Facebook Rolls Out New Privacy Page


The new Facebook Privacy Page, available to the "majority" of people on the site, was launched as an online resource and interactive discussion forum for users who have questions or comments about their privacy settings and overall privacy of the site. The new page will host updates on new content, products and news stories related to online privacy, including links to the site's privacy guide and FAQ and video tutorials.

"Sharing and connecting are at the core of how Facebook works, and people share more when they understand what they're sharing and know how to control their experience on Facebook," said Simon Axten, a Facebook public policy team manager, in a blog post. "Remember, your privacy settings themselves have not changed with this update, we've simply added ways to control what you share with fewer steps."

Axton said that Facebook also plans to include updates on new privacy materials, tips on controlling information sharing and links to relevant news stories and blogs. The new Facebook Privacy Page is touted as a complement to the site's existing privacy guide and existing series of video tutorials that the social networking giant started releasing last week.

In addition to the new Privacy Page, Facebook also released a new video in its "Learn More" series, which provides a "how to" guide for information sharing and the new controls on users' privacy settings page.

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In recent months, Facebook has come under fire for its evolving and self-serving stance on privacy. The privacy issues publicly surfaced in November, when the social networking site launched new controls that exposed users' personal information to "everyone" -- that is, the entirety of the Internet -- by default. The site was further lambasted by privacy rights groups and Congressional leaders in April for its "Instant Personalization" page, which linked information on users' "Interests and Activities" profile to third party Websites and applications, without their consent.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that going forward, Facebook users will be allowed to share less information than before by being given a choice not to share information with the plethora of third-party apps that run on Facebook. However, users' names, profile photos and gender will remain available on public search engines.

Zuckerberg told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday during an appearance at its "All Things Digital" conference, that the social networking company was now taking a "people first" approach in trying to strike a balance between sharing information with Web sites and apps, and giving users control over how their information is shared on the Web.

Privacy watchdogs are skeptical about what they see as an ongoing "bait and switch" stance on privacy, contending that the company now has the power to exploit the copious personal data from its near 500 users to generate a enormous multi-billion dollar ad business.

Zuckerberg said that the heated backlash against Facebook that has risen to a critical mass over the last six months would eventually die down.