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May, 2010:

Who ate all the the humble pies?

Another day eating humble pie over at Facebook central!

According to early reports hitting the UK news wires, after eight months of saying the CEOP panic button is unnecessary, Facebook have made a complete climbdown and the button will now appear on user profile pages.

It’s not clear so far what timelines they will work to, but Talking to Youth is happy that adding its voice to those of every Police Force in Great Britain, the UK Government, CEOP and many hundreds of thousands of concerned parents has helped in some way to get Facebook to examine their priorities and make the necessary changes.

“Extremely humbling”

Finally some positive news from our friends over the pond at Facebook following what their top brass have referred to as an ‘extremely humbling’ few weeks.

New improved and, more importantly, simpler privacy options are to be rolled out, so users will no longer have to wrestle with the 50 different privacy settings and 170 options currently baffling anyone trying to protect their data.

But crucially it’s still not clear if this means the sale of personal data without reference to the user has stopped outright, or if it just gives the originator of the data the option to not have it sold on by selecting the right privacy settings.  If it is still an opt-out option hidden behind a flummery of complex settings, Facebook may still have some way to go.

Facebook to bolt stable door… maybe

It’s good to see that Facebook staff are apparently sitting down today to finally get to grips with privacy issues.  Everyone’s privacy should be taken seriously, but when millions of teenagers and children are involved, security becomes absolutely essential.

I blogged here about the Facebook’s baffling refusal to include the CEOPS panic button, despite the request from all UK police forces.  That attitude, the software flaw that allowed access to contact details (since fixed) and now the giving to third party websites of permission to post users’ views without their specific consent, all betray a complete failure of the security responsibilities of Facebook to keep up with its data-sharing culture.