Week in review: Facebook resets privacy strategy

CEO Mark Zuckerberg unveils big changes to privacy controls, but they're not enough to silence critics. Also: Justice Department inquires about Apple's hold on digital music.

Michelle Meyers
Michelle Meyers wrote and edited CNET News stories from 2005 to 2020 and is now a contributor to CNET.
Michelle Meyers
3 min read
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes the stage Wednesday morning at a high-profile press conference he called to talk about privacy controls. James Martin/CNET

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called a high-profile press conference Wednesday to unveil major changes to the massive social network's much-maligned member privacy controls.

But Facebook certainly wasn't the only tech company whose business practices were called into question this week: The feds are looking into Apple's hold on digital music. And politicians are pressing Google about data collection practices related to its Street View service.

Dominating the news, however, was arguably the Facebook about-face. The centerpiece of the new, simpler privacy controls include a single page for setting Facebook information visible to just friends, friends of friends, or the Web at large. It sliced the number of settings from 50 to about 15 and consolidating seven pages of choices into three pages. A post on the Facebook blog details the changes in full or see our instructions on changing your settings.

The new controls, which Zuckerberg said will be rolling out "over the next few days or weeks" might quell some of the fears members have had about how the company handles the vast amount of personal data stored on its servers.

But Facebook's sharpest critics say the they don't go far enough. The activist privacy groups maintain that the standard is "opt-in," instead of "opt-out" and argue that more regulation is necessary.
• One-on-one with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
• Why you shouldn't believe 'Facebook backlash' numbers
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DOJ inquires about Apple's hold on digital music

Government wants to know what role Apple played when Amazon stopped offering discounted music prices.
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Politicians press Google on Street View Wi-Fi flap

Three influential House members ask Google to answer detailed questions about Street View and data collection practices by June 7.
• Google skips German deadline for Wi-Fi data
• Google, come clean on Wi-Fi spying

Making sense of Microsoft's reorg

Although Redmond frequently shuffles its executive ranks, Tuesday's departure of Robbie Bach and J. Allard is a big deal. CNET's Ina Fried takes a look at the implications and fallout.
• Microsoft shakes up entertainment unit; Bach out
• Apple passes Microsoft in valuation
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Congress rebukes FCC on Net neutrality rules

After 111 members of Congress tell FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to back off, new Net neutrality regulations are looking a lot less likely.
• Rethinking the wireless spectrum crisis
• Democrats' split over Net neutrality widens

FCC takes aim at the wireless industry

The FCC is digging into those pesky overage charges that keep showing up on phone bills, putting wireless companies on the defensive.
• FCC says consumers are 'bill shocked'

• T-Mobile USA upgrades more cities to faster 3G
• AT&T offers free Wi-Fi in New York City

Firms tackle virus-laden Web sites, ads

As more users get hit by "drive-by downloads" and "malvertising," companies like Armorize and Dasient offer services to help keep surfers safe.

Bartz: Yahoo has pride, but still needs work

As investors wonder if Yahoo's stock is ever going to take off, CEO Carol Bartz tries to reassure them Wednesday that the company is focused and improving.
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• Yahoo tries to find a place on the map

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Mozilla eyes VP8 for HTML5 video

Google's video codec, part of the WebM project, has its share of support, but building it into the standard language for Web pages would be a big boost.
• FAQ: WebM and Google's Web-video plan

Lime Wire scrambles to save itself

File-sharing service asks court to reconsider decision and appeals to labels to cut a deal. But is it too little, too late?

Unmanned robot to troll Gulf oil spill for data

iRobot says its Seaglider, an unmanned underwater vehicle, will be used to track the presence of oil droplets from the BP oil spill in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
• Less toxic oil dispersants sought for Gulf spill
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