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Facebook Once Again Redefines “Public”

It is no secret that Facebook users have been voicing their concerns about privacy.  Facebook is commonly accepted as the “king” of social media, and as it continues to expand its grasp on the web, users need to be more aware of what they are posting, and who can see it.  Several Mashable articles have recently brought this to my attention, especially Facebook Open Graph: What it Means for PrivacyFacebook CEO: We Will Add Simpler Privacy Controls, and New Facebook Privacy Controls Arrive on Wednesday.  I’m sure you’ve noticed as you’ve clicked around the internet the highly growing number of websites now integrated with the social site.  Facebook has refurbished the “Facebook Connect” platform they had been using, and expanded visibility of user actions.  Basically, if you are logged into Facebook, and begin exploring other affiliated websites, that website can automatically link your Facebook information.  For example, if you happen to be reading an article at CNN.com, CNN can read your Facebook information and let you know how many people have “recommended” that specific article, and if any of those people are your friends.  If none of your friends have already done so, it will suggest that you be the first.  This directly follows Mark Zuckerberg’s idea that sharing makes the world a better place.

However, despite the fact that this ability to share does enhance the web experience of users, it heightens concerns about privacy. The amount of visibility across these third-party sites is huge, and many users do not fully understand how to best apply privacy settings.  The desire for simplified settings has been expressed across the board, and Facebook is responding.  In a Washington Post article on Monday, Zuckerberg referenced a new, simplified model for privacy settings coming “in the coming weeks”.

Last week, Facebook executives revealed the changes, outlined in an easy-to-read article by Larry Magid of The Mercury News.

At Serendipit, we manage Facebook pages for each of our clients, with many clients having more than one.  While increased privacy settings could have a positive effect on the individual, there is the possibility that they will negatively impact the business side of Facebook.  However, as Zuckerberg clearly places huge value on Facebook as a business tool, I am confident he has considered all possible effects.

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