Facebook will require its 350 million users to review their settings as it rolls out new privacy controls.
Uh-oh, Facebook's made another change.
When the site was founded, it brought users with preexisting offline connections together – initially just colleges, then companies, high schools, and regions.
As it announced it would last week, today Facebook did away with regional networks. And If they haven't already, all 350 million of the site's users will soon see a dialog box that will require them to review the site's new privacy controls and use a "transition tool" to help translate their current privacy settings into terms that mesh with the new policy.
What's changed? And why?
In addition to the demise of regional networks, Facebook today introduced more "granular" controls on what information is shared and with whom. Functions like photos or status updates may be set to post only to specific users, just friends, friends of friends, or to everyone, which is now the default setting. And "everyone" now means not just all of Facebook, but the public Web as well. In a sense, Facebook is clearing out its 'walled garden' and making users ask to move back inside.
In the days since Facebook's founding, the success of Twitter has created massive interest in real-time search. Twitter was the go-to search engine for people looking for information on the death of Michael Jackson, the crash of a US Airways jet into the Hudson, and other recent breaking news stories. Facebook sees millions of similar posts fly across its site everyday and wants to bring its gargantuan user base to the party. But throwing the switch to public without very clearly telling its users could be a recipe for disaster.