Thursday, May 27, 2010

Facebook Upgrades Privacy Settings

Privacy is just a click away for Facebook users.

The social network overhauled its privacy settings to make it easier for people to guard their information amid a rising backlash.

The biggest change is a single option that allows people to choose who can see all their content -- everyone, friends of friends or just friends -- in one fell swoop. This master setting will apply to past information as well as future products from Facebook.

Before, people had to wade through a long list of settings for each Facebook feature.

Facebook also cut back on the amount of "basic information" that must be visible to everyone.

For instance, people can now hide their friends list and their interests from the public. Finally, the site is giving users the ability to block all applications, such as games.

Mark Zuckerberg, the company's co-founder and CEO, appeared contrite yesterday as Facebook announced the changes. "A lot of people are upset with us," Zuckerberg admitted.

Facebook is feeling the heat from users, lawmakers and privacy advocates after changing its privacy policy to make more information about its users public by default. The site also shared information with some of its partners, further upsetting users.

The privacy issue has already landed Facebook in hot water with lawmakers.

In April, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) called on the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit Facebook from sharing users' information without permission.
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