It would seem our conspiracy theory is coming true: Facebook's big push to give you "more control of your information" is actually an initiative to get you to give up control of your information. Step one: Frame greed as concern.
Facebook's 350 million+ users are being greeted by the dialog below, an "Important... Privacy Announcement" that "simplifies" and "adds" privacy controls:
But like Mark Zuckerberg's "Open Letter" last week, this is just the smiley pro-"privacy" wrapper around the real agenda, which, as Peter Kafka at All Things D wrote, is quite plainly to get you to abandon your privacy. Rival startup Twitter has taught Facebook that there's big growth in public internet sharing.
Thus — Ta Da! — these new default settings, which suggest users share their posts and information with the whole world. From Kafka (click to enlarge):
Inside Facebook's Eric Eldon got similarly liberal suggestions:
To make this scheme a bit more defensible, Facebook will now allow users to set their privacy level — i.e. to reverse the default choices — on a post-by-post basis, a feature long requested by users. Thus, Facebook will become an endless series of privacy decisions and dilemmas. It's enough to make you rush into the open arms of Twitter. Because while microblogging about your lunch might be narcissistic and pointless, it's definitely less narcissistic and pointless than deciding who should get to see the post about what you had for lunch.
Facebook: Asking you questions you don't want to have to answer about content no one cares about. Isn't social networking a joy ride?