Facebook Privacy: Everything You Need to Know in 6 Minutes

Remember earlier this year when the media was dominated by coverage of Facebook’s privacy policies? Everyone was up in arms, condemning the company for exposing user information as a result of launching the Open Graph and Instant Personalization initiatives at the company’s f8 conference.

Following weeks of debate, the company announced new features to address the criticism that emerged. CEO Mark Zuckerberg — who wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post promising new privacy options — introduced a host of changes to the network that enable users to better control their privacy settings. “We made a lot of changes at the same time,” Zuckerberg said regarding his company’s f8 announcements of the Open Graph API and other new Facebook features. “A lot of what we were trying to do got lost. We really need to simplify the controls… The feedback we got from users really resonated with us.”

I guess the “simplify” meme really did have an effect, since Facebook’s new privacy controls are dead easy, as simple as a single button-click for restricting or sharing all your information — including your posts, photos, birthday, and contact information.

The media became bored with the story, and eventually it fell off the radar. But the average Facebook user still has no idea what he agrees to when he joins Facebook and clicks the Sign Up button with this caveat: “By clicking Sign Up, you are indicating that you have read and agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy”.

Did you know that Facebook’s privacy policy is longer than the U.S. Constitution? This and many other interesting facts are covered in a great video by Casey Neistat. Casey and his brother Van star in HBO’s The Neistat Brothers; they gained attention (and millions of online views) with short films like “iPod’s Dirty Secret” and “Bike Thief”, among others. Casey’s amazingly good video is a must-watch for anyone who’s on Facebook and anyone who was aware of the privacy flap but really didn’t understand what all the fuss was about — it’s a great 6-minute primer about how Facebook privacy really works.

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