I think, somewhere in the back of our heads, we all had to know that this was eventually where Facebook would go. Yes, the erstwhile media darling of social networking, so prized because it was so private (unlike that icky old predator-friendly MySpace), has succumbed to the public pull of the Internet—when they prompt you to update your privacy settings now, they’ve already selected a default option to publish your information to “Everyone.”
This change comes as part of the new privacy migration tool, where users get to update their privacy settings as Facebook moves to improved privacy settings. (Or was that improved publicity settings?) It looks like this is the change promised in July to appease the Canadian government’s privacy complaints.
Facebook, it seems, is now jealous of today’s social media sweetheart: Twitter. The theory goes that FB wants people to select the “Everyone” option so that status updates, especially, will be publicly shared, and Facebook will be like Twitter, only better. (Note that, above, the “Everyone” option is only preselected for a few settings, other defaults include “Friends” and “Friends of Friends.”)
At Facebook’s blog post, people are already complaining about the loss of privacy and such features as the ability to hide wall posts, profile pictures and friend lists. (I can’t vouch for these, but several people are complaining about them.)
Users will be prompted to update their settings and are free to return to their old settings or customize the settings however they want. Yeah, it’s not cool that Facebook goes and selects “Everyone” as the default, but if they’re prompting their users to update their settings themselves, and not changing anything until the users approve it, then . . . is this really that big of a deal? What do you think?