Posted February 1, 2010 3:44 pm by with 1 comment

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In case you missed it, Facebook updated its privacy settings in December. The resulting debacle resulted in complaints to the FTC (even though Facebook consulted with the commission before the change).

But, as it turns out, the new privacy changes—where a message prompted users to update their privacy settings—have (surprise, surprise) gotten more Facebook users thinking about their privacy. In fact, Facebook Director of Public Policy Tim Sparapani said that 35% of Facebook users who had never before consulted their privacy settings have now updated them.

Let me say that again, quoting the BayNewser:

In other words, [35% of] Facebook users who had never previously configured their privacy settings now configured them. (Not, as it could be read, one-third of the subset of Facebook users, in which the subset included all people who had never configured their settings before.)

And one more time: they are not saying that only one-third of users have changed their privacy settings and the other two-thirds just took the defaults as some are reporting.

The clarification comes from the BayNewser, which attended the fact-finding “Exploring Privacy” roundtable held by the FTC at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (although, admittedly, the comments they printed from Sparapani are ambiguous, I’m hoping they double checked his meaning, hence the clarification).

Sparapani said that the industry average it 5-10% of users who actively engage with privacy settings, putting Facebook well ahead of the curve. He didn’t comment on the exact number of users that have changed their settings, for the first time or overall, nor how many had changed their settings before last December.

What do you think? Are more Facebook users really engaging with their privacy settings—and if so, what are they setting them to?