Facebook’s left turn on privacy

Privacy concerns (AKA, Facebook sticking their nose in all my business) is one of several reasons I walked away from the platform more than a year ago.

Facebook is worried that you will start sharing less – or maybe even move to more anonymous services – unless it helps you better manage your private information. On Thursday, the company announced that it would give a privacy checkup to every one of its 1.28 billion users worldwide.

Facebook, which is based in Menlo Park, California, will also change how it treats new users by initially setting their posts to be seen only by friends. Previously, those posts were accessible to anyone.

To me, this is a small step in the right direction. I think Facebook should also make it clear when it has access to any information on your device. For example, in my browser, if I close my Facebook window, does that terminate Facebook’s access? I believe it does not. If I log out first, does that do it? I find the lack of clarity in this regard troubling.

The change in default settings and the person-by-person review is a sharp reversal for Facebook, whose privacy settings are famously complicated. Some users may be shocked when they see just how widely their personal information has been shared.

For most of its 10-year history, Facebook has pushed and sometimes forced its users to share more information more publicly, drawing fire from customers, regulators and privacy advocates across the globe.

Is Facebook truly taking privacy more seriously?