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Facebook event outlines 'simpler' privacy controls

At an event at 10:30 a.m. PDT Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives respond to recent privacy criticism by making things a bit simpler.

Editor's note: We used Cover It Live for this event, so if you missed the live blog, you can still replay it in the embedded component at the end of this post. We also included the updates by Declan McCullagh and other CNET contributors, as well as unedited commentaries in regular text here. To get the key points and some analysis from today's announcements, click here.

After one of the most tumultuous months in its young history, Facebook has some new features intended to offer its hundreds of millions of users simpler privacy choices.

Wednesday morning's announcement, at the company's offices in Palo Alto, Calif., was a chance for CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives to "discuss details regarding enhanced, simpler privacy controls." The centerpiece change is a single page for setting Facebook information visible to just friends, friends of friends, or the Web at large.

The last few weeks have not been kind to the Internet's second most popular Web site, which has been pilloried by privacy activists and slammed by some members of Congress. The flap has spawned interactive graphics showing how Facebook has gradually exposed more user data, third-party tools designed to let Facebook users verify that their privacy settings are accurate, and reports of internal discord among employees.

Though the recent focus on Facebook started with its announcements in late April at the F8 developers conference, which included deeper connections with partner Web sites, the concerns have been building for a long time. There was the outcry over the now-defunct Beacon advertising program, Zuckerberg's remarks last December about pushing users to disclose more, and brief eruptions including last week's disclosure of Facebook sharing some data with advertisers in possible violation of its privacy policy.

10:29 a.m.: So James Martin and I (Declan McCullagh) are here at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., just west of El Camino Real. James will be providing your photographs today; I'll be doing the typing. So far, with two minutes to go, there's your standard milling around. Wait: CEO Mark Zuckerberg just showed up at the front wearing a grey hoodie sweatshirt and is chatting with a few reporters.

10:33 a.m.: Zuckerberg is starting. When there's a "good, safe environment they can use," people will share more information, is how he's kicking this off.

James Martin/CNET
James Martin/CNET

10:36 a.m.: Facebook PR is handing out a printout of the text of a blog post from Zuckerberg. The title is "Making Control Simple." It doesn't seem to be up on Facebook's official blog yet, though.

James Martin/CNET

10:36 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): I'm dialed into Facebook's conference call from New York and will be helping Declan and James out by providing commentary on what some of the changes mean in the context of Facebook's history and the current controversy.

10:37 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Basically, Zuckerberg's talking about Facebook and how it's changed so much from its inception--in his opinion, the privacy controls HAVE to change.

10:38 a.m.: Zuckerberg is going into a brief history of the company and Web site, saying that Facebook had "hardly any" features when it launched. The blog post he handed out says there will be three changes: "First, we've built one simple control to set who can see the content you post. Second, we've reduced the amount of basic information that must be visible to everyone and we are removing the connections privacy model. Third, we've made it simple to control whether applications and Web sites can access any of your information."

10:39 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Interesting that Zuckerberg mentioned the News Feed very early on. This was one of Facebook's first big privacy scandals: when it first launched in fall 2006, members freaked out.

10:39 a.m.: More of Zuckerberg's blog post: "The overhaul of Facebook's privacy model is complete. If you find these changes helpful, then we plan to keep this privacy framework for a long time." That raises the obvious question: how will Facebook judge whether users find the changes "helpful" or not?

10:40 a.m. (Comment from reader JamesEvans): Is this event available on the Web so we can see it?

James Martin/CNET

10:41 a.m. (Josh Lowensohn): @James, not by Facebook.

10:42 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Here's what happened when Facebook members flipped out over the original News Feed:

10:42 a.m.: Zuckerberg is talking about regional networks now. This background seems to be designed to provide a 15-minute quick education dump to reporters who don't specialize in this area. We haven't really reached the news yet.

10:43 a.m. (Comment from CNET's Larry Dignan): @declan, you're not kidding. Holy history lesson

10:44 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Facebook did away with regional networks about a year ago in conjunction with the launch of some new privacy controls:

10:44 a.m.: Zuckerberg, the master of understatement, is summarizing the move to friends/friends of friends/everyone current settings: "We don't necessarily think it's safe for you to share your cell phone number with everyone in Turkey." In other words, the limitation of regional networks. We're still not at the news yet. Sorry, folks.

10:45 a.m. (Comment from reader theharmonyguy): Facebook Developers blog post on privacy changes:

James Martin/CNET

10:45 a.m. (Josh Lowensohn): Thanks for the link.

10:47 a.m.: Brief aside: When a small gaggle of other reporters and I were being escorted by Facebook full-time staff (PR folks) through their offices here in Palo Alto to the press conference space, we were barred entry to the room by security for a few minutes. They didn't let us in through the door until a PR person who was on security's "approved" list made an appearance. In other words, Facebook cares quite a bit about its *own* privacy and security...

10:47 a.m. (Comment from reader jamiew): @caroline -- how many times you have written a Facebook article with "messed up" in the title?

10:47 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): @jamiew, that was Zuckerberg's direct quote!

10:48 a.m.: Zuckerberg: 'The privacy feedback "really resonated" and we had developers and engineers camped out in a conference room to rework things.' And now, we get to the reason for this press conference.

James Martin/CNET

10:49 a.m.: Zuckerberg: There will be one simple control that applies to all content retroactively and applies to new products going forward. If you set your preference to friends-of-friends, for instance, that will continue to be the default going forward.

10:50 a.m. (Comment from Guest): How will these changes be communicated to Facebook users?

10:51 a.m.: @Guest: There will be a message on the home page, videos on the blog, a new privacy guide added.

10:52 a.m. (Comment from reader steveo): Some accounts have the new settings already. Rafe showed a bit of it on BOL Live

James Martin/CNET

10:52 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): So far, this focus has been on keeping information private from other people on Facebook, not a focus yet on third-party companies using the API.

10:53 a.m.: First admission of "there may have been a mistake" by Zuckerberg. He says an update will come to basic directory information, too. Some kind of directory is "necessary for people to find you on the site." But there's going to be less publicly available information, and what he's calling real privacy controls (no connections). Waiting for details.

10:54 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Zuckerberg has said the word "bucket" at least a half dozen times.

10:54 a.m. (Comment from Guest): Any indication why they felt the need to make this such a big reveal?

10:54 a.m.: @Guest: My guess would be the pressure from politicians and advocacy groups.

10:54 a.m. (Comment from reader brian): You can see more about the new privacy here:

10:55 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): @Guest, some D.C. lawmakers have taken issue:

James Martin/CNET

10:56 a.m.: On Facebook Platform, there will be full opt out, an "easy" opt out for instant personalization, and a granular permissions model that was already described at F8. Applications will have "dramatically" limited access to your info. Mark Z. is showing a slide demonstrating that it seems reasonably easy to turn off some of these choices.

James Martin/CNET

10:57 a.m. (Comment from Guest): When do these changes take effect?

10:57 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): "Over the next few days or weeks," Zuck says.

10:57 a.m. (Comment from visitor): The announcement post is up:

10:57 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): You can block the Facebook Platform--i.e. all apps--altogether. This is impressive, but pretty extreme and I doubt many members will do it.

10:57 a.m.: Zuckerberg is done with his prepared remarks and is moving to questions.

10:59 a.m.: Facebook privacy changes by the numbers: from 50 settings required to make all information private to less than 15; it consolidated 10 settings on 3 pages to 7 settings on one page. Privacy center pages drop from 13 to 8.

11 a.m. (Comment from reader georgeangelo): @Declan, don't be sorry for no news yet. Zuckerberg is the one who should be doing all the apologizing.

11:01 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): The first question is an interesting one: If Facebook is prone to making these erratic changes, even if it ultimately fixes them, can it still be trusted?

James Martin/CNET

11:01 a.m. (Comment from reader Christopher Boucher): @Declan Privacy is CHOICE. You have the choice to share what you want, when you want, and how you want it.

11:02 a.m. (Comment from reader Bill McGeveran): I've lost count of their supposedly permanent overhauls of privacy settings that supposedly make everything easy. Do you guys have a count? The constant change is half the problem!

11:02 a.m. (Comment from Guest): I am wondering if you will be able to change privacy settings for each individual post on your wall. For example, let's say you hide something from a group or groups but later decide you don't care if they see it. You can't change the setting (the little lock) for individual posts.

James Martin/CNET

11:04 a.m.: Zuckerberg "doesn't mean to diminish privacy concerns at all"--but stresses that more people remain much more worried about Facebook possibly charging money than about privacy. "We've seen no meaningful changes on any of the stats" even after all the Delete-Your-Facebook-Pages campaigns, he says. People are still very inclined to recommend Facebook to friends, he says. Perhaps the personal privacy preferences of liberal advocacy groups and D.C. politicians don't match with those of the general public.

11:04 a.m. (Comment from Guest): it looks like they are in effect now according to my privacy settings options.

11:05 a.m. (Comment from Guest): So how do they expect to determine whether users find the changes helpful? After all, they were way off thinking everyone wanted more granularity.

11:06 a.m. (Comment from reader Brian): @declan: Advocacy of personal concerns is difficult to an organization with limited accessibility (after all, we're not ALL journalists).

11:06 a.m. (Comment from reader Jeff M): I'll just as likely leave FB it they fail at privacy as if they would begin charging.

11:08 a.m.: Zuckerberg: We've been chatting with advocacy groups, and senators "who had feedback for us." But the "main thing we did" was listen to users and figure out what the "biggest things were" that we needed to do. When you serve 400 million people, there are a lot of different constituencies. But it's a "misperception" to believe that changes are due to advertising.

11:09 a.m. (Comment from CNET's Tom Krazit): Would people pay for a completely private Facebook that never did the bait-and-switch thing?

11:09 a.m. (Comment from reader greghl): A slider is perfect for most people--but some will prefer the more granular approach--such as app developers, advertisers etc.

11:09 a.m. (Comment from reader dr): From the slide displayed, it looks like Mark is emphasizing the fact that "everything is opt-out." Someone needs to press on this point: in order to maintain security/privacy, everything must be opt-IN.

11:10 a.m.: This event isn't even over, but I'm already getting statements from advocacy groups. Here's one from the Progress and Freedom Foundation, a free-market group that has been telling politicians not to regulate: "By giving users powerful new tools to further protect their privacy, Facebook has employed a potent weapon to deal with marketplace apprehensions: self-regulation." That was fast.

11:11 a.m. (Comment from reader greghl): hey - can we opt out of ads? ;)

11:11 a.m.: And here's one from the ACLU of Northern California, which has markedly different views: "Facebook is finally friending privacy again. Facebook's about-face on privacy comes as a result of mounting pressure from users and Washington...While it's true that users have more control than they did yesterday, there are still important steps that must be taken."

11:11 a.m. (Comment from reader Joe Hall): Yeah, I wish there was more focus on what they're doing that *isn't* about privacy settings...but how this episode has taught them to manage change, both in terms of innovation in their service and pressure to monetize.

11:13 a.m. (Comment from Guest): Does Facebook plan on allowing administrators of fan pages to see everyone that "likes" that page without being friends?

11:13 a.m. (Comment from reader greghl): lol - do you trust any online company, Caroline? Google?!?

11:13 a.m.: Zuckerberg: "We're trying to make this system simple by default." And he takes the time to remind reporters that the point of Facebook is, ah, sharing information in the first place. "That's always been a really important part of how the site works."

11:13 a.m. (Comment from reader Jon Pincus): "less than 15" changes is still a lot to have to make to protect privacy. 1 would be much easier.

11:13 a.m. (Comment from reader Jeff Chester): Notice that the data collected and used for targeted advertising--including its datamining applications--is still off the table.

11:13 a.m. (Comment from Guest): I appreciate this step, but as someone mentioned earlier, this is a step too late. Much like Google apologizing for stealing information.

11:14 a.m. (Comment from reader gcluley): Why is everything opt-out? Shouldn't it be opt-IN? Or can't Facebook come up with a convincing argument why you'd want to share your info? And if they can't convince us of that.

11:14 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): @gcluley: Yes, while it seems like some privacy groups are satisfied, others still want Facebook to make things opt-in.

11:15 a.m.: @Caroline: I'm guessing that the comment from Jeff Chester above comes from the Center for Digital Democracy's Jeff Chester, who's been a frequent Facebook critic. Jeff, any other reactions?

11:16 a.m. (Comment from reader georgeangelo): If you ask me, Facebook should follow up on MySpace's original slogan of "a place for friends."

11:16 a.m. (Comment from reader greghl): 400 millions customers is surely a big pool of opinions--I doubt they had 0.1 percent express an opinion--but still--that 0.1 percent would still represent 10x the number of customers *I* have...that's a lot of people to try and make happy.

11:16 a.m. (Comment from Guest): It's opt out because information is how they make their money.

11:16 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Zuckerberg claims that he's been misquoted in instances where it's been implied that he "doesn't care" about privacy and thinks it's a thing of the past. "We really do believe in privacy and we believe in giving people control."

11:16 a.m.: Zuckerberg didn't really address a law enforcement access question, saying something about "tension" and then moving on to a different subject.

11:17 a.m. (Comment from reader gcluley): Am I reading this right: if you don't want to share with search engines, you need to block applications too? Crumbs.

James Martin/CNET

11:17 a.m. (Comment from reader Brian): Ads pay for the servers, engineers, etc. that let you and 400 million other users store billions of photos, videos, etc. Since no one wants to pay to use Facebook, I'd love to hear someone tell me how these guys stay in business if not for advertising.

11:17 a.m. (Comment from Guest): they make money on devs too.

James Martin/CNET

11:18 a.m.: Zuckerberg: When you have 500 million people using your service and only a small number are upset, that could be a larger number of people than who live in the state of New York.

11:18 a.m. (Comment from reader Michael): Even in this tool my comments about Facebook being evil are being silenced. CNN + Facebook conspiracy? Truth needs to be heard.

11:19 a.m. (Comment from reader Jon Pincus): we'll be having a lot of discussion of this, including the opt-in/opt-out debate, at the upcoming Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference--it's in San Jose, mid-June, and we'll have folks from Facebook as well as ACLU, EFF, EPIC, CDT, and other privacy organizations. more at

11:19 a.m.: @Jon Pincus: Agreed. CFP is worth going to.

11:19 a.m. (Comment from Guest): This Facebook issue is surely the most insightful thing on America's duality. The same population which tweets about when they last had a burger is asking for more privacy!!!

11:19 a.m. (Comment from reader Joe Hall): Yeah, I toyed with an idea of a browser-based extension/plugin that would encrypt plaintext before sending to FaceBook and then decrypt on the client... but then I left FB (and it wasn't easy).

11:19 a.m. (Comment from reader Bill McGeveran): What's the tone like? Do they sound chastened?

11:20 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): @Bill McGeveran: I think there's a real tension in Zuckerberg's rhetoric (which I'll be writing about further). On one hand, he says he sees real demand to make privacy settings simpler once again. On the other, there's an undertone of "...but this isn't really what users want, they want to share."

11:20 a.m.: @Bill: From being in the room here with Zuckerberg, I'd say the Facebook employees here seem more exuberant than chastened. They seem excited about this. Zuckerberg adds a lesson here is "don't mess with the privacy stuff for a long time!" The audience laughs.

11:20 a.m. (Comment from reader Jeff Chester): Thanks. I am reviewing the policy now--and thanks to you, Caroline, CNET for doing this. It appears Mr. Zuckerberg is still in digital denial. The only reason they changed the privacy settings from what they just announced last December is the extraordinary political and advocacy pressure from both sides of the Atlantic. Facebook has steadily worked to undermine privacy, in order to bolster its ad revenues for an IPO. Facebook needs to be an opt-in model, with more granular control.

11:21 a.m. (Comment from reader Taylor Vincent): @michael - Evil's subjective. Come back with something more specific or constructive and you might get more credit. :-)

11:21 a.m.: An odd shout-out to on the press conference telephone call? No question, just an advertisement. Marc Rotenberg, was that you? :)

11:21 a.m. (Comment from reader Jeff Meyers): Caroline, Zuckerberg is only partially right. Users want to share, but they want to share what they want with the people they want to share it with, not everyone.

11:22 a.m. (Comment from reader greghl): lol--yes, they want to share--but they want to share with FRIEND--not anonymous companies--and when they do CHOOSE to share with companies, they want to LIMIT that sharing by default, not explicitly, for every single application or company.

11:22 a.m. (Comment from reader william): My guess is they don't make their money advertising, or they make some money from advertising, but the make more from data-mining services for companies. That's the explanation for the an 'opt-out' defaults, they're hoping the majority of their users won't and so that information because available to be mined.

11:22 a.m. (Comment from reader Jeff M): Agreed Brian, you can't have a free service and not have ads or some other way of "using the users" to make money.

11:23 a.m.: Zuckerberg: More than 50 percent of users on Facebook have changed at least one setting. So that disproves the argument, he says, that users blindly keep the defaults. Most people go in and change some things, which means "we're probably in a pretty good place for the defaults."

11:24 a.m. (Comment from reader Taylor Vincent): Yep. Defaulting everything to friends or friends-of-friends is ideal for we that value privacy, but that's not a business model.

11:24 a.m. (Comment from reader greghl): Facebook ads were not a winner for us--ROI was so low it was a joke. Google adwords just "works"--facebook ads were a huge waste of money for us...still I hope they work for some...

11:25 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): Zuck takes a moment to pimp David Kirkpatrick's book "The Facebook Effect."

11:25 a.m.: Yes, it's show and tell time here at Facebook HQ. Nice glossy cover.

11:25 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): I assume they didn't invite Jesse Eisenberg.

11:27 a.m.: When you're 22 and have the opportunity to sell a company for $1 billion, you no longer need to maximize the amount of money you have. This is part of the trust-us argument, but it does make some sense. It's the economic principle of diminishing returns. If you're hungry there's a big difference between 0 apples and 1 apple, but not a big difference between 1,000 apples and 1,001 apples. Or dollars.

11:27 a.m. (Comment from reader lfeldman): If more than 50 percent of users are changing at least one default, that means that the defaults are unacceptable, not that they're in a "pretty good place."

11:27 a.m. (Comment from reader Jeff Meyers): 50 percent of users probably changed the settings because of chain-postings of their friends warning of privacy concerns...not because they understand the settings. I'm an InfoSec professional and I still have to think through what I'm doing.

11:27 a.m. (Comment from reader Jon Pincus): Caroline, excellent point about the tension. Also, if they really believe that most people want to share, then an opt-in model would work just fine. Yes, it requires a little more effort from those who want to share [as opposed to those who want to protect their privacy] but that seems like a reasonable tradeoff.

11:28 a.m.: Mark Z's quote of the day: "We're really going to try not to have another backlash."

11:28 a.m. (Comment from reader Joe Hall): I guess there was no mention of FTC? (although I'm not sure much has happened on that front, other than back channel talks)

11:28 a.m. (Comment from Guest): So if 50 percent of people don't change the defaults, 200 million people are blindly opted-in...

11:29 a.m.: @Joe Hall: There was no explicit mention of the FTC, though Zuckerberg did reference general conversations he had with many different parties, which presumably means the FTC.

11:29 a.m. (Comment from reader nodster): @declan because they weren't trying before?

11:30 a.m.: @nodster: Good point...

11:30 a.m. (Comment from reader b.b.): I want out now!!!...did he even mention how!?!

11:30 a.m. (Josh Lowensohn): @b.b.: we've got an FAQ on doing that here:

11:30 a.m. (Comment from reader Jeff Chester): Despite what is done today by Facebook, we expect that the FTC will soon be addressing social-networking privacy.

11:30 a.m. (Comment from Guest): So does turning off instant personalization help? To turn off instant personalization on all partner sites, uncheck the box below. This will prevent these partners from receiving any of your information through instant personalization, even content you have made available to everyone.

11:31 a.m. (Comment from reader teazmedia): "More than 50 percent of users on Facebook have changed at least one setting. So that disproves the argument, he says, that users blindly keep the defaults." What was the most changed setting and what was the momentum of edits after the last opt-out 'everyone' policy change compared to prior to the change?

11:31 a.m.: @teazmedia: It's a good question to ask. I have another one I'd like to pose to Zuckerberg first.

Oh, wait. They're shutting this down. Chris Cox, head of product. Bret Taylor, head of platform, Sheryl Sandberg, are sticking around, but Zuckerberg is leaving.

11:32 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): I'm signing off now--I'm going to be writing a follow-up piece for CNET. Look for it soon!

11:32 a.m.: So the press conference is officially over. Chris Cox, Bret Taylor, and Sheryl Sandberg are in the back of the room for informal chats, Zuckerberg and his gray hoodie have left the room. We'll keep this going for a few more minutes.

11:33 a.m. (Comment from reader Jon Pincus): This was a great discussion, thanks Declan and Caroline--and James, great pictures too!

11:33 a.m. (Comment from Guest): Thanks for this great coverage!

11:33 a.m. (Comment from reader Joe Hall): Would also be interesting if they mentioned tools like reclaimprivacy. anyway, thanks for this Dec and co.

11:34 a.m.: @Joe, Jon, Guest: You're quite welcome! Check back on CNET News this afternoon for some more analysis.

11:34 a.m. (Comment from reader Joe Hall): Someone get that man a wardrobe (he says sitting in his Princeton office in shorts--it is 95F).

11:34 a.m. (Comment from reader nodster): Hope they keep the momentum and pressure on privacy rather than think this solved the problem. I was expecting more. Thanks all!

11:35 a.m.: @nodster: Yep, it's not as sweeping an announcement as I had expected, though I admit I need a bit more time to digest it fully.

11:35 a.m. (Comment from reader teazmedia): Thx for the coverage and looking forward to the post coverage too.

11:35 a.m. (Comment from reader BaronVonBonkers): Declan, thanks for the coverage.

11:36 a.m. (Comment from reader JamesEvans): So everyone will have the new controls by when?

11:36 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): @JamesEvans: Zuckerberg said this will be "over the next few days or weeks."

11:36 a.m. (Comment from reader bluesparks42): @nodster--They're going to do as little as possible to solve the problem. It's going to depend on whether or not users are satisfied as to when this goes away.

11:36 a.m. (Comment from reader weemundo): Great job CNET team :)

11:36 a.m. (Comment from Guest): If people are so clever to change at least one setting, why fb don't choose opt-in? Like Mark Z. says, people want to share. And if they want, they can switch back.

11:37 a.m.: @Guest: I think it's because Facebook doesn't have to. I mean, there's no legal requirement that they do, and if 99 percent of users don't seem to mind, there's no business requirement that they do either...

11:37 a.m.: @Guest: Or perhaps they'd say that by using Facebook, you're opting in already...

11:37 a.m. (Comment from reader bluesparks42): Thanks for the coverage, all. Now I'm heading back to twitter. :-)

11:37 a.m. (Comment from reader Bill McGeveran): At first blush it doesn't sound like the substance of the changes justifies the spin.

11:37 a.m. (Comment from reader ivorytowers): Many thanks CNET, excellent live coverage.

11:38 a.m. (Comment from reader nodster): @bluesparks42: Indeed, I just wish it had solved known problems for educators and other individuals who relied on facebook for its spheres of control. They've simplified control over existing settings without extending the control over new elements such as pages.

11:39 a.m.: From a political perspective, the question now is: Will this satisfy the members of Congress who have been pressing for changes? And the FTC? I don't think the answer is immediately obvious.

11:39 a.m. (Comment from reader bluesparks42): @Bill McGeveran--I think perhaps expectations were high going in, hence some of the spin. Time will tell.

11:39 a.m. (Comment from reader 3): When will they disable that "identify friends picture" to log back in? I have been locked out of my fb for a half an hour now from traveling.

11:39 a.m. (Comment from reader gcluley): We "opted-in" to use Facebook a while back. They changed the rules.

11:40 a.m.: @gcluley: That's true, of course, and an important point. If Facebook had been more open from the beginning, and that was viewed as the default, we wouldn't be having this conversation today. Expectations are important.

11:40 a.m. (Comment from reader gcluley): Thanks CNET for helping us know what was going on at this event. Nice work!

11:40 a.m. (Comment from reader jmkays): @CNET--Thanks for this!

11:40 a.m. (Comment from reader theharmonyguy): I'm still not entirely clear if these new settings remove the visibility vs. access dichotomy Facebook had previously established (i.e. connections were public, but you could hide them on your profile)

11:40 a.m. (Comment from reader bluesparks42): @nodster--There are lots of other options, but nothing as ubiquitious as facebook, and teaching a bunch of middle schoolers to use their facebook login as OpenID to log onto a Wordpress site is too complex for students and educators.

11:40 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): @declan @gcluley: I doubt people would have joined Facebook in the first place. The culture in 2004 was far more skeptical about having a presence online.

11:41 a.m. (Comment from reader JamesEvans): So today was a lot of nothing, the real news will happen when we all get our hands on the new controls and see what is really private.

11:41 a.m. (Comment from Guest): 99 percent of users might just not be aware of how their information is shared.

11:41 a.m. (Comment from reader bluesparks42): @Caroline McCarthy But does that then justify Zuckerberg's statement that privacy expectations are changing?

11:41 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): @bluesparks42: I think he's right, that they have changed. This was a situation where they may have made too fast of a move forward.

11:41 a.m.: @bluesparks42: I think privacy expectations are changing, and the core of Zuckerberg's statement is correct. But whether he's right about how *fast* they're changing is a different story.

11:41 a.m. (Caroline McCarthy): @declan: JINX

11:41 a.m. (Comment from reader seabright): I just don't trust Facebook anymore. Think I am quitting. They are making these changes but what is to say that they wont change again in the future.

11:43 a.m.: OK, folks, time to shut this down. Thanks for joining us. Check out some details about the privacy announcement here: And visit CNET later this afternoon for a post-game analysis!

Editors' note, Wednesday 9:55 a.m. PDT: The original, bare-bones version of this story was posted Tuesday at 6:33 p.m. PDT.