Facebook rolled out new privacy settings this morning. The basic change is that Facebook now encourages users to broadcast their status messages, photo/video uploads and profile updates to everyone, not just their friends.
As expected, privacy watchdogs are howling.
The ACLU complained: “We are concerned that the Transition Tool and other changes actually discourage or eliminate some privacy protections that Facebook users currently employ.”
The EFF wrote: “These new “privacy” changes are clearly intended to push Facebook users to publicly share even more information than before. Even worse, the changes will actually reduce the amount of control that users have over some of their personal data.”
What’s surprising is that for the most part, users are not complaining. Usually, when Facebook makes any kind of change, hordes of users create massive groups and scream at each other over how much better things were before.
Not this time, at least as far as we can tell.
We have some theories as to why this is:
- Facebook did a very good job warning users it was going to make this change soon.
- Users don’t actually care about privacy very much. Twitter, which has almost none, is very popular for a reason.
- Facebook makes it very easy for users to keep their old settings.
In reality, Facebook’s new privacy settings are designed to make the site less private. Which is welcomed news for many of its users, and good news for Facebook in its battle with Twitter.