May 26, 2010, 4:16 PM — Amid mounting criticism that Facebook lacks adequate privacy controls, CEO Mark Zuckerberg Wednesday worked hard during the unveiling of new, simplified privacy controls to drive home the point that the company cares about protecting the personal information of its users.
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Zuckerberg acknowledged during a press conference this afternoon that executives at the phenomenally successful social networking firm have made mistakes and have communicated badly with users about their privacy concerns.
"We believe in privacy. We believe in giving people control," said Zuckerberg. "But more and more, people want to share information. As long as they have good control over that, I think that's where the world is going."
He also said that Facebook heard the loud user complaints about the site's complicated and frustrating privacy controls, and that the tool tools were built to correct those issues.
"We've heard that people want a simple way to take control of their information," Zuckerberg said. "We looked at a video someone posted about how many steps it took to stop sharing their information [with third-party Web sites]. And we thought, 'Yeah, that's too much.'"
The criticism that the social networking firm is playing fast and loose with user information mounted significantly in recent weeks after Facebook unveiled a bevy of tools that allow user information to be shared with other Web sites.
One of the new settings rolled out today is a single control that limits who can see the content posted by a Facebook user.
"In a couple of clicks, you can set the content you've posted to be open to everyone, friends of your friends or just your friends," said Zuckerberg. "This control will also apply to settings in new products we launch going forward. So if you decide to share your content with friends only, then we will set future settings to friends only as well. This means you won't have to worry about new settings in the future."
Facebook also is limiting how much basic user information is available to everyone by enabling users to control who gets to see their lists of friends, along with their personal pages. That information was previously available to all facebook users.