Facebook Users Can Expect 'Privacy Checkup' Soon

Brandon Dimmel's picture

Facebook wants its users to carry out regular 'privacy checkups' in hopes of winning back trust. The privacy checkup features allows users to choose how much of their personal information is visible to the general public, including photographs, email addresses, and smartphone numbers.

According to The New York Times, Facebook's new privacy checkup is a response to user and investor concerns that the social networking site's privacy settings are too complicated, making it difficult for many users to protect their personal data.

Privacy Checkup to Include Walkthrough of New App Control Panel

Pam Dixon, an executive director at the World Privacy Forum, says the new feature shows that Facebook is finally getting the message from users concerned about the way their information is being used. "They have gotten enough privacy black eyes at this point that I tend to believe that they realized they have to take care of consumers a lot better," Dixon said. (Source: nytimes.com)

In response to these concerns, Facebook will encourage every one of its 1.28 billion users to carry out a privacy checkup that shows what is visible to the public and how important information can be protected.

The new checkup will reportedly include a careful walkthrough of Facebook's new "App Control Panel," which shows users the apps and websites that are accessing their information. Typically this data is used to create tailored advertisements to the user.

Facebook also plans to make users aware of its new Anonymous Login feature for mobile devices. The feature essentially makes it impossible for Facebook to learn about its users and pass that information off to marketers.

Embarrassing Privacy Episodes Reflect Poorly on Facebook

Experts believe Facebook is hoping to eliminate embarrassing episodes in which someone's information, such as a personal status update or photograph, is shared with the world. These kinds of episodes hardly endear users to Facebook, with some deleting their accounts afterwards.

Facebook has reportedly begun testing the privacy checkup feature limited markets, with plans to expand the program to all of its users in the coming weeks.

The social networking company has also announced that, from this day forward, all Facebook posts will be visible only to friends, rather than the general public. Since 2009 all posts had, by default, been visible to everyone. (Source: wsj.com)

What's Your Opinion?

Do you use Facebook and do you block public access to your information? Do you feel that navigating through Facebook's privacy settings is far too complicated? Is a privacy checkup a step in the right direction for Facebook? Lastly, do you feel any more comfortable using Facebook following the introduction of these new features?

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drstove's picture

We have seen stories like this about protecting your privacy in Facebook about every other month. Seems like just about the time everyone gets their privacy settings the way they want them, Facebook makes a change that makes the privacy settings useless. I will believe it when I see it.

DavidFB's picture

This is a PR effort, not a legitimate effort to improve users privacy.
Yesterday, tech sites were talking about Facebooks new feature to track your TV and music activity, purportedly to make it easier to share it. No need to name the show and episode as they already know.

Given their history and function, I don't view that as a privacy improvement.

Privacy and Facebook are not 2 words that belong together. Share it on Facebook and you should consider it public, whatever your settings. You've just shared it with multiple corporations in any case, who run it through algorythms.