Jules Polonetsky, co-chairman and director at the Future of Privacy Forum think tank in Washington, D.C., had praised how the new process resembles the way people decide what to share in their day-to-day lives. He said putting the controls “when you need it, right there, is far better than putting it in a ‘privacy’ or ‘help’ location” somewhere on the site.
Facebook now asks users to review and alter their settings through a tool that explains the privacy changes. People will be able to keep their old settings or take recommendations from Facebook.
The privacy advocates who filed the complaint, however, say the overhaul actually reduces the amount of control Facebook users have over their personal data. Their lists of friends and pages they are fans of are now easily viewable by the public, for instance.
That is troubling, because “even something as seemingly innocuous as your list of friends can reveal a great deal about you,” Kevin Bankston, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, wrote in a blog post. While it is still possible, he noted, to hide your list of friends from the public, the setting is hard to find–which goes against Facebook’s aim of simplifying the privacy settings.
Electronic Privacy Information Center
Federal Trade Commission
Future of Privacy Forum
Facebook press release about its privacy changes