Looking back at Facebook’s privacy policies 2005-2010

From Kabissa’s blog: Interesting look at Facebook’s ever changing privacy policy. I’ve added my translations below each.

Facebook Privacy Policy circa 2005:

No personal information that you submit to Facebook will be available to any user of the Web Site who does not belong to at least one of the groups specified by you in your privacy settings.

FB = A hangout for you and your friends.

Facebook Privacy Policy circa 2006:

We understand you may not want everyone in the world to have the information you share on Facebook; that is why we give you control of your information. Our default privacy settings limit the information displayed in your profile to your school, your specified local area, and other reasonable community limitations that we tell you about.

FB = A hangout, but also now a public search tool for your old friends from school to find you.

Facebook Privacy Policy circa 2007:

Profile information you submit to Facebook will be available to users of Facebook who belong to at least one of the networks you allow to access the information through your privacy settings (e.g., school, geography, friends of friends). Your name, school name, and profile picture thumbnail will be available in search results across the Facebook network unless you alter your privacy settings.

FB = Hangout, school buddy search, and friends-of-friends are now as good as friends.

Facebook Privacy Policy circa November 2009:

Facebook is designed to make it easy for you to share your information with anyone you want. You decide how much information you feel comfortable sharing on Facebook and you control how it is distributed through your privacy settings. You should review the default privacy settings and change them if necessary to reflect your preferences. You should also consider your settings whenever you share information. …

Information set to “everyone” is publicly available information, may be accessed by everyone on the Internet (including people not logged into Facebook), is subject to indexing by third party search engines, may be associated with you outside of Facebook (such as when you visit other sites on the internet), and may be imported and exported by us and others without privacy limitations. The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” You can review and change the default settings in your privacy settings.

FB = you are now a blogger unless you disable it.

Facebook Privacy Policy circa December 2009:

Certain categories of information such as your name, profile photo, list of friends and pages you are a fan of, gender, geographic region, and networks you belong to are considered publicly available to everyone, including Facebook-enhanced applications, and therefore do not have privacy settings. You can, however, limit the ability of others to find this information through search using your search privacy settings.

FB = your own blog, and any FB apps will also be public

Current Facebook Privacy Policy, as of April 2010:

When you connect with an application or website it will have access to General Information about you. The term General Information includes your and your friends’ names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, connections, and any content shared using the Everyone privacy setting. … The default privacy setting for certain types of information you post on Facebook is set to “everyone.” … Because it takes two to connect, your privacy settings only control who can see the connection on your profile page. If you are uncomfortable with the connection being publicly available, you should consider removing (or not making) the connection.

FB = your public blog and Facebook’s lucrative advertising tool. So how is it that they haven’t turned a profit yet? They sit on one of the largest databases of personal and social preferences but can’t seem to sell enough adds to pay the bills.

So in 2011, can we expect Facebook to charge users to restore full privacy settings?

2 thoughts on “Looking back at Facebook’s privacy policies 2005-2010

  1. Thanks, Marc! Glad to see my post on Kabissa sparked a reaction.

    I have been paying for my Flickr Pro account for 5 years now and don’t even flinch when I get the bill every year. I’d be willing to pay for a Facebook Pro account on a service that doesn’t keep changing the privacy settings, and I think many others would be too.

    The question I guess is what makes a premium feature and how that would compare with ads.



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