Friday, 11 December 2009

Facebook faces privacy backlash again

Social networking website Facebook has once again run into a backlash from changes being made to its privacy policy. As reported by the BBC, the new conditions were introduced earlier this week with a pop-up box asking members to review and select their privacy settings. However, like previous changes to privacy and usage conditions, the change is attracting a large amount of negative feedback.

Digital rights groups and bloggers have responded with criticism of Facebook's changing policy, claiming that these are unnecessary and encouraged users to share their updates with the wider online community, as well as making content available to search engines. However, Facebook has responded by saying the changes should help members to manage updates they wanted to share, not trick them into revealing too much.

This is not the first time that Facebook has received such a response to changes, which reflects the extent of membership and usage of the site around the world. However, although it might damage their reputation in the short term, it remains to be seen whether this backlash has a long-term affect on usage of the service.

Facebook began testing the latest privacy changes during 2009 before introducing them site-wide. The changes let users decide who should see their updates, whether all 350 million Facebook members should see them, and if they should be viewable across the web. A spokesman said the changes to privacy made it easier to tune the audience for an update or status change so default settings of openness should have less impact, although users still have the ultimate choice of what to place on their profiles or updates.

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