Facebook Research Team Asking Users How Open They Want to Be on Facebook

One month ago today, Facebook started testing a new version of the “publisher” that allows users to choose who can see their status updates and posts.  Unlike previous versions of the publisher, the new version puts significant emphasis on much more open sharing – for example, the first privacy option in the list is “everyone.”

While the new publisher – an important stepping stone toward the future of Facebook Search – is still under testing, Facebook’s research team is asking users how open they would describe themselves as being in recent surveys.

The first question in the two-question survey asks users how much they would agree with the statement “Facebook cares about its users’ privacy and security” on a scale from 1 to 5. The second question asks users to choose which of the following best describes themselves:

  • Very open – I wouldn’t mind if everyone could see all of the information I share on Facebook
  • In between – I don’t mind if everyone can see some of my information, but certain information I only want to share with my close friends or family
  • Private – I only share things with people I know

While ultimately everyone falls somewhere “in between,” it’s possible that Facebook could use data it’s collecting to shift how far down the open side of the spectrum it goes with broader rollouts of the new pro-public-sharing publisher in the coming weeks and months. We wouldn’t be surprised to see Facebook take a more gradual approach, as some users are bound to misunderstand the new settings.