After Facebook Privacy Fix, Are We Finally Safe?

"It's complicated"

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After weeks of mounting criticism over Facebook's labyrinthine privacy settings, the social network finally caved Wednesday. CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted the company "missed the mark" and announced sweeping changes to Facebook's privacy settings. Should users at last rest easy about their personal photos, videos and wall posts? Depends on who you ask (after the jump):

  • Our Privacy Problem Is Solved! applauds Slate's Farhad Manjoo: "I found the new settings drop-dead simple to use... The privacy page is dominated by three big master switches. The buttons are marked 'Everyone,' 'Friends of Friends,' and 'Friends.' Pressing one of those will decide most of your Facebook privacy settings in one go... It took me just a couple of minutes to find most sections of the page, and the master switches do take care of the most pressing criticism that the site has faced--that confusing settings were causing people to inadvertently share too much with everyone on the Internet."
  • Facebook Gets a 'B' for Simplicity, writes Ian Paul at PC World: "Facebook's new privacy controls look a lot better than before, but there are still a lot of Web pages you have to wade through to fully control your privacy. Current Facebook settings require you to go through six pages and their respective sub-pages to get all your settings, while the new controls require you to go through four pages: Basic Directory Information, Sharing on Facebook, Applications and Websites, and Block Lists. But there's no telling how many sub-settings are underneath these four new simplified sections. I haven't been able to get a close look at these settings yet, but I have to wonder just how effective these new controls will be. Also, there are some privacy controls that aren't filed under your Privacy settings, but instead are stashed in your Account Settings and your Profile page. That gets really confusing."

  • Stil Too Complex, writes Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land: "I'd give it an A for effort but a C+ to B- for actually solving the overload problem... It's a far cry from the simplified structure some wanted and that Facebook claims to have delivered. To fully understand how Facebook may be sharing your information, you have to drill-down into three of the four major areas. Once in some of these, there is further drilling to do. It's less work than in the past, but there's still a whole lot of drilling going on."
  • Still Pushing You to Overshare, complains the never-easy-to-please Ryan Tate at Gawker: "Facebook recommends you make all your photos, status updates and posts visible to the world. Users have said time and again that this is the sort of information they'd rather keep private, especially when it comes to photos. Facebook should keep this information private by default, and let not-so-private people change the settings to share more freely. Of course, that would make it harder to compete with the likes of Twitter, which has tons of public status updates and pictures."
  • For Personal Use, I'm Satisfied, writes Robert Scoble: "Facebook largely solved its privacy problems by giving us simpler choices and giving us more control over our info and what we want shared with whom and I think Zuckerberg won over enough of the critics to -- at minimum -- allow us to move the discourse around Facebook to other issues than just privacy."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.