Photo: Ludovic Toinel
Facebook hosted a press conference today at 1:30 about “making privacy simpler.”We’re covered it live.
To see the changes is in action, go here.
Today’s change come after weeks of pressure from hordes of media and privacy watchdog organisations.
LIVE NOTES (Click here to refresh):
1:30 – Hey there, we’re on hold. No music or nothin!
1:31 – After an intro from PR boss Elliot Schrage, Mark Zuckerberg steps to the mic. He says it’s been an “intense couple of weeks.”
1:32 – Mark says, “The kernel of what Facebook is, people want to stay connected with their friends, family and community around them and that’s a core human thing. It’s people everywhere. The best way to do that is to have control over what they share. That adds up to make the world more open and connected.”
1:34 – Mark says that Facebook is a much different thing than it was when it first launched, when there wasn’t even a messaging feature. IT looked like this:
1:35 – “Some of the things we have on the site now” aren’t served by Facebook’s original privacy settings. Mark says a good example is how people share using the News Feed:
1:37 – Mark says this was how Facebook originally handled privacy as it pertains to third-party applications:
1:37 – He says that was detailed enough, so Facebook is rolling out more granular controls. It will look like this:
1:39 – He says “this is privacy the way that people are actually using the site today.”
1;40 – Mark is talking about how Facebook used to restrict privacy by regional networks. Problem was, some networks were simply huge – actually they were whole countries. (Facebook India)
1:42 – Here is how “thefacebook” used to view privacy:
Then it became:
1:43, The effect of dumping Facebook’s global users into country networks was that more than 50% of users didn’t have any granular control over their privacy at all. So Facebook switched it to:
1:44 – Whew, one last history lesson before the news.
1:45 – Mark wants to explain why Facebook is asking its users to join groups based on their previously private likes and interests. The main reason: about 20% of useres had actual text likes. 70% already belonged to groups based on their interests.
1:46 – OK, the news.
1:47 – Mark says it has been hard for people to use Facebook privacy settings. He says granular controls aren’t going away, but that they’ve made people feel like they don’t have control because they are too complicated.
1:48 – There is going to be on simple control for Sharing. Sharing is:
1:49 – New settings and new products will default to however you set this. It looks like:
1:51 – Click “friends only” and it looks like this:
1:51 – Facebook is also changing “Basic Directory Information” privacy settings:
1:53 – You go here to adjust this information:
1:53 – Here’s what the menu looks like now:
1:54 – The next big thing is, that Facebook will allow user to block all third-parties from accessing their information ever.
1:55 – Applications will have dramatically restricted access to your stuff. Get there by clicking “turn off platform.” Then you go through a series of prompts making sure you want to kill the apps you use.
1:56 – Facebook also updated its privacy guide. There’s going to be a message at the top of homepages so that people will know about the change.
1:58 – Time for questions. Guy asks, “why should we trust you?”
2:00 – Zuck refers to Facebook’s principle. That it’s for sharing and that sharing is only done through trust.
2:01 – He says there are quantitative measures to tell how much Facebook has users trust. It looks at invites, and new user sign ups. The bigger meme among the user base is that Facebook might start charging for the site. On quitting the site: “We’ve seen no meaningful change on the stats on any of that stuff.”
2:03 – “Whenever we make a change the net promoted score always goes down, immediately. Then eventually it will go to a higher place than before. After F8, our net promoter score went down. We thought it was because of the privacy issues. It turned out it wasn’t. It was because of changes to the News Feed.”
2:05 – WaPo reporter wants to know if lawmakers had any influence on these changes. Also, did advertisers encourage Facebook to make changes. “We listen to all the feedback that we get,” says Mark.
2:07 – Facebook just posted on the Facebook Blog: Making Control Simple
2:08 – “There’s this big misperception that we’re making these changes because its good for advertisers. Honestly, anybody who knows me knows that’s crazy. There’s this idea going around that if somehow if people share more openly we can use it for better ad targeting. It’s actually the opposite. We don’t give any information to advertisers. They come to use and we target the ads.”
2:10 – “Our incentive is to give people exactly the controls that they want so that they can share as much as they want.”
2:14 – Mark talks about how he thinks people don’t actually want to keep ALL their information private., but “We really do believe in privacy and giving users control.
2:17 – Mark says News Feed was crazy, but that was 1 million of 10 million users. “When you have almost 500 million people using your service, if only a few % of them are upset, that could still be a larger group of people than the state of New York.”
2:19 – Reporter asks what did Mark learn. “Don’t mess with the privacy stuff for a long time. We hopefully have a system that’s going to scale.”
2:23 – “More than 50% of people on Facebook have changed at least one setting.” This indicates to Mark that “we’re in a pretty good place for the defaults and that they’re understandable enough for people to change them.”
2:24 – “We didn’t think about revenue at all” making these changes, says Mark. “When I was 22, we had this episode where Yahoo and Viacom were all trying to buy us. We reached a point where me and my friends were being offered more than a billion dollars for the company. I twas this really pivotal point for us because when you’re 22, any amount of money would not be worth the last few years we spent building up the company. We got together and made this decision that this is what we care about. It might be kind of crazy. It might seem weird. I alway read these articles that say you must be doing this to make more money that’s not true. It factors in, like, not at all. It’s such a big disconnect.”
2:27 – Nick Bilton asks how will Facebook avoid a backlash when it launches a location product. Mark says that the simple controls will hopefully work for that product too. Also, on what the product is, Mark says, “Frankly it’s not done yet we don’t know what we’re doing yet.”
2:29 – Did users stop using Facebook at all due to this? Did their behavoir change at all? “There was no statistically signicant meaningful changes.” So why the changes? “We think they’re the right thing to do. We listened to the feedback that we got and we agreed with it.”