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Facebook Makes Privacy Settings More Obvious 88

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the false-sense-of-security dept.
CWmike writes "Facebook is making a series of design changes to the site to make it clearer to users who can see the content that they post, an issue Google has been criticizing Facebook about since it launched its own social network, Google+, in June. 'You have told us that "who can see this?" could be clearer across Facebook, so we have made changes to make this more visual and straightforward,' Facebook said in a blog post on Tuesday. The main change is that Facebook will now display the intended audience for a photo, a text post, a tag or any other piece of content right next to it. Until now, those controls have been on a separate Settings section of the profile. 'Your profile should feel like your home on the web — you should never feel like stuff appears there that you don't want, and you should never wonder who sees what's there.' Another change Facebook is introducing is allowing users to modify the audience of a post after it's published, which they couldn't do before."
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Facebook Makes Privacy Settings More Obvious

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  • by SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @05:59PM (#37184654) Homepage

    Is it me, or both Google and Facebook copying each other. G+ has animated GIFs, now Facebook has etc. Now this.

    • by ge7 (2194648)
      It just shows that competition is good. Facebook has pretty much added all the features people criticized them lacking. It will be hard time for Google+ now.
      • by DJRumpy (1345787)

        Added it back is more like it. A while back (think a year +), you used to be able to change the viewing audience after you posted something, and then that dissapeared a few months ago. You then had to remember to set it when you posted it, or you either had to delete it or live with it.

        I agree though, competition is good. I seriously doubt Facebook has done a good implementation though. For instance, you can setup different levels of who can see what, and all it takes is someone from a restricted list posti

        • As in, "It is OBVIOUS that you've been HAD!" ;-)

          You are, as always, private from each other, but not from Facebook, nor private in any meaningful sense from those with whom Facebook does business.

          Just say, "No, I'm not on Facebook."

        • by Inda (580031)
          After a month, I thought G+ was dead too. Then I started playing one of the games.

          In little under a week, I gone from having a dozen contacts to just over 150. The chatter is mainly about games, obviously, but there is no way in the world I can claim G+ is dead. If anything, I'm trying to find ways to stop people posting lol-cats on my main stream.

          Still early days. Give G+ a bit more time.
          • Stopping the lolcats madness is easy, I think. Just create a Lolcat circle and dump those people there, or uncircle them altogether. :)
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Asic Eng (193332)

        It seems Facebook has realized that Google has dropped the ball on privacy with that real name fiasco. Which seems to be getting even worse. Today when logging into Google+ I got this:

        Hey, this is important: Add a phone to your account Without a
        phone number, you could lose all access to your account if you
        forget your password or if your account is hijacked. Learn more
        [Phone number (mobile or landline)]

        Google will only use your number for account security. We'll
        never share it with other companies or

        • Majority of phone numbers are in the public domain anyway. Heard of a phone book?

          • by Asic Eng (193332)
            A phone book doesn't tie your phone number and address to your social networking account.
            • But if your phone number is listed in the phone book, anyone with an IQ above freezing (Celsius) can get your phone number from Google (or Bing, or Yahoo) trivially, without you ever having seen Google+.
          • Yes. I've heard of a phone book. They taught us about them in history class.

            Weren't these even commonplace, in the previous century?

        • I do believe Facebook does that (or at least did that) too. I've also seen that pop-up on other google services too. (No google+ as of yet though, seems it's still in beta)
        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          It seems Facebook has realized that Google has dropped the ball on privacy with that real name fiasco. Which seems to be getting even worse. Today when logging into Google+ I got this:

          It's not a new requirement. It's actually a Google Account requirement. It's so if your account gets locked out, there are alternate ways to contact you to unlock your account.

          Here, Google wants your cellphone number so they can text you a password to recover your account.

          It applies to all Google accounts - Gmail, Apps, Androi

    • Competing with each other is another way of putting it. Making stuff private is not exactly "copying" each other so much as it is "giving customers what they want."
  • Home on the Web? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ksd1337 (1029386) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:01PM (#37184676)

    Your profile should feel like your home on the web

    Um, no. A Facebook profile feels like a cheap apartment. They all look the same, feel the same, and even smell the same (okay, that last one, I don't know what I'm talking about.)

    A personal website, on the other hand, now THAT feels like my home on the Web.

    • by TWX (665546)

      For me, a home is where I spend much of my time. I don't see how a personal website or a profile page would be home to me- it'd be more accurate to say that Slashdot or some other site used day in, day out would be my "home"...

      Hell, for that logic, "www.google.com" is my home.

    • by ge7 (2194648)
      That might be ok for hobby or niche sites, but general homepages just about the people? That's a case when I seriously rather take the Facebook's common interface. I don't want to go see hundreds of homepages/blogs/etc with all different looks and features. If you have an interesting blog about some certain thing, sure, but not just for personal stuff.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by badboy_tw2002 (524611)

      What about an iGoogle profile page?

      And if Facebook is a cookie cutter condo complex of conformity, MySpace is a shitty shantytown of shameless "individualism". And I guess most personal websites are tree houses nailed together with primary colors and blink tags.

      • by ksd1337 (1029386)

        And if Facebook is a cookie cutter condo complex of conformity, MySpace is a shitty shantytown of shameless "individualism". And I guess most personal websites are tree houses nailed together with primary colors and blink tags.

        I actually do think of it that way. :-)

        Although, I'd say that the half-ass treehouses would be "personal websites" on Freewebs.

    • Your profile should feel like your home on the web

      Um, no. A Facebook profile feels like a cheap apartment. They all look the same, feel the same, and even smell the same (okay, that last one, I don't know what I'm talking about.)

      A personal website, on the other hand, now THAT feels like my home on the Web.

      Cheap apartment?
      A facebook profile is more like a window in the red light district.

      • by JDAustin (468180)

        A facebook profile is more like a window in the red light district.

        I thought that was a Craigslist profile....

    • 50% left turn here.
      Why didn't AOL slam dunk this back in the day when the Web was fresh and new? (cue Sunset Boulevard theme music).

      Facebook consists of a profile and some, what, 30 games? No chat rooms? No affiliate stuff?

      Why did we decide ten years later we pined to look at profiles?

      It even had Meg Ryan.

    • They all look the same, feel the same, and even smell the same (okay, that last one, I don't know what I'm talking about.)

      As well they should. Myspace did one thing right: it proved that you should not allow users to make custom backgrounds, change the layout or [shudder] make music play when you land on their profile.

      By the way, that's the smell. Myspace allowed you to stink up your apartment with crappy music. Facebook and google plus make sure you keep them odor-free, just like any good landlord.

      • by Serpents (1831432)

        Myspace did one thing right: it proved that you should not allow users to make custom backgrounds, change the layout or [shudder] make music play when you land on their profile.

        I think custom backgrounds work with twitter because the general layout cannot be changed so no teal letters on pink background or similar crap. I still instantly close any website which tries to play music at me without asking

  • by TWX (665546)

    Another change Facebook is introducing is allowing users to modify the audience of a post after it's published, which they couldn't do before.

    I've never tried to stuff a cat back into a bag, but I suppose it had to get there somehow in the first place.

    I guess as long as no one has seen it while out of the bag then you're okay.

    I do wonder what this'll mean for replies to posts. I never signed up for facebook, but it was a fun prank on IPB forums to delete posts when it made a reply look naughty or silly.

  • On G+ you can reply to Game events and it stays defaulted to the Game Circle you created for the Game App.

    On FB it's hard to do that.

    Now at least it's possible - plus no more of those tracking apps that "list your friends" in a "picture" to grab your data.

  • by guspasho (941623) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:11PM (#37184784)

    It's amazing what a little competition will do for your motivation.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:11PM (#37184786)
    So long as they keep changing the settings for you, who cares how clear they are? The issue is not how "obvious" the security settings are, its that facebook has a history of changing them without notice and exposing users information.
    • by crossmr (957846)

      In the years that I've used Facebook, my settings have never been changed. Facebook has only "changed" settings for people who never changed their own settings in the first place. If you left everything default full open, then when they added new controls, those were also left default full open.
      Anyone who'd ever changed their settings never had them changed.
      All the people whinging and moaning last year over this were people who'd never taken the time to change their settings in the first place.

      • by greg1104 (461138)

        You weren't paying very much attention then to what was being done with your data. Facebook Beacon [wikipedia.org] was one of the worst privacy violations I've ever run into, bad enough for them to lose a class action lawsuit over it. The Face Recognition [nytimes.com] feature was also enabled by default, letting data collected from your pictures be used to tag your face in other people's pictures you appeared. If that doesn't seriously concern you [forbes.com], you should reconsider just what else could happen with that data.

    • by AbRASiON (589899) *

      Rather than moderate this guy up - I need to chirp in and respond that YES, he's precisely correct. Facebook have done this MULTIPLE TIMES.
      I don't care how easy the security is to work with, I care about them fucking resetting it on me.

  • Don't they reset privacy setting every once in a while or something like that? I don't pay them a lot of attention.

    • by thsths (31372)

      > Don't they reset privacy setting every once in a while or something like that? I don't pay them a lot of attention.

      Yes, that would be my bigger complaints. You can restrict access in facebook, but you always have to be on the ball, because new features are opt-out, and they often "ruin" (supposedly inadvertently) your privacy settings. Ok, it hasn't happened since this announcement, but I would expect that to continue.

  • by Rumagent (86695) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:14PM (#37184824)

    Too little, too late.

    • "This time it will be different"

      Facebook users all seem to suffer from battered wife syndrome when it comes to privacy issues. If you accept that you have no privacy on FB, OK... but believing they actually give a crap about your privacy after all that has happened it just delusional.

  • "Another change Facebook is introducing is allowing users to modify the audience of a post after it's published, which they couldn't do before."

    Finally. Why did this have to take so long to implement? I was considering deleting all posts I made that were viewable by everyone to clean up my profile for future job interviews. Luckily now I don't have to.

  • by Geurilla (759701) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:18PM (#37184850)

    It only took them seven years to make these changes, too. And what a coincidence that they roll these out right after G+ launches with these features out of the gate.

    In terms of privacy, their problem is not a lack of features. Their problem is trust. And after years and years of hard work to make me never trust them they have succeeded. New privacy features just can't fix that. Too little, too late

  • I wonder if this has anything to do with the reported exodus of users (especially in North America)? Or competition from Google+?
  • The discoverability of these features is almost as important as their existence.
    In place privacy controls let people make informed choices about what gets shared instead of having to correlate unclear descriptions from privacy settings page with the GUI and layout they're familiar with.
    Previously, I bet Facebook was betting that the difficulty of implementing privacy settings as user intended would be enough to have them choose the defaults thinking that increased access to their content by friends, and the

  • by crow (16139) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @09:12PM (#37186322) Homepage Journal

    Google+ lets you specify which circles to share each post with. That's fine. Except that you don't share with circles, you share with people. This is a big difference, and a big problem.

    Let me explain.

    When you share something and say which circles to share it with, Google converts that into a list of all the people in those circles. This is all good and fine as long as your circles don't change. But suppose my mother joins, and I add her to my Family circle. I would expect her to be able to see photos that I've previously shared with my Family circle. No such luck. And suppose I realize that someone shouldn't be in a circle, I can remove them from the circle, but I can't stop them from seeing that post I just shared with that circle without removing the post.

    Google needs to fix this so that posts are shared with circles, not people.

  • Yay, something useful. And something I'd like to see Google+ do, too. It's been a feature all along on Multiply [multiply.com], which I used for, gosh, 7 years? But it was hamstrung by their less-than-slick implementation of friend lists.

  • Your profile should feel like your home on the web — you should never feel like stuff appears there that you don't want, and you should never wonder who sees what's there.

    That's they way I read this. I thought this was their wish from the beginning; don't think, just post.

  • > You should never wonder who sees what's there

    No, you shouldn't, especially not who sees it because we sold it to them. Go and play some more farmville, like a good little product.

  • The benefits of competition. Facebook never would have done this without competition from Google+

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