Facebook admits to five years of chicanery with new privacy settings




Don’t get me wrong: I certainly like that Facebook is now changing the default post setting for new users to “friends,” rather than “public.”

But I also see it as an admission of long-running sneakiness by the social networking giant. As TechCrunch reports, Facebook changed the default post setting to publicly visible in 2009 for new users. Unless a new user knew enough to switch the default to “friends,” their status updates and photos would be visible to the world (stalkers and employers included).

It thus took five years for Facebook to realize what is common sense to everyone else: That’s just not right. And there was no reason for Facebook to set things up that way except for that it improved the site’s reach.

It was what was best for Facebook, rather than Facebook’s users.

Facebook’s privacy product manager, Mike Nowak, had this to say to TechCrunch: “We made the decision because we thought it was right for people and over time we’ve gotten the feedback that oversharing is worse than undersharing and that’s why we’re making this change to the friend setting now.”


Image of Facebook and magnifying glass via Shutterstock.

Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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