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Facebook and Privacy Settings

( Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff said today:

“Over the past few months Facebook has made several changes to the way its users can set their privacy settings. We are aware that some people are unhappy with these changes although we have not received formal complaints. We would like to hear if New Zealanders have concerns about Facebook.

Recently Facebook has added website applications that can potentially share your information directly to third parties or via your friends. This has added a whole new layer of settings to the ones already there. You have to go through these line by line to control your privacy settings. We understand that users were not alerted to these added settings.

I would like to see Facebook providing good and constant communications to its users about any changes it makes to privacy settings and about new applications, new disclosure possibilities or new ways to choose levels of interactions. This would inform users of the changes and allow then to alter their settings easily to levels they feel comfortable with.

I would recommend that if you are unsure about your privacy settings that you set all your Facebook settings to “private” and then choose what you want to open up.

Facebook has a site page dedicated to governance, focused mainly on privacy, for people interested in the issues and who want to have their say. Go to

There has been concern expressed internationally about Facebook privacy issues and we are liaising with overseas privacy regulators on this.”

Media Release 24 May 2010 from the Privacy Commissioner.
Contact: Cathy Henry, 021 509 735.



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