Facebook privacy U-turn

A backlash over Facebook Inc.’s
privacy practices has triggered disagreement inside the company that could
force Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to scale back
efforts to encourage users to share more about themselves in public.

The social network has come under
fire for a series of recent changes to its policies that have limited what
users can keep private, as well as embarrassing technical glitches that exposed
personal data.

Privacy advocates have called on
regulators to intervene. Some frustrated users, meanwhile, have created
websites that highlight what they see as shortcomings in Facebook’s privacy
controls.

The site’s privacy travails have
rattled Facebook employees and put pressure on Mr. Zuckerberg, who has argued
for years that its users should be more open with their information.

The privacy problems are piling up
as the company, which is approaching 500 million users, grapples with how to
build new services off all the data provided by users without offending users.
The company is focused on ways to turn that vast amount of data into a
multi-billion dollar ad-business.

Executives and employees are
discussing whether to implement new controls that allow users to conceal their
profiles more universally, according to people familiar with the matter. Such
tools would represent a big shift from Facebook’s current approach of giving
users multiple controls for specific parts of their profiles, and are an option
Mr. Zuckerberg has resisted.

People familiar with the matter say
some changes to Facebook’s privacy settings could be announced as soon as this
week.

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Controversy over Facebook’s new privacy policies continue to grow
Photo: File
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