back to article Privacy furore forces partial climb-down from Facebook

Facebook's revised privacy settings have been almost universally panned by users and security watchers, but at least one group is happy - internet marketers. A blog used by Facebook developers and marketers shows the group relishing the prospect that a lot more information is about to be shared. The only problem, for this …


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  1. Tom 15


    I don't really understand what this article is on about... a few weeks ago you could probably view around 5% of Facebook profiles of people you weren't friends with due to the fact that a lot of people had never changed their privacy settings and that you were in the same Network as them (e.g. London). A couple of weeks ago they got rid of Networks so the amount of profiles you could see who you weren't friends with dropped to less than 0.1% (these numbers are completely unscientific, but if you click on on 1000 random Facebook profiles, you'll be lucky to find 1 that you can now see as opposed to ~50 before).

    Previously all data on Facebook used to be a case of choosing whether you wanted it to be viewable by Everyone, Friends of Friends, Friends, etc. All they've done now is make it so you can add custom settings for every individual person if you so wish? I don't see how what they've done detracts from anything, it only adds more options (although in my opinion, somewhat pointless). The default is friends only for everything (maybe not for new users, but certainly for all existing users).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The problem

      is that the one time "simplified settings" page, if just blindly clicked through to get to your regular Facebook fix, would expose pretty much everything to everyone. The defaults absolutely were NOT "friends only" if you weren't really paying attention.

      To this cynical commentard, that looked a lot like hoping people would be asleep at the switch and not notice that their status updates were now visible to world+dog+marketers.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    At least they responded reasonably quickly

    I was pretty miffed to find that my 'friends list' had suddenly become public in the global search, with no way to stop that other than removing myself from the search results (which kindof renders a social networking site pretty meaningless). The fact that within 24 hours they've added an option to block that is pretty good - although one does wonder why they didn't beta test this on a small section of the Facebook community first.

    Fact is, I'm happy to share the stuff I choose to post *with people who I explicitly add as connections*. However, I don't want any personal details appearing in the public search results other than my name and a single photo (of my choosing) that may or may not identify me.

    Oh, and to the inevitable commentards who'll no doubt shout "if you don't want it public, don't put it there", shut it.

    Let's hope they learn their lesson and next time trial the thing first before imposing it on a couple of hundred million people....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Reasonably quickl;y?

      ... but just slow enough so interested parties could scrape up all the data in time. Still, you could always change your friends to make those copies obsolete.

  3. Anonymous Coward

    This might be the final reason...

    ... to quit facebook. I don't really use it other than getting the odd party invite which would come through other means if I didn't use facebook.

  4. David Austin


    Can someone comment in a simple "For Dummies" way to turn off the friends tab? Was looking for it on Thursday, can't find it today.

  5. blackworx

    Title for a comment that is yet to be written

    They have a vested interest in keeping the advertisers happy, ergo they will do things like:

    - fail to educate their users properly

    - hide meaningful privacy controls

    - hide the ability to REALLY delete your account if/when you decide to get a life

    Right, puuuuuuub!

  6. Mike Flugennock

    Long climb-down...?

    Why the hell should we wait for them to climb down when it'd be easier -- and more fun -- to just push them off?


    ...though I suspect they'd leave a fairly shallow crater owing to their being so... so shallow.

  7. William Towle

    Re: This might be the final reason...

    Call me cynical but you'll get a whole lot more "you *need* to re-join" nags than you do invitations.

    Naturally that's "you need" as in "I need you to do this so I can claim I'm 'inclusive' with my invitations without expending any effort to make sure it's true", not as in "I am aware of, understand, and respect your actual needs".

    And they call this progress.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    how to block friends list?

    right so how do I block my friends list then? I want to be completely unfindable unless I find them!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hiding your friends list

      Currently the only option seems to be to hide the friends list (or friends box) for everyone on Facebook, including your friends (nice step backward there). In your profile, click the pencil icon in the "Friends" box and untick "Show my friends on my profile".

      Hopefully they will soon return the ability to let friends see it but no-one else.

  9. Rob Burke

    Profile Picture

    I don't like that I can no longer hide my profile picture from non-friends. No more pics of me out of my face as my profile picture I guess...

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Data pimping shoot out

    It would be a tough call at the top of the "Worlds most hated" list to choose between politicians and anyone with a passing connecting to marketing/PR/advertising. The outcome of the general election in 2030 might well be decided by data sharing policies Friendface puts in place now - at least for those unfortunate enough to be both indiscreet and politically ambitious.

    Or maybe we'll wise up quick enough to put a stop to data-pimps turning private data into nothing more socially useful than shareholder value. By 2030 I've no doubt there will be plenty of politicians adequately motivated to do just that.

  11. Fubar75


    I deactivated my account with Facebook as I do not want personal crap floating around...but now I'm free of fb crap, such as getting notifications from farmville..or that should read farmvile? Goodbye facebook and good riddance!

    Shame on fb for forcing millions of users to have their lives under search engines...imagine in twenty years time after you get married, and your kids/grandkids will then see that information resulting in social embarrassments....

  12. Winkypop Silver badge

    You get what you pay for....

    ....and the advertisers/scammers get hold of whatever they can.

    FB just brings to 2 groups together.

    Ahhh FB, such great lumps of nasty FAIL.

  13. Chris Young

    Surely ...

    If you're that worried about it becoming public, don't put it on Facebook. I really don't understand the issue here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Don't call me Shirely...

      The issue as far as I'm concerned, is the way that it felt they were trying to force you into making previously 'Friend Only' content public by defaulting all your settings that way. It seemed pretty cynical to me and I subsequently removed all my content from the site.

      I'll still use it to send messages and update people on the colour of my underwear however.

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