Facebook is continuing to be heavily criticised by its users over changes to its privacy controls.
At the time of writing, there were almost 1,700 comments by users on the changes; which allows members' information to be found and indexed on search engines, to be imported and exported by the site and after it is deleted from the site, they have no further control over its use on the internet.
The most recent comments included general demands for the old privacy settings to be returned, while another user said that it was ‘pretty clear that privacy settings should default to maximum privacy instead of minimum' and accused Facebook of ‘a pretty transparent grab for advertising revenue that is expected to come from real-time search services soon. It's totally inexcusable that people were not warned that their pictures and associations were going to be revealed to the world.'
Another user said: “What kind of double talk is this about respecting people's privacy? It shows you don't respect people's privacy. How can Facebook say it respects people's privacy when removing ones friends list from your public profile does not actually remove it publicly? How can people trust any Facebook privacy setting if it doesn't actually do what it's meant to do?”
While another user commented: “You're doing a fairly horrible job, to be honest. I do not recall consenting to making certain pieces of information publicly available to everyone - including applications I have not specifically authorised. I cannot control access to my friend list, because it is ‘publicly available information'.”
Following the criticism, Ana Muller, a Facebook product marketing manager, posted an update, which said: “In response to your feedback, we've improved the Friend List visibility option. Now when you uncheck the ‘Show my friends on my profile' option in the Friends box on your profile, your Friend List won't appear on your profile regardless of whether people are viewing it while logged into Facebook or logged out. This information is still publicly available, however, and can be accessed by applications.”
Kevin Bankston of digital rights lobby group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), wrote on the Pinsent & Masons Outlaw.com blog: “These new 'privacy' changes are clearly intended to push Facebook users to publicly share even more information than before. Even worse, the changes will actually reduce the amount of control that users have over some of their personal data.
"Before, users were allowed to restrict access to much of [their personal] information. Now, however, those privacy options have been eliminated. For example, although you used to have the ability to prevent everyone but your friends from seeing your friends list, that old privacy setting has now been removed completely from the privacy settings page."