Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

The Majority of Facebook Users Have Changed Their Privacy Settings, Says Facebook CTO

It’s a myth that most Facebook users never change their default privacy settings, said Facebook CTO Bret Taylor today. “The majority of people on Facebook have modified their privacy settings,” he said.

In reality, this assumption is probably less of a myth and more of an outdated statistic. Back in December 2009, when Facebook started more overtly mucking with its privacy defaults and options, the company stated that only 15 to 20 percent of Facebook’s 350 million users had ever modified their settings, as I reported at the time.

But today, Taylor said, Facebook’s 800 million users — especially the more active ones — are extremely savvy about their privacy settings.

“If you talk to a college student, they know exactly what their parents can see, they know exactly what an ex-girilfriend or ex-boyfriend can see,” Taylor said in an onstage interview at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

Because Facebook is so widely used, “the increasing scrutiny on how we deal with privacy is appropriate,” Taylor said.

Taylor said his company’s philosophy on the privacy issue is, “if we can make your privacy controls transparent it will natually lead to people sharing more.”

Please see the disclosure about Facebook in my ethics statement.

Latest Video

View all videos »

Search »

I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik