Facebook privacy policy’s new look

By Anne Collier

The new, much improved privacy policy Facebook just unveiled is more a guide to Facebook’s privacy practices than a privacy policy, as Jules Polonetsky, director of the Future of Privacy Forum told the Wall Street Journal. It’s clearer, more conversational, and has more visual aids. Facebook says the company felt the policy “should focus on the questions people who use Facebook are most likely to ask, because that makes it relevant,” so this latest draft (it’s kind of in beta and seeking users’ comments – click on the “Write a Note” button here) uses sub-headlines like “Information you share on Facebook,” “What your friends share about you,” and “How we use the information we receive.” Here’s the new draft policy, and here’s the current one. Thankfully, the new look changes nothing in the site’s privacy settings. The only thing I don’t like about it is the title, “Data Use Policy,” because I don’t think most people associate “data” with the comments, photos, and videos users post on Facebook (feel free to email me, via anne[at]netfamilynews.org, if you disagree!). I think a better title would be “Our Privacy Policy and Practices,” “A Guide to Facebook Privacy,” or “About Privacy on Facebook.” In any case, I hope this 600-pound gorilla of social network sites is starting a trend: privacy policies written for human beings!

Related links

* Coverage of this development in the New York Times’s Gadgetwise column
* “Social Web privacy: A new kind of social contract we’re all signed onto”
* Tons of NetFamilyNews posts on privacy
* Our Parents’ Guide to Facebook

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