Facebook's head of public policy told a radio interviewer yesterday that the company has heard users' complaints that privacy settings have "gotten a little bit too complex". Soon enough, Tim Sparapani said, more easily understandable "bands of privacy" will be available.
By "bands," Wired's Epicenter blog supposes that Sparapani means an easier way to change all of Facebook's 50 settings with 170 options at once based on basic sharing demands:
While it's not clear what those options will look like or if they will be presented to existing users, one supposes that at least new users will be given some broad options to choose from along the lines of "I'm an exhibitionist," "I like sharing with a lot of people, but not everybody" and "I'm a private person who just wants to share with friends and family." Currently, new users are set to very public defaults, including having their profile information shared with other online services such as Yelp and Pandora.
The proposed changes are unlikely to reverse the company's December decision to make large portions of a user's profile into "publicly available information" - which means even if you hide the fact you support a gun rights organisation in your profile settings, that's still findable online.
We'd also hope that Facebook learns to show users exactly what their friends, and the web at large, can see about them, based on the popularity of third-party tools like the ReclaimPrivacy bookmarklet and Ka-Ping Yee's public Facebook browser. Note, however, that Sparapani touted Facebook's other attention-getting features of late, like the universal "Like" button and web site customisation, so don't expect a total 180. Still, there's good news coming for those who don't have a sick day to call in to fine-tune their Facebook settings.
Facebook to Launch "Simplistic" Privacy Choices Soon [Wired.com/Epicenter]