Facebook announced efforts to better guard the privacy of its more than 400 million users, addressing mounting pressure on the world’s most popular online social network to protect personal data exchanged on its site.
Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday his company would soon make it easier for users to change privacy settings, giving them more powerful tools to prevent their personal information from being accessed by others.
Still, he said Facebook’s default settings will continue to make it relatively easy for users to obtain information about each other as the company treads a delicate balance between protecting privacy rights and promoting social networking over the Internet.
“Users use the service because they love sharing information,” Zuckerberg said. “People perceive that as we don’t care about
privacy, but that’s absolutely not true. … There is a balance.”
While Facebook said it will make it simpler for users to boost their privacy safeguards, they will have to opt out of default policies by which much of their data is publicly available, Zuckerberg said.
Among the changes, Facebook will make it simple for users to block all third-party applications providers from accessing their information. It will also make less information available in its user directory.
Controversy about Facebook’s privacy policies has mounted over the past year as its membership has grown and criminals have increasingly used its vast data banks to access information to help them swindle its users.