The new-and-improved privacy settings which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced on Wednesday have landed in my Facebook account. When I read Zuckerberg's description of them, I was cautiously optimistic. Having spent a bit of time exploring them, I'm way less enthusiastic.
Making privacy easy while providing lots of control is a fundamentally thorny challenge. If Facebook has failed to nail it, it's not because the company is stupid, evil, or careless -- it's because this stuff is hard. Its response seems to be based in part on the philosophy that privacy is to a great extent about what you want shared with which types of people.
So the centerpiece of the new settings is a grid that shows three kinds of people ("Everyone," Friends of Friends," and "Friends Only") and a bunch of types of information you store on Facebook, from your status to your snail-mail address. But there's no explanation of what the grid is showing you. It's just not that obvious whether it indicates your current settings, or ones you might want, or what. Full story...