The New Facebook Privacy Changes: A Primer and To Do List

by Joanna Pineda Posted on January 5, 2010

On December 9, Facebook rolled out new privacy options to its 350 million users. When I logged onto Facebook that Wednesday, I was greeted by a message that asked me to review the new privacy policy and review my privacy settings. Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg blogged about the new changes, which were greeted with raised voices on both sides. Here are some of the major changes:

Advocates for the new privacy changes praised the simplified settings and the increased control over every single post.  Critics, however, are livid over the fact that the default option was to make nearly everything on a person’s profile available to Everyone (that is, until users edited their settings and posts) and the fact that some information is strictly public and can’t be edited.  For example, you can no longer limit who can see your list of friends and your public profile always shows the Facebook pages that you are a fan of.  I know I was ticked off that even though I edited my privacy settings so that my photo albums are globally only available to Friends, Facebook made my existing photo albums publicly available until I edited each one manually.

If the new privacy settings and changes confuse you, here are my recommendations:

If you want to learn more about the new Facebook privacy changes, here are some good articles:

How about you?  What do you think of the new privacy changes?  Have you reviewed and tweaked your privacy settings?  What do you like about the new changes?  What’s making you crazy?

6 replies on “The New Facebook Privacy Changes: A Primer and To Do List”

Thanks for another great post that makes the changes easy for everyone to understand.

I didn’t like that the new settings made all of my information public as the default, but at the same time I appreciated that it forced me to go in and change everything manually. I admit that that helped me better understand all of the privacy settings and functions of Facebook (because they’re easier to understand in general now), and I have a better grasp of them.

Great blog post. I reposted it to my own FB page and allowed all my 500+ friends to see it, urging them to take precautions. (Normally I only ppost status updates to my 80 or so closest friends–love using the “groups” on FB and the new privacy settings for each post).

I opened things up more. I figure that I don’t post things to Facebook to keep them to myself or certain people, so opening it up more allows me to continue to market myself, but to a wider group of people. I’ve always been pretty veiled about what I posted there, as I never trust anything posted to the internet to remain private anyways.


Thanks for all of the comments!

Susan, thank you for posting to your Facebook page! 500 friends? Wow!

Garry, I am now doing the same thing. I never reveal really personal, intimate stuff on Facebook; it’s just too public. I used to only friend “true” friends but with the new privacy settings, I’m inclined to friend more people. I post family stuff to family and close friends, and less personal posts and links to everyone.

So the new settings are working for me!

Great blog! While some may not agree with the default decisions Facebook made, the new functionality was clearly an enormous step forward for making Facebook a more useful and practical tool for communication. Let’s face it, if cell phones dialed everybody in our phonebook every time we wanted to use them, their use would be limited. Facebook has given us the ability to communicate and collaborate with specific audiences versus a single broadcast. The biggest complaint I’ve heard regarding social media is the ability to separate business and personal. Now, not only can you do that, but you can create virtually limitless groups (or roles) allowing for relevant and specific dialogue to only those of your choice. e.g. family, college buddies, customers, co-workers, etc…

This was not a devious plot by Facebook to divulge our deepest secrets to the world, but a necessary step in the evolution of social media. As for those infamous default decisions, I understand why it may disturbing to some, but it makes most sense in the open and viral spirit of social media. While I still believe each individual should use judgment when sharing information in any manner, they have now given us the tools to use social media in power new ways. …many of which, we still haven’t even thought of.

I think it’s a huge violation of privacy. It isn’t safe to open up like that. If you want to hurt someone you find their friends or family. Facebook now gives stalkers or harassers easy access. If you want to share your friends you should have the choice, but not be forced. They just published everyone’s friends lists who had them hidden. Their excuse that it’s the social norm completely invalidates those who value privacy.

I have both friends and associates on my facebook page, and really don’t want my casual acquaintances deciding to contact my close friends. Some people get on there because they want 500 friends, and some people just enjoy the occasional hello and photo update.

I have read numerous people saying that they want to hide their friends from not just but the public, but also their friends. In what other situation, personal or business, are you forced to reveal your contacts? It’s like facebook is saying if you want to be a social person then you can’t have any personal boundaries.

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