We’ve received rafts of concerns about the newest Facebook Privacy Announcement and the new Facebook privacy policies – and even about Facebook’s privacy policies policies (like the policy of forcing you to revisit their privacy policies repeatedly, and requiring you to confirm what appear to be new settings or keep your “old settings” without giving you a chance to see or understand what your “old settings” were to start with).
The confusion started towards the end of last week, when Facebook users who logged into their Facebook accounts were greeted with this undefeatable pop-up:
Even if you tried, you would have found it impossible to avoid that “next step” and go directly to your home page or any other part of your own account – Facebook required that you go on to that next step in “choosing your privacy settings”, even though you may have already chosen your privacy settings to your liking as recently as the previous week (as had I, after learning and writing about how Googling your own name turns up your Facebook friends).
Now, this may otherwise be all well and good, except that the way that Facebook had set this up is that the next step looks like this:
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Note how many of these settings are defaulted to “Everyone”. The choices are to leave it at “Everyone”, or to ‘return’ it to your “Old Settings” – however, there is no way to figure out what your ‘old settings’ are without first hitting the “Save Settings” button on this page, because the system won’t let you go anywhere else in your account before completing this page and hitting the “Save Settings” button. This is perhaps not that concerning in this instance, as your old settings couldn’t be more open to public viewing than “Everyone”, but what about the “Photos and Videos of Me” setting, which is defaulted to “Friends of Friends”? What if your old setting is already “Friends of Friends” (or even “Everyone”) but now that you are aware of this setting, you actually don’t want anyone other than direct friends to have access to photos and videos of you – to make it more private than the “Friends of Friends” setting?
Now sure, it can be argued that it only takes a couple of minutes to save the settings, and then to go to the regular privacy settings area of your Facebook account and confirm or change your settings.
But that’s not really the point, is it?
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