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Facebook Users Push Back Against New Privacy Plan

Facebook's unsettling plan to share users' names, photos and other information with some outside Web sites doesn't seem to be going over well with its members.

The U.K. security firm Sophos reports that 95% of 680 people it surveyed don't approve of the idea. Only 2% of respondents said they liked the new plan -- and some of those people replied from an IP address connected to Facebook.

Facebook spokesperson Barry Schnitt says that Sophos asked the question following a post that criticized the proposed changes. "Even if you discount the bias of the placement (which I don't), it's a self-selected group of people who read that post. How many of them are even Facebook users?" he asks.

That's a fair question, but it's worth noting that the Sophos results seem consistent with comments posted to Facebook, where users' feedback has been overwhelmingly negative.

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"Listen carefully: Users must be able to control their information. It's that simple. I will not allow you to decide which 3rd parties are safe for me," writes one of the more than 1,800 commenters.

"Shame on you FB! This is a total lack of respect for FB users," says a second.

"Stop making changes that require users to opt out. The default for any change should require users to opt in to be affected," advises another.

"Learn from the Google Buzz debacle. Opt-in is the only way to go," warns yet another.

Yes, only a tiny fraction of Facebook's users commented about the proposed change. But those people almost certainly represent the views of many others who either haven't read the new terms, haven't processed them or simply don't want to comment.

It's a fair bet that almost none of Facebook's 400 million users joined with the expectation that the social networking service would one day decide to automatically log them in to outside sites. Very few of those people are going to be happy if Facebook goes through with its latest plan.

1 comment about "Facebook Users Push Back Against New Privacy Plan ".
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  1. Scataboosh Fandango from None, April 9, 2010 at 9:29 p.m.

    Thanks for this update; it's really well explained with a clear round-up of the concerns. I agree that opt-in needs to become the default in social media. If we want it, we'll make that choice and if not, well back to the drawing board!

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