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Facebook Agrees To Make New Privacy Changes Opt-In 58

An anonymous reader writes "Facebook has reached an agreement with the FTC to make all future changes to privacy settings opt-in, presumably including new features with their own privacy controls. The Wall Street Journal wrote that the social network was nearing a settlement on the issue and now its Marketplace editor Dennis K. Berman says that settlement is for new privacy controls to be opt in. The agreement could limit Facebook's ability to drive adoption of new features, as they won't be able to immediately go viral. Users rarely visit their privacy settings, so Facebook will need to devise a way to get them to do so."
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Facebook Agrees To Make New Privacy Changes Opt-In

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  • by Y-Crate ( 540566 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:20AM (#38020818)

    They'll just remove the settings outright and mumble something about "streamlining".

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What's the point of all this back and forth with an illusion of there being two sides in this?
      Facebook considers everyone who gives them enough money part of themselves and not a third party. So they get access to everything anyway and any privacy settings are completely irrelevant to them.

      And yet, every time I come here, I see, what I can only call utterly ignorant idiots, argue over how those privacy settings are now good enough or not good enough.
      That's irrelevant!

  • Good thing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by swinferno ( 1212408 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:24AM (#38020854)
    Finally a step in the right direction from Facebook regarding privacy
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by wmac1 ( 2478314 )
      Facebook is a socializing website and "socializing is basically the opposite of privacy."

      When people put some information on social networks and internet, they should assume it is POTENTIALLY accessible to everyone on the internet (due to bugs, hackers, abuse of the website itself, law enforcement, intelligence agencies, ....)
      • Re:Good thing (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Luckyo ( 1726890 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:52AM (#38021128)

        It is? So every time you talk to your acquaintances in real life, you disclose all of the private information you talked about with your closest friend?

        • by Jawnn ( 445279 )

          It is? So every time you talk to your acquaintances in real life, you disclose all of the private information you talked about with your closest friend?

          No, I dont', which is what puzzles me so about Facebook and the tendency of so many people to do just that; hand over all manner of private information to a business that makes money by sharing what we give them with as many people as possible.

        • by mr1911 ( 1942298 )
          If your chosen method of communication is to write things on the wall of the only room you ever talk to anyone in, then yes.
  • They'll just spam non-adopters with endless ads for new functionality, requiring surrender of more personal details. Still, an improvement overall...
    • by EdIII ( 1114411 )


      They will just offer a golden chicken or some shit in Farmville and Bam!... the majority of all Facebook users just adopted the change.

      The rest will get an offer in Mafia Wars.

  • Probably a stern "tsk-tsk" and finger-wag from the FTC? Pffffttt...

  • by ksemlerK ( 610016 ) <kurtsemler@gmai l . c om> on Friday November 11, 2011 @04:32AM (#38020884) Homepage
    1. Accept our changes, continuing using Facebook. 2. Reject our changes, terminate your, your friends, and family's facebook accounts. Also, all personal emails on the account linked to this site will be deleted, and that account will also be terminated. Do you agree to the new terms and conditions?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:05AM (#38021188)

      More realistically, they have probably been preparing for this, as lately they are spamming with pop-ups explaining their new features. So they will probably spam people with pop-ups like:

      Your account can now do this, that, and the other! Would you like to activate it now?
      - Yes. (This is recommended, otherwise your account will lose vital functionality. Plus, all your friends are already doing it, and only idiots wouldn't activate this.)
      - No. (Well, I guess idiots like you are the ones that make us cool people look good.)

      Enough to trick people into opting in.

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        Yeah, the summary is wildly optimistic. I suspect the opt-in will be more like a one way nag-in with update buttons, pop-ups and incompatibilities so to socialize with someone that has upgraded you must too. Still it's better than the "Accept the new policy or we'll remove your pages" policy they used to have, my Facebook profile is more barren now than when I first registered as a result.

      • Gmail is already doing this for their ugly new email interface. There is a popup in their lower right corner of their screen that will NOT go away until you "try the new look"

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      If everything would be actually deleted, that would be great news.

      More likely it will be if you don't accept it, they will use and keep it in a less obvious way.

    • "1. Accept our changes, continuing using Faceborg. 2. Reject our changes, terminate you, your friends, and family. Resistance is Futile. You will become one with the Faceborg."

    • by subreality ( 157447 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @08:43AM (#38021866)

      If it would let me terminate my friends and family's facebook accounts that easily, I would sign up today.

  •'ll probably see something like this:

    "Facebook, in an agreement with the FTC... blah blah blah... more blah blah... legalese blah... more verbose crap no one will bother to read blah..."

    (and finally at the bottom of the page, in big blinking letters)

    "CLICK HERE TO (opt-in to our new privacy policy and) CONTINUE USING FACEBOOK"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Just rephrase the privacy settings to "don't share my data with everybody" and make these settings opt-in. Status quo preserved. Problem privacy advocates?

  • by mark_elf ( 2009518 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @05:52AM (#38021130)

    We’ve reached Facebook’s Director of Public Policy Andrew Noyes in an attempt to confirm the settlement, but he responded saying “We’re declining to comment.”

    That's the spirit!

  • In general people will click Ok after more then 3 or 4 lines of information so all Facebook has to do is writing an announcement of a hundred lines followed by "Press Ok".
  • by MichaelSmith ( 789609 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:20AM (#38021254) Homepage Journal

    My wife has the only facebook account in the family. Yesterday she got a page suggesting that she send friend requests to a bunch of people who she had never mentioned on facebook. She thought for a minute that this information must have come from her mail client on her computer but I thought it was more likely that it came happened because people she knows used a facebook feature to import their contacts directly from their mail accounts. So its somewhat good for FB to have these extra connections between existing users but its really bad for them to scare people by acting like a stalker. So if they want to look good they just have to stop scraping data from various sources and focus on keeping their customers feeling safe.

    • Re:Privacy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cbope ( 130292 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @06:30AM (#38021300)

      It's sad to say that even if you don't link any of your other accounts to your FB profile, your friends will by linking their address books for example. You don't get a chance to opt-in when the information comes via your friend's decision's to link anything and everything to their FB account. This is a huge loophole in the system.

      I don't allow any FB apps I choose to use to link to my other accounts, but I realize this is just burying my head in the sand at this point. I hope they will improve the system to be fully opt-in, but I really doubt it will ever happen. Being viral is part of the business plan and FB would probably not survive without it. It's unfortunate this means that any expectations of privacy of your information are not based in reality.

      • I noticed that when my wife navigates to my sisters facebook page, I am already in there as kind of a placeholder on my sisters list of friends. Its not too serious a problem for me because my sister has 432 friends, so I tend to get buried in the clutter but I suppose there is a risk that she will start fleshing out that empty profile.

      • Re:Privacy (Score:4, Informative)

        by houghi ( 78078 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @07:00AM (#38021452)

        I block everything. I have the following in my hosts file

        # Block Facebook

        The points to a seperate web site so it does not disturb my other logs. You could use

        Even better is to filter out all and stuff.

        • by rvw ( 755107 )

          I block everything. I have the following in my hosts file

          # Block Facebook

          The points to a seperate web site so it does not disturb my other logs. You could use

          Even better is to filter out all and stuff.

          Use the Ghostery addon [] and it will do this for you. Much easier to handle.

  • Personally, I like the approach taken at this new social network for food, Basically the policy is, if you don't want to risk your privacy, don't post it.
    • So you're saying privacy has no middle ground. It's On or Off. I strongly disagree.

      There's also the problem for people that DONT understands what they're signing up for.
      Very few reads and understands the legalese they're agreeing to.

  • by wickerprints ( 1094741 ) on Friday November 11, 2011 @07:01AM (#38021458)

    Whatever they might promise to do, you can be assured that they're going to find a sneaky way to turn it into a method to violate your privacy even further.

    By now, if you're still using FB, you really don't give two shits about your privacy, so it doesn't matter whether you're going to be given the chance to opt in. They already have you.

  • This is going to be no different from any other EULA. They'll give you the choice to opt-in and continue using the service, or make your account go dormant because your refusal to play ball jeopardizes Facebook security and keeping multiple versions of the site live is too great an expense to keep you. Then they'll just sit back and wait for you to decide it's not worth it to try and move everyone you know to G+, or Diaspora, and that whatever changes they've made aren't really that bad.
  • "Users rarely visit their privacy settings, so Facebook will need to devise a way to get them to do so."

    Easy! They can do it the same way they do now - tell one person so they update their status with "Do this or Facebook will delete your account! Re-post!!" and it'll spread like wildfire ...

    I mean, those are always legit communications from Facebook staff, right?

    • Facebook depends on people making things as public as possible.

      Otherwise does the idea of a 'wall' make any sense? Every time you post on someone's wall there should be a little button asking whether it's a private message or a public one, the private messaging system shouldn't be cumbersome and disconnected. But that would of course destroy their model - it depends on people passively stalking, eavesdropping on semi private conversations.

  • "Facebook will need to devise a way to get them to do so." I don't know how many people I've seen just skip pages or ignore notices because they just want things to work, and don't care how. I've been trying to convince my friends to fix their security issues and pay attention on what they clicks accept for on their new daily apps. I'm tired of seeing him scam ads and links spamming my news feeds.
  • Users rarely visit their privacy settings, so Facebook will need to devise a way to get them to do so.

    Farmville subsidies.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.