Live From Today's Facebook Privacy Call

By Nick O'Neill Comment

-Facebook Privacy Enhancements Icon-Back in July we covered Facebook’s new privacy settings that are supposed to begin rolling out later today. In preparation for the changes, Facebook is hosting a press call today to discuss the impending changes. We will be covering the event live as well as posting a follow-up article about all the changes with screenshots, etc. If you have any questions regarding the changes, please feel free to post them in the comments and we will try to clarify them on the follow-up article.

[11:00 AM] – On hold, waiting for the conference call to go live.

[11:09 AM] – Barry Schnitt just came on the line and is discussing the people on the call. Elliot Schrage, Richard Allen, Chris Cox, Annie Yang.

[11:10 AM] – Elliot Schrage is now discussing the volume of content shared on the site daily. [We’re recording this and will be posting an update following this post with a summary] The tools being unveiled today underwent testing earlier this year, and there are four goals behind them: Defining a new model of personalized privacy, giving users greater control, making privacy more simple, and helping people connect more easily.

[11:14 AM] – Elliot is highlighting how users will be required to review their privacy settings as this transition begins later today.

[11:15 AM] – Richard Allen will now discuss the specific changes being made today. He’s discussing the removal of the regional networks. Something which has been highlighted over the past few months. Regional networks will be replaced with four settings: “Everyone, Friends of Friends, Only Friends, and Customize”. There will be a fifth option called “Friends of Networks” which will be for people within a “verified network” such as work networks. Users can still specify where they are from in their profile.

[11:17 AM] – Chris Cox (VP of Product Management) is now on the call. Chris is now discussing the privacy options which will be embedded into the publisher. (This is something we’ve highlighted in the past.) It will enable users to control who can see content that they post including specific friend lists.

[11:19 AM] – Chris is now discussing how the settings are being simplified. The privacy settings page has been completely redesigned now. (We will be posting screenshots of these following the call).

[11:20 AM] – All applications on the Facebook Platform will have access to publicly available information as defined by each user, and all other information will require explicit consent from users.

[11:20 AM] – Annie Yang is now on the call. She is going over the Transition Tool which users will see when they login to the site later today. Annie is also going over the new privacy guide page that Facebook will provide so that users have a greater understanding of privacy settings. Annie is also displaying the new “updated privacy settings” page which will help users transition. Interestingly, this screen appears to recommend that users make public “Posts I create”. I’m assuming the aim is for users to make more information publicly available so that the public stream is more reflective of content being shared on Facebook. We will post a clarification about this later.

[11:27 AM] – The call is now being wrapped up by Elliot Schrage. The call is also being opened up for questions. We’ll be asking about whether or not all users will have it recommended that they make status updates public to everyone. One clarification from Elliot is that “Everyone” for minors does not mean it’s accessible anywhere on the web.

We asked first if users are being suggested “Everyone” by default for status updates. Chris Cox said “that’s correct” however Elliot Schrage stated that if a user has ever changed their settings to something that’s more restrictive than “everyone”, they will have a recommendation that’s more consistent with your previous settings. It will only suggest “Everyone” for status updates if you’ve never made a selection in the past.

[11:34 AM] – Question from the BBC is “How many users have customized their privacy settings to date?” Elliot states that they’ve estimated 15 to 20 percent have adjusted their privacy settings so far. [In theory this means that approximately 80 percent of users will have it recommended that their status updates and links will be made public to everyone. This is a huge strategic shift which we will highlight in a later post.] [11:43 AM] – Facebook is getting through the remaining questions. We will be posting a copy of the slides and the call shortly.