Facebook is giving users more control and an instant chat facility
The US social networking portal Facebook wants to offer its users increased protection for their private data and expand their communication options. According to media reports, the company announced yesterday the addition of new functions to ensure private data protection and an instant messenger for the portal. As of today, Facebook members should be able to use various individual filters to specify the level of personal data seen by different contacts. The browser supported instant messenger, called Facebook Chat, should be released in the next few weeks.
With the new protection measures, Facebook is introducing a new data protection feature. In the past, Facebook's broad intrusions into users' private data, and its promiscuous use of that data, has caused upset on a massive scale. The company has repeatedly been the subject of criticism in the past for its lackadaisical attitude towards data protection. For example, users protested after the introduction of the News Feed, which constantly updated all of a member's contacts on his or her activities. It was not until after widespread protests that face book modified the feature, giving users control over it.
The portal operator faced similar troubles recently due to its new Beacon advertising technique, which created a log of members' online activities on Facebook. The data-hungry system was too complicated, difficult to switch off, and caused users to revolt. It was not until the second revision that Facebook gave its members the ability to switch Beacon off completely. As Matt Cohler, Facebook's head product manager, admitted to the San Francisco Chronicle yesterday, "With Beacon we just screwed up."