The business and culture of our digital lives,
from the L.A. Times

« Previous Post | Technology Home | Next Post »

Facebook announces simpler, easier privacy controls

May 26, 2010 | 12:06 pm

Facebook Inc. is rolling out new privacy controls in response to complaints that the world's most popular site has infringed on the privacy of its nearly 500 million users.

Privacy Facebook founder and Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg made the announcement at a Wednesday morning press conference at the company's Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters. You can read the blog post here.

Over the next week, Facebook will offer one single control for how users share content, an easy control to turn off all applications and it will reduce the amount of information that must be visible to everyone, Zuckerberg said.

Facebook made mistakes in how it rolled out the changes last month and did not communicate clearly enough about the changes, he said.

So Zuckerberg and other executives and engineers holed up in a conference room to brainstorm ways to make it easier for users to control their information.

Gartner analyst Ray Valdes praised Facebook for responding quickly.

"This was clearly an all hands on deck situation," Valdes said.

Analysts say the changes may relieve some of the pressure in what has become a volatile situation but that they are unlikely to diminish scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers, privacy watchdogs and European companies who have complained that Facebook was trying to force users to make more of their information public.

Regulators have been urged to develop rules to force social networking sites to keep a tighter rein on personal information.

"It's not true that we don't care about privacy," Zuckerberg said. "What I am saying is that I think there is a balance. More and more people want to share information. As long as we have good controls over that, I think that's really where the world is going."

-- Jessica Guynn