Siliconcowboy's Blog

Technology, journalism, social media and social responsibility

The Facebook Redemption

Facebook is still doing a lot of quirky things, but then, isn’t everybody?

Earlier today, Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged the social media giant’s foibles to an audience of industry journalists and bloggers.  At an invitation-only press conference, off camera, with no live feeds.

Not that he has any issues with control or transparency.

Indeed, the irony of this setup was not lost on anyone in attendance.

After a lengthy intro about the history of the “service,” through which Zuckerberg made it clear that Facebook has transformed well beyond its original target audience, the young CEO finally provided the promised insight into the new privacy controls. Fundamentally, they do three things:

  1. Provide an easy-to-use “master” control that enables users to set who can see the content they share through Facebook.  This enables users to choose, with just one click, the overall privacy level they’re comfortable with for the content they share on Facebook.
  2. Significantly reduce the amount of information that must be visible to everyone on Facebook. Facebook will no longer require that users’ friends and connections are visible to everyone.
  3. Make it simple to control whether other applications and websites access any user information. Users can now opt out with just one click.

In addition, users can dynamically select privacy settings for each and every post using a drop-down menu. And, there are no more regional differences in how the service works. Facebook appears the same to everyone, everywhere.

Has Zuckerberg achieved the goal of satisfying user concerns?

In general, I believe so.  It took most of the press conference to discern that answer, but finally, in response to audience questions, we got the answer.

“Our main goal,” he said, “was being responsive to what people were saying. To build a great organization, serve users first, not advertisers.

“We listened to the feedback we got, and we thought it was right. I think a lot of the steps we’ve taken make sense.”

That, my friends, is redemption.

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2 comments on “The Facebook Redemption

  1. Kristy
    May 27, 2010

    Now if only they would allow the option to control how much of our “recent activity” that we want published.. removing recent activitys posts individually are really annoying. Instead, we should be able to restrict it by activity type.. example: Don’t publish when I become friends with someone, comment etc.

  2. siliconcowboy
    May 28, 2010

    That’s a good point. And others have noted that there will still be new features coming, such as geolocation, which may require additional privacy features. Interesting that Zuckerberg said he believes they won’t be changing the privacy controls any more. If that’s true, we could be in for another round of default settings…

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This entry was posted on May 26, 2010 by in Tech Trends and tagged , , , .
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