Facebook is to make major changes to its privacy settings after the recent furore among users, and has said it will be a long time before any further changes are considered.In a press conference at company headquarters Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said that the company was doing one last privacy settings change. Users of the advertising-led Facebook Platform will be able to opt out simply, third party applications will see reduced access to user information and a full guide would be published on the site.“Since December maybe we should have gone slower, made our communications better,” he said.“Privacy is the most sensitive thing for many users. In my opinion, if we'd dragged it out over a period of two years things would have been worse.”“But this is the end of the overhaul we're doing. One of big takeaways we've got from this is don't mess with privacy stuff for a long time.”The new controls will be posted on a toolbar at the top of the Facebook home page within a month, one of the few times such an alert has been carried out. The basic Friends, Friends of Friends and Everyone categories will remain and the current settings will be available under an 'Advanced' tab.However, the company has committed to making the privacy settings current, universal and retroactive, so that all previous privacy settings can be controlled.From a business standpoint the most controversial move will be the single button sign-out from the Platform advertising platform. However, taking this step would block users from the vast majority of applications and may not be widely adopted.“Facebook still wants to support Platform and while balancing with users, it's walking a fine line,” Andrew Walls, Gartner research director told V3. co.uk.“The major item for advertisers is the ability to turn off Platform. Users can opt out, but as soon as you do you can't run Farmville and other applications. Turning off the application platform tuns Facebook into a retrograde mode, pushing it back a few years.”Zuckerberg said that the previous changes weren't motivated by the needs of the advertising industry.“The big misconception is that these changes were for the advertising industry,” he said.“Everyone who knows me knows that's crazy.”He continued that while Facebook listened to users the recent protests had not hi the compnay's bottom line.
Issue: 315 | May 2013
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