Facebook: Privacy Now Optional

A big difference between Facebook and MySpace has always been how the two companies approach the privacy of user data. At MySpace your profile is public by default and users can choose to make it private (except under 18 users, who default to private). At Facebook, your profile information has always been private and shared with your friends and, optionally your network (your school, company or geographic location).

Starting today, though, users can change their privacy settings to make virtually all of their profile information public. That’s good news for users like me who don’t mind sharing all that data with the world. And it also makes my profile more interesting to point to, since everyone can now view it.

Some users, though, are complaining, although I have no idea why since the privacy settings are optional. In a blog post announcing the change, most comments said they wanted the old Facebook back, whatever that means (Facebook has changed so much over the last couple of years there really is no defined “old Facebook” any more). As usual, everyone will settle down in a week and find something new to complain about.