Facebook Privacy Changes: Users Urged To Revisit Their Settings
More than 350 million Facebook users around the world will be asked to review and update their privacy settings in the next 24 hours, as Facebook is rolling out major privacy changes. Facebook made an announcement today that it is finally abandoning its "network model," having realized that users might not want to share all their content with all other users in their network. From now on each individual piece of content that gets posted to a user's Facebook page will have a personalized audience. Regional networks will be removed and replaced with four basic settings controls - friends, friends of friends, everyone and customized. Moreover, the settings themselves won't be as confusing and difficult to figure out as was previously the case, says Facebook. The redesigned privacy settings will be made more intuitive and accessible. Facebook notes it is proud of its latest evolution in the effort to server users' changing needs, but has the change been too long in the making?
Facebook's old, pre-set, non-selective privacy settings made many people hesitate before adding their parents, boss, co-workers or life partner on Facebook over the concern that not all content they put out there on Facebook would be appropriate for all their Facebook friends to see. But, ignoring a friend request from a certain connection could be just as costly and reputation damaging, so many people friend people they do not feel comfortable sharing content with, which can definitely impact the kind of content they post. It is like a crowd censorship of a sort. Now, it seems Facebook has finally realized the inconvenience that their old privacy settings have created for millions of their users on a daily basis. And, in an unprecedented move for Facebook, they are letting users pick their own definition of "private."
On the other hand, Facebook privacy restrictions make it more difficult for organizations like NowPublic to scavenge for content online. The case for the importance of open online sources was made by the recent scandal involving White House "party crashers" Michaele and Tareq Salahi, whose Facebook photos from the White House State Dinner raised the alarm on the breach of the White House security. It is likely that the Salahis' publicly available photos will be used as testimony against them, should the couple be charged for trespassing into the White House without invitation.