MySpace Simplifies Privacy Settings

The fading social networking site MySpace is looking to capitalize on its rival's recent bad press. In a letter to users Monday, MySpace co-president Mike Jones announced that the company is planning to launch simplified privacy settings to help protect its users' information.

The simplified settings will be implemented over the next few weeks, but MySpace felt the need to announce them now, "given the recent outcry over privacy concerns in the media." The update does not necessarily change MySpace settings, but rather makes it easy for users to protect their privacy with a single click.

The current MySpace levels of privacy will remain--"friends only," "public," and "public to anyone 18 or over"--but now users will be able to switch all of their content to "friends only" with one setting. Also, MySpace notes that when the changes to privacy are made, any user with any granular page set to "friends only" will by default have their entire MySpace account set to "friends only."

This is a notably different approach from MySpace rival Facebook, whose latest privacy settings feature 50 settings and over 170 options--and no "single-click" option. Facebook is also notorious for changing settings aggressively and requiring users to opt-out of, rather than opt-into, privacy settings.

While some MySpace users might prefer the current, more customizable, approach to privacy (in which users can choose which pages/photos/etc. are "friends only" and which pages are "public"), simplifying things will certainly leave no room for questions. Also, there's such a thing as too customizable--Facebook's ridiculous amount of customization has been lambasted for being confusing and too complicated.

So, while I don't necessarily think MySpace will gain a lot of traction in Facebook's privacy-fiasco wake, I do applaud them for trying.

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