Facebook settings: private becomes default

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has obtained significant privacy changes from Facebook and other social networking sites may follow suit:

“We truly feel these improvements to the Facebook platform will bring a new privacy standard to the social web, the interaction with social applications online and we’re confident our users and developers will see the benefits,” said Dave Morin, senior platform manager, in Facebook’s press conference following the one held by the OPC.”

Levy expects changes from major social media platforms like Twitter, Google, MySpace and Microsoft over the next few months. “[They] will all very concretely and very proactively be addressing their own privacy policy and will be introducing upgrades to their services to make it more transparent and controllable by the end user,” he said.”

Now when a user sets up an account they can choose settings that make their profile more public rather than struggle to make it more private.

“The decision to file a complaint was prompted by concern over their younger sisters using the site, said Finkelstein. “If we were having trouble navigating through the privacy settings and privacy concerns, you can imagine what it would be like for someone 15 years old,” he said.

As senior law students, entrepreneurs and “techies by nature,” Finkelstein and Jordan felt there wasn’t enough transparency in the settings. “Whereas Facebook called these privacy settings, these were actually publicity settings,” he said.”

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