Privacy groups slam Facebook's privacy recommendations

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Privacy groups slam Facebook's privacy recommendations

Warwick Ashford

Privacy groups have slammed new privacy settings on Facebook that encourage the social network's 350m users to share personal information widely.

The new system enables users to share each piece of content on their Facebook page with 'friends', 'friends of friends', 'everyone', or to use a customised setting.

But the US Electronic Privacy Information Center (Epic) said Facebook is nudging users towards sharing updates with the wider web, according to the BBC.

Privacy campaigners have particularly criticised the decision to make the gender and location of every Facebook user visible to everyone.

Facebook has rejected claims that the new system is unclear and designed to trick users into making more information visible to internet search engines like Google.

"The recommendations are designed to help people connect and share, consistent with the reasons they joined Facebook," the firm said in a statement.

Facebook claimed the recommended setting shares information in a responsible way by taking into account how users have shared information previously.

Sensitive information such as phone numbers is also assigned a more restrictive recommendation, the social networking site said.

Facebook's revamp of its privacy settings model comes ahead of a planned tie-up with Google in January.

Google will carry real-time updates of those adult Facebook users who have agreed to make some content available to everyone. Use of the setting is restricted for minors.

The move comes as Facebook replaces it original regional and network-based privacy model with a simplified system common to all users around the world.


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