The Bright Side of Facebook's Unpopular Privacy Overhaul

While users cry foul, a handful of tech bloggers highlight the social network's improvements

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Many in the tech world lashed out at Facebook's privacy overhaul with alarm and disdain. But is all the handwringing overblown? While privacy infringement remains a concern, a minority of tech bloggers are focusing instead on innovative changes and helpful improvements made to the social networking site. Here's what Facebook got right:

  • Simpler and More Customizable, writes Kevin Bankston at Electronic Frontier Foundation: "The new changes have definitely simplified Facebook's privacy settings, reducing the overall number of settings while making them clearer and easier for users to find and understand...Perhaps most importantly, Facebook has added a feature that we and many others have long advocated for: the ability to define the privacy of your Facebook content on a per-post basis. So, for example, if you only want your close friends to see a particular photo, or only your business colleagues to see a particular status update, you can do that -- using a simple drop-down menu that lets you define who will see that piece of content."
  • Encourages Responsibility, writes Robert McMillan at Computer World: "To date, between 15 and 20 percent of Facebook's 350 million users take the time to adjust their privacy settings. But with the changes unveiled Wednesday, all users will have to go through a privacy configuration wizard to set their preferences."
  • Puts Users in Control, writes Tom Eston at Spylogic. He makes the case for Facebook's increased customization and online security: "The new way privacy settings are managed is a good thing. It's easier to find and navigate through the settings. The ability to fully customize privacy settings on all the content you post. So for example, you can specify if you want everyone on the Internet to view your status updates or Friends, Friends of Friends and Custom." Eston also likes that Facebook requires a user password when changing privacy settings: "It's just another layer. Now, this doesn't help much if you have a keylogger installed but it seems they put this in to prevent bots that may have taken over your account access to your settings. Again, not fool proof but another layer."
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