Facebook Shares Stats on How Users are Handling the Latest Privacy Changes

Facebook’s traffic has yet to be affected by the aggressive privacy changes it made at the beginning of December, from what data we can see — it grew by millions of users over the course of the month. This is all despite outcries among privacy advocates and some publications. Is it that users just don’t care? The company has provided some more information on the specific privacy behavior trends among users — many of them do seem to care.

But first, some context: The changes prompted all of Facebook’s 350 million-plus monthly active users to go through a new “transition tool.” The interface offered users options to keep settings as they were, or make some information more open, like making your status updates available to everyone, for example. The move was aggressive because the more open new options were set as the default in the tool, and because Facebook also made some information public by default, including friend lists and other potentially sensitive information.

Did users just breeze through the tool without making any changes? Following up on a couple recent articles quoting Facebook team members on user privacy behavior stats, Facebook tells us that, “About 33% of FB users customized their privacy settings as a result of the tool.” This means that a third of the 350 million users chose to either make some of their settings more open or more closed than they previously had.

“In addition, 10 to 20% of users had previously customized their settings and these settings were carried over,” Facebook spokesperson Andrew Noyes tells us. “Thus, the total number of users who have customized their privacy settings is likely much more than the 33%. We believe no other site comes close to this outcome in terms of users exercising control of their information.”

He also adds another interesting bit of information: “We’re looking into the data on this but we believe many are changing the privacy depending on the content they post [via a new sharing selection option in the “Publisher” bar] and this will only increase the overall percentage of people that are actively controlling their information on Facebook. We are extremely proud of this.”