Saturday 25 January 2020

Facebook: 'people don't want complete privacy online'

Emma Barnett

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and chief executive, has said that people do not want complete privacy online, in a new interview.

Facebook has attracted criticism in recent weeks for the perceived complexity of its privacy settings, and the fact that users have to opt-out of sharing some of their information with third parties, rather than give explicit consent by opting in.

Although Facebook is expected to look again at its privacy policy in the coming weeks, it may not be enough to halt an online campaign for a mass Facebook "suicide" on May 31, with thousands of users encouraged to delete their accounts.

Speaking to Time magazine, Zuckerberg said: “The way that people think about privacy is changing a bit. What people want isn’t complete privacy. It isn’t that they want secrecy. It’s that they want control over what they share and what they don't.

“Our core belief is that one of the most transformational things in this generation is that there will be more information available.... Even with all the progress that we've made, I think we're much closer to the beginning than the end of the trend."

Facebook is expected to unveil enhanced privacy controls in the near future, following the Electronic Privacy Information Centre’s complaint to the Federal Trade Commission on May 5.

The organisation has criticised the social network for frequently changing its privacy controls and not making the alterations clear enough to Facebook’s users.

In the Time interview, Zuckerberg plays down the concern that millions of people have concerns about Facebook’s privacy settings – comparing the situation to when the site launched its News Feed service in 2006.

“We only had 10 million users at the time and one million were complaining. Now to think there wouldn’t be a news feed in insane… That’s a big part of what we do, figuring out what the next things are that everyone wants to do and them bringing them along to get them there.

Google searches for “how to delete Facebook” have reportedly nearly doubled in volume since the start of this year.

Concerns about privacy on the site are running so high that 60pc of the 1,588 Facebook users questioned by Sophos, a computer security organisation, earlier this week, said they were considering deleting their accounts on the social networking site.

A further 16pc said they had already stopped using Facebook because they felt they had inadequate control over their data, while a quarter said that they would not be quitting the social networking site, which has almost 500 million users worldwide.

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