Facebook to Nuke Regional Networks

FacebookZuckerbergOpenLetter.jpgSay good-bye to regional networks on Facebook, and say hello to easier-to-use controls allowing members of the social-networking site to set who has access to their information and content, founder Mark Zuckerberg said in a post on the Facebook Blog.

Facebook users were alerted to the blog post by a special box atop their home pages (pictured). Zuckerberg said some of the regional networks had grown unwieldy, reaching millions of members. He also pointed out that the social-networking site topped 350 million worldwide users.

Highlights of Zuckerberg’s post:

Facebook’s current privacy model revolves around “networks”—communities for your school, your company or your region. This worked well when Facebook was mostly used by students, since it made sense that a student might want to share content with their fellow students.

Over time, people also asked us to add networks for companies and regions, as well. Today, we even have networks for some entire countries, like India and China.

However, as Facebook has grown, some of these regional networks now have millions of members, and we’ve concluded that this is no longer the best way for you to control your privacy. Almost 50% of all Facebook users are members of regional networks, so this is an important issue for us. If we can build a better system, then more than 100 million people will have even more control of their information.

The plan we’ve come up with is to remove regional networks completely and create a simpler model for privacy control where you can set content to be available to only your friends, friends of your friends, or everyone.

We’re adding something that many of you have asked for—the ability to control who sees each individual piece of content you create or upload. In addition, we’ll also be fulfilling a request made by many of you to make the privacy settings page simpler by combining some settings. If you want to read more about this, we began discussing this plan back in July.

Since this update will remove regional networks and create some new settings, in the next couple of weeks, we’ll ask you to review and update your privacy settings. You’ll see a message that will explain the changes and take you to a page where you can update your settings. When you’re finished, we’ll show you a confirmation page so you can make sure you chose the right settings for you. As always, once you’re done, you’ll still be able to change your settings whenever you want.