Facebook aims for clarity on privacy

Facebook aims for clarity on privacy

Facebook runs approximately 4000 surveys a day in 27 different languages to help it better understand what people think about privacy, according to Michael Nowak, product manager on the privacy team, at Facebook.

“How we explain things to people is a really big part of what we do, research on how the communications is working is as important the privacy settings themselves,” he said.

“We haven’t communicated about privacy as well as we could have,” he added.

“I’m just surprised that people sometimes see my posts and they’re not my friends”, is typical of a complaint Facebook receives according to Nowak.

While Facebook’s privacy settings are such that only friends in common with someone who has re-shared your photo can see your photo if you have your settings set to only friends can see, but obviously people are often not aware that they are posting publicly.

To combat this, Facebook has started trialling privacy checkups, where a pop-up window featuring a dinosaur asks you about your knowledge of who you’re actually sharing with.

Nowak said “80% of people who got the pop up said it was helpful”. However he added that Facebook was “cognisant of the lessons learnt from the Microsoft paper clip”.

Facebook has also made other modifications such as moving the dialogue box where you choose your privacy settings above where you enter a post on the mobile version of the platform and has actually spelled out the options with words as well as icons. In the desktop version it has even added a brief description of your privacy settings, such as “everyone can see your posts”.

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