Thankfully, Facebook is soon going to restructure the way it displays privacy settings to users. Currently, those settings are scattered across multiple pages, and it is a chore for individuals to customize them to their liking. When we talk to elementary, middle, and high-schoolers, we ask about those settings – and have found that very few youth take extensive time to lock down their Facebook page on a granular level. Rather, most simply go with the default privacy settings – which are much more open than I would personally prefer. Hopefully by consolidating these settings into one page, it’ll be much easier for users to run through each privacy option and make appropriate selections based on what content they want to reveal (and how it is done). Even more important is that they carve out the necessary time to do it – something we highly encourage. Take the fifteen or so minutes to fully understand what each setting means, and then customize them to your comfort level. Overall, I am quite pleased about this.
Another issue, though, has to do with Facebook’s soon-to-be-released Transition Tool, which will subtly suggest to (encourage?) users to make some of their content available (or shared to) “Everyone” with the reasoning that friends will find you more easily (which is true). However, it’s likely this content will also be indexed by Google and other search engines – which is beneficial to Facebook as they try to compete with Twitter as the premier source of real-time information and status updates being posted and distributed by the masses. However, it’s more palatable for my Twitter page to be found by search engines and individuals that I don’t know at all; it’s less acceptable for content on my Facebook page to be similarly found. To each his own, but just make sure you completely know what you’re doing. After all, it is *your* information out there – and it’s going to be out there for a really, really long time. I’ll share more of my thoughts after I get to play around with the new tool.