This Week In Facebook – December 14, 2009

-This Week In Facebook Icon-Last week was a big one for Facebook as they rolled out their new privacy settings. Initially there was a fair amount of backlash and there continues to be backlash through today as each Facebook user’s friends are now publicly accessible to any user (update: this issue appears to have been resolved). While the privacy changes will continue to receive widespread attention, it’s a step forward in terms of user control over content.

Facebook Rolls Out New Privacy Settings

Last Wednesday, Facebook rolled out the new version of their privacy setting which they first demoed back in July. There was a lot of feedback from users related to two issues: Facebook now suggesting that users share more information publicly and user friend lists becoming more public. In regards to sharing more information, it was somewhat surprising to hear that Facebook would emphasize to users that they share everything publicly. Surprising because Facebook has always been focused on user privacy, but not-surprising as the company wants more information in the public stream.

Related to users sharing their friend lists, Facebook backed down a bit by posting an update which stated the following:

Now when you uncheck the “Show my friends on my profile” option in the Friends box on your profile, your Friend List won’t appear on your profile regardless of whether people are viewing it while logged into Facebook or logged out.

Whether or not this is sufficient for users is unknown, however we believe that Facebook should most definitely give users the option of making their contacts private.

Facebook Connect Surpasses 60 Million Monthly Users

Last week Facebook also announced that Facebook Connect had surpassed 60 million monthly active users. Only one year ago Facebook Connect launched, and since then the company has attracted numerous partners. At this point, Facebook has a huge lead in the online identity space given their 350 million plus user base and the large partnerships that the company has been able to foster.

Facebook Forms A Safety Advisory Board

Last week Facebook also announced a new safety advisory board. As described by Facebook the Facebook Safety Advisory Board is “a group of five leading Internet safety organizations from North America and Europe that will serve in a consultative capacity to the company on issues related to online safety.” The goal is to proactively work together with existing online safety organizations to protect users. Facebook has already begun working with the BBC and MTV to spread awareness about cyberbullying. By working together with these organizations Facebook can continue to improve their product in ways which protect every user’s security, something which is critical for Facebook to continue experiencing sustained growth.

FarmVille Surpasses 70 Million Monthly Users

Last week FarmVille surpassed 70 million monthly users which is significant considering that Facebook Connect as a whole doesn’t even have the same number of monthly users. It also illustrates how dominant Zynga has become on the Facebook platform. With over 100 million unique users each month and over 230 million active users across their applications, Zynga is ahead of all other platform developers by a wide margin.