This just in: Facebook makes privacy simpler

By Anne Collier

Simplicity is what Facebook says it has been hearing its users calling for, so simplicity is the main focus of the privacy-controls changes it announced today. More user control came in a close second. Here are the three key changes, which FB says it’ll be rolling out “over the next few weeks”:

* “One simple control to set who can see the content you post” – only friends, friends of friends, or everybody – including everything you’ve posted in the past and in new features going forward, Facebook says in its blog
* Less basic information that’s visible to everyone by default. Users will now be able to control who can see their friends list and their pages (their causes, celebrities, brands, and other interests) – those two sets of info “will no longer have to be public,” Facebook promises.
* Users will have more control over applications’ and other Web sites’ access to their information. So if you don’t play games or use apps, FB says it’s making it very easy to “turn off Platform completely.” Or, if you “simply want to turn off instant personalization [of Yelp and other sites partnering with Facebook, based on FB users’ interests], we’ve also made that easier. Already, partner sites can only see things you’ve made visible to everyone. But if you want to prevent them from even seeing that, you can now easily turn off instant personalization completely.”

That’s it. Though users “who want more ‘granular control’ will still be able to access existing settings,” the BBC reports. But I think most of us really do want simplicity – for us and our children, so we can get on with learning new-media literacy together! And – thankfully – no more privacy changes “for a long time,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised in an interview today with ConnectSafely co-director Larry Magid at CNET, when Larry asked him about “privacy policy change fatigue.” To hear Larry’s audio interview with Zuckerberg, scroll down to the bottom of the CNET piece.

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