Critics Blast Facebook’s Latest Privacy Overhaul

Facebook says it’s leading the privacy revolution. Critics say it’s trying to trick people into sharing more information than they realize. eSecurityPlanet looks at the charges, and hears from Facebook’s top man in Washington who says people are “panicking unnecessarily.”

It wouldn’t be a major announcement from Facebook if it weren’t met by howls of protest.

The latest follows yesterday’s revamp of the company’s privacy features, a process that will require all Facebook users to update the settings that determine how widely accessible the information they post to their profiles will be.

Facebook billed the changes as a consumer-friendly overhaul that would give users simpler and more granular controls over their information, but some digital rights and privacy advocates rushed to criticize the move.

Specifically, they worry that as users are prompted to update their controls, Facebook set the default setting for status updates, photos, and other posts to “everyone,” meaning that that information would be open to the entire Web, not just the Facebook community.

“Facebook’s new changes are obviously intended to get people to open up even more of their Facebook data to the public,” Kevin Bankston, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), wrote of the new features. “The privacy ‘transition tool’ that guides users through the configuration will ‘recommend’ — preselect by default — the setting to share the content they post to Facebook, such as status messages and wall posts, with everyone on the Internet.”

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