Facebook Clarifies New Privacy Policy, Moving Forward With Changes

By Nick O'Neill Comment

-Facebook Governance Icon-Following a backlash of criticism for a new policy which permits Facebook to share user data without the user’s permission, the company has posted an update clarifying their position and announcing their decision to move forward with the policy change. It’s an awkward situation for the company as no product has officially been revealed and they don’t want to disclose product features to justify their policy change.

In addition to justifying the change, the company also noticed that much of the feedback was regarding products that already exist. The reality is that users still don’t know how to use their privacy settings effectively. While users are expected to educate themselves about Facebook’s privacy platform, many users still find the system excessively confusing.

As Barry Schnitt stated in a blog post today:

For example, some of you commented, in connection with the proposed new Privacy Policy, that you’d like to be able to hide your Friends List. In fact, this is something that people already have the ability to do. We announced this feature back in December, and you can read more about it in our Help Center.

Barry also emphasized that they are still finalizing the details of how the new expanded partnerships will function, yet Facebook is insisting that it will be a small number of partners. As Schnitt states:

First, it’s important to underscore that this will be a test with a handful of carefully selected partners to provide express personalization on their sites. These partners will be pre-selected, reviewed, and bound by contracts with Facebook – much like other partners we have worked with in other contexts to deliver unique and innovative experiences. For example, we’re working with Yahoo! to integrate Facebook across their properties, AOL to integrate our chat with AIM, and we first partnered with CNN.com to make their broadcast of the Presidential Inauguration more social with the launch of the Facebook live stream application.

Honestly, I still can’t figure out a situation in which Facebook should be allowed to determine who can access my data. This method of changing the privacy policy prior to announcing the product seems like somewhat of a back door technique but we’ll have to wait until Facebook announces the partnerships later this month.

For now, users will have to standby with their pitchforks ready to find out what Facebook has in store.