Facebook CTO Bret Taylor responded to the oft-repeated maxim (“meme” is what he called it) that Facebook privacy settings are needlessly complex by asserting that “the majority of people on Facebook have modified their privacy settings” in a conversation with John Battelle at Web 2.0 Summit today.
While “most” can mean anything between 51% and 99%, Taylor was adamant that the Facebook privacy settings were intelligible, “If you talk to college students they know what their parents can see, they know what their ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend can see.” (I heard a “Yeah right” emanate from the audience when he said this.)
On the same privacy kick, Taylor brought up a little publicized feature of Facebook’s new Timeline called Activity Log, which can be accessed by toggling the View Activity feature next to Update Info in the upper right of your Timeline. Activity Log reveals all the data that you’ve shared on Facebook over time.
The new feature pane, which basically functions as a shortcut to privacy settings, allows you to customize the sharing of statuses. Whether or not it was easy to access the Facebook privacy settings before — And I’m going to go with NOT, as the company itself once revealed that only 15%-20% of users had ever accessed the settings — there’s no question that it will be to access those settings as Timeline rolls out in the next couple of weeks.
“If we can give people granularity on these things … we can be successful,” Taylor said.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with over 1 billion monthly active users. Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in February 2004, initially as an exclusive network for Harvard students. It was a huge hit: in 2 weeks, half of the schools in the Boston area began demanding a Facebook network. Zuckerberg immediately recruited his friends Dustin Moskovitz, Chris Hughes, and Eduardo Saverin to help build Facebook, and within four months, Facebook added 30 more college networks. The original...
Bret Taylor was the CTO of Facebook. He joined Facebook as the head of platform in August 2009, after serving as the co-founder and CEO of the social network aggregator FriendFeed. He most recently worked as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Benchmark Capital, where he began to develop FriendFeed with Jim Norris. During his four years at Google, he led more than 25 successful product launches, including Google Maps, Google Local, Google Web Toolkit, the Google Maps API, and...