When we started Facebook, we built it around a few simple ideas. People want to share and stay connected with their friends and the people around them. When you have control over what you share, you want to share more. When you share more, the world becomes more open and connected.
Today, I want to share some thoughts on how we’ve evolved to this point, what we’re doing now to give you more control, and what you can expect from us going forward.
Looking back, the first version of Facebook was very simple. There were almost no features. There were no status updates, photo albums or messages. There was no News Feed or Platform. The only people who could use it were college students in the United States.
The way the site worked was that everyone could see some basic information about you and the rest of your information was only visible to people in your networks and your friends by default.
As the site grew and as we rolled out new features, Facebook became less about colleges and more about sharing lots of content with different groups of people. So a little more than a year ago, we started working on a new privacy model to reflect how the site had evolved.
As News Feed became more central to your experience, we added privacy settings so you could control who could see each individual status update, photo album, video and everything else you share into the stream.
As Platform became more popular, we restricted the way applications could access your personal information. Now all applications and websites can only see content that is already visible to everyone. They must get permission to access anything else.
As regional networks grew to include more and more people, we decided to phase them out since they were too big for you to effectively control your information. While this was not a big issue in the United States, more than 50 per cent of you worldwide were in networks that spanned whole countries like India and Turkey.
Replacing regional networks meant we needed a new model for control. In general, we recommended that you share basic info like status updates and posts with everyone, content like photos and videos of you with friends of your friends, and sensitive items like contact information with only your real friends. We asked each of you to look at your settings and choose what you wanted.
Since then, you have sent us lots of feedback. We’ve listened carefully in order to figure out the best next steps. We recognise that we made a lot of changes, so we really wanted to take the time to understand your feedback and make sure we address your concerns.
The number one thing we’ve heard is that there just needs to be a simpler way to control your information. We’ve always offered a lot of controls, but if you find them too hard to use then you won’t feel like you have control. Unless you feel in control, then you won’t be comfortable sharing and our service will be less useful for you. We agree we need to improve this.
Today we’re starting to roll out some changes that will make all of these controls a lot simpler. We’ve focused on three things: a single control for your content, more powerful controls for your basic information and an easy control to turn off all applications.