Most People Have Changed Their Privacy Settings On Facebook, Says Facebook CTO

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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.