "old settings" (which will quite likely also be "everyone"). Not really much of a help.

    In short, I think the privacy screen has been improved, but the "update your settings" screen is a joke.

  17. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart


    It never ceases to amaze the amount of crap that some of my facebook friends (No, they are real friends) post, their entire life history is on arsebook, ready to be harvested by information monster, hobbies, interests, holiday preferences etc. its a directed advertising nirvana.

    Maybe Google CEO Eric Schit-it is right; if you are concerned about privacy and personal data, don't post it online/ arsebook, I mean if you were in a real social networking place, i.e. the pub, you wouldn’t leave your filofax on the pub counter for everyone to look at.

  18. Graham Marsden

    Half and half...

    I've just logged onto my FB account (look, I use it for playing Scrabble, ok?!) and some of the privacy options on the "About Me" and "Family Relationships etc" section default to "Old Settings" and others are set to "everyone".

    On the "Photos and Videos", "Birthday" and "Religious Views" I'm given the option of "Friends of Friends" or "Old settings" but when I mouse over the buttons on Old Settings, it tells me that they're set to Friends of Friends already...!

  19. Anonymous Coward

    Friend list.

    I dunno about anyone else, but I can no longer find any option to hide my friend list from everyone. Now even people in my 'restricted' friend group can see it.

    There is a question in here somewhere.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    Default values

    When I saw this page, the default selected options were "Keep old settings", unless my old settings were the same as the suggested settings.

  21. codemonkey

    Funny this...

    Made me review my settings and lock things down :) Thanks for the prompt El Reg :)

  22. Steven Raith


    I ignored the faux-popup [IE cancelled it] this morning when I wanted to quickly upload a picture; I then went into the privacy settings. I'm assuming you only get the radio buttons if you agree to look at the privacy settings from that faux-popup 'window'.

    Went through and th emost annoying thing was that under one setting [contacts, I think] there are drop downs for "everyone, Friends, friends of friends" but not one for "only me" - you have to go into Custom for that.

    That reads as a deliberate attempt at obfuscating the option to not show your phone number, email addy etc to me - pretty shaky ground morally.

    Off over to me dads later on to make sure he has set his one up properly - he's surprisingly savvy at this stuff for a sixty-something year old who's career is almost entirely unrelated to IT, but I do like to make sure he hasn't made any elimentary errors....just in case.

    Not a massive fan of this, reeks of 'we want more advertisers to see your data' which while it is in their interests, isn't necessarily in the interests of 90% of their users...

    Steven R

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    I can see why Facebook wants more public info...

    When MySpace was what everyone was using most people had public profiles. For some reason when the world moved over to Facebook everyone's profiles became private. Consequently, just reconnecting with an old friend or coworker can be a huge pain in the butt because not enough of their profile is public for you to identify them from the 100 other people with the same name.

    I do find it silly that people with make their profile private and then proceed to have 400+ "friends". Obviously, they approve anyone that makes a request and connect with everyone that Facebook suggests, so if that's the case then why even have a private profile?

    That being said, I have no intention of make any part of my profile public. I quite enjoy ranting about my family and employer, so my friends list is always going to be actual friends only and my profile is always going to be private.

  24. /dev/null
    Thumb Down

    Executive summary...

    The important changes are that your name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, friend list, and "Pages" list now CANNOT be locked down and are visible to ANYONE (not even just Facebook members). However, you can opt out of Facebook searches and search engines, so I presume someone would have to know where to look before they could find your profile. A weak form of security through obscurity I guess.

  25. Law

    another "old settings" user....

    ... had all the old settings checked.

    Maybe it's country dependant? Thankfully - they also maintained the hundred or so applications I'd blocked, as well as invites from people who annoyingly invite me to everything, even though I've never accepted any!

  26. Anonymous Coward

    More friend list gubbins

    I think maybe you have to click the little pencil icon on the friend list on your actual profile. Choose the "Show my friends thing". You can't decide exactly who can see or who can't, but at least you can restrict if you wish.

    At least, I think that's how it works.

  27. MinionZero
    Big Brother


    I like the name Sheepbook, (although Sheeplebook is nearer), that web site really is perfect for ignorant sheeple to be exploited without the sheep even knowing most of whats happening to their data.

    Just looking at the privacy setting page shows facebook is a mine of data ready and waiting for any government and business to profile.

    Years ago, businesses tried very hard simply to find people's birthday so they could target/market crap at the people on their birthday and in their age range. Now thats so easy. Its now just one of so many ways they can fool the sheep into think, oh they care about me, they wrote to me on my birthday, how nice. Morons.

    I love the line, religious and political views. How ignorant does someone have to be to list that on facebook.

    This whole "brave new world of personal data sharing" is nothing more than a self fulfilling lie made true by PR from the control freaks, trying to fool sheeple into believing every sheep is freely giving up their privacy, so like a good little sheep they need to also join the flock/crowd and give up their privacy. After all, sheep, if you don't, you will be alone and without friends.

    Meanwhile the bosses are laughing at the fools and thinking profit, profit, profit.

    But worse is to come, because the politicians and their security service drones are also starting to swarm over this open source intelligence data. Not because people are criminals, but because all spying is ultimately about power and profit. But the sheep fail to see their freely given intelligence data gives the two faced lying manipulators ever more information to use as ever more effective lies to fool and distract large numbers of sheeple, while they and their ever richer friends in business continue to rob us all blind.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Exactly, MinionZero.

      I suspect most of the sheepbook users have never taken Economics 101, much less Marketing 101 ... I can understand why kids would be attracted to !GooMyFaceYouTwit and the like, but I have absolutely no idea why grown adults would make use of such a thing ... much less allow their children to use it.

      People are appallingly ignorant as a group.

  28. Yesac

    Empty gestures...

    Silly buggers.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No defaults here

    I've got 5 Facebook accounts for testing (work for a company that creates apps) and not one of them gave the correct default. They're all friends-only settings, as I'm only even friends with my own accounts so I can test gifts etc. Yes, I did originally go through and manually set every one to the tightest settings immediately after I friended them with each other, they don't even have my real name or date of birth on them, let alone anything else in the profile, and they all suggested the more open settings in the article.

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