Facebook overhauls privacy controls

Facebook overhauled its privacy controls on Wednesday to fend off mounting criticism that it is betraying the trust that has made it the world's biggest social network.

"It's been a pretty intense few weeks for us, listening to all the feedback coming in from all the changes we've made," Facebook's 26-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg said as he announced simplified privacy controls.

"Our teams internally have been cranking for the last couple of weeks."

Facebook unveiled a redesigned privacy settings page to provide a single control for content and "significantly reduce" the amount of information that is always visible to everyone.

Facebook also said it is giving users more control over how outside applications or websites access information at the service.

"This is a pretty big overhaul to the system we already have," Zuckerberg said while outlining the changes during a press briefing at the social network's headquarters in the California city of Palo Alto.

"Now we are making it so there is less information that has to be public. People want a simple way to control the way information is shared with third parties, so that is what we are doing," he said.

The revamped privacy controls will roll out in the coming days.

Facebook last month sparked criticism from US privacy and consumer groups, US lawmakers and the European Union by adding the ability for partner websites to incorporate data regarding members of the social-networking service.

"Facebook has heard the call of its users and realizes that much greater privacy protections are needed," said US Senator Charles Schumer, who was among the legislators urging scrutiny of privacy at the service.

"This is a significant first step that Facebook deserves credit for. We will be monitoring this carefully," the Democrat from New York said.

Schumer was among critics urging Facebook to make all user information private by default and then let people designate what they want to share case-by-case in an "opt-in" model.

Facebook has rejected the opt-in model, saying the service that boasts more than 400 million members worldwide is based on a premise that people want to connect and share with friends.

"People want to stay connected with family, friends and the people around them; that is a core thing about what we do," Zuckerberg said.

"We really do believe in privacy and giving people control," he said. "There is a balance and more and more people want to share information as long as they have good controls over that."

The new privacy controls will apply to future features, including location-based services that Facebook is working on, according to the founder.

"Despite all rumors to the contrary, privacy is not dead, it is on its way to a comeback in the form of simplified controls and better policies," said Center for Democracy & Technology president Leslie Harris.

"While more work still needs to be done, these changes are the building blocks for giving people what they want and deserve."

The hubbub about privacy controls at Facebook has not resulted in hordes abandoning the service nor has there been any statistically significant change in time people spend at the website, according to Zuckerberg.

"We are making the changes because we think there is a right thing to do," he said. "We listened to the feedback and we agree with it."

Facebook privacy controls have had nothing to do with pumping up advertising revenue, according to the founder.

"The notion that we made changes for advertising is a misperception," Zuckerberg said. "Anyone who knows me knows that is crazy. We are trying to build a great organization, and the way to do that is to serve our users."

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Data Scientist

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A data analytics are currently looking t...

Insight Analyst Vacancy - Leading Marketing Agency

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: A leading marketing agency have won a fe...

Account Manager, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum, Benefits: Excellent Uncapped Commission Structure: ...

Sales Executive, London

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting entertainment comp...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash