Facebook Considers Changing Privacy Settings

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Facebook is considering simplifying its privacy settings, following a backlash from users.

The social network told the BBC that a number of users had complained Facebook had "made things too complex."

"We're working on responding to these concerns. Watch this space," a Facebook statement said.

Facebook has come in from criticism from both government organizations and users for the changes that were made towards the end of last year. (See also: "Testing Your Facebook Privacy Settings: Here's How.")

The changes meant social networkers didn't need to be accepted as a "friend" to see personal information such as photos, videos and even wall posts. The only way to ensure content on your profile was not shared with other members was to opt-out.

Last week, the UK Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, called the recent changes "unacceptable," while several US senators also called for Facebook to rethink its privacy safeguards.

Recent research from security vendor Sophos claimed 16 percent of social networkers have already closed their account as a result of the changes to the privacy settings, while 60 percent said they were 'highly likely' or 'likely' to quit the social network in the future.

"This poll shows that the majority of users are fed up with the lack of control that Facebook gives users over their data," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

Most still don't know how to set their Facebook privacy options safely, finding the whole system confusing. What's needed is a fundamental shift towards asking users to 'opt-in' to sharing information, rather than to 'opt-out'."

The changes have led to a number of users creating a "Quit Facebook Day" which is encouraging social networkers to stage a mass exodus from the site May 31.

"A mass exodus from Facebook seems unlikely, but Facebook members are clearly getting more interested in knowing precisely who can view their data," said Cluley

Facebook would not comment on, however a spokeswoman told the BBC: "Some 10 million users have joined Facebook since the recent privacy changes."

"There is a notion that people don't know what they are doing but people are much more savvy about their online privacy than is often portrayed."

Facebook said that more than half of all users have tweaked their privacy settings following the changes last year.

"The fact that approximately half have accepted, and half are customising shows that our recommendations are reasonable,"

Last week Facebook held a crisis meeting to discuss the privacy changes and the criticism they have created. However, the social network wouldn't reveal the outcome of the meeting.

Instead, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said: "We had a productive discussion where comments were made and questions were asked and answered."

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    This story, "Facebook Considers Changing Privacy Settings" was originally published by PC Advisor (UK).

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