Facebook says it's fixing privacy tools

Posted by David Khoirul
The social networking giant, Facebook, finds itself facing the wrath of many of its users. Privacy advocates also accuse it of passing out too much personal information to advertisers, and the current spat over Facebook has led to a renewed debate about privacy in the internet era. Facebook defended itself on the basis of advertising practices followed across the web. The site, this year, posted more banner ads than any other, and it has continuously altered its stance on privacy and only last month had decided to make each user's profile information public by default. Its privacy policies are also difficult to understand. It appears that to manage privacy on the site, one has to manage 50 settings with more than 170 options.

Facebook started a program allowing Web sites to access the public information of users who clicked Facebook "like" buttons and another to share users' public information with corporate partners such as Yelp and Pandora to allow them to personalize their services to users' tastes. Users can opt out, but the process is far from straightforward.

On Monday, Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, announced in an op-ed article in The Washington Post. He said that over the next several months the company would "add privacy controls that are much simpler to use," and "give you an easy way to turn off all third-party services." the company said it would trim the information considered public by default.

What impact the privacy contretemps have had on Facebook is hard to gauge. Facebook says it has added 10 million members.

But online searchers in the US on variations of deleting Facebook account soared 23% last week, compared with the previous week, says market researcher Experian Hitwise.

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