Video: Zuckerberg on Facebook's privacy changes

Helen Popkin
By
msnbc.com
updated 5/27/2010 4:13:52 PM ET 2010-05-27T20:13:52

Looks like Facebook users weren’t the only ones reassured yesterday over the social network’s simplified privacy settings.

Industry blog Inside Facebook posted an e-mail today that purports to be to Facebook advertisers from “The Facebook Ads Team.” It begins:

“Facebook will roll out changes today that will make it easier for our users to understand and control their privacy settings. As this change will have an impact on our users, we wanted to let you, a valued advertising partner, know about it. Please note that this change will not affect your advertising campaigns and there is no action required on your part.”

The e-mail goes on to delineate the same simplified privacy settings CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg introduced yesterday at a widely publicized press conference at Facebook’s Palo Alto headquarters, and sticks to the same key talking points such as, “We believe in listening to our users and taking their feedback into account whenever possible.”

No surprises — just your basic business letter keeping its clients informed … and calm. Given the current Facebook hubbub, that doesn’t mean the letter isn’t open to interpretation, especially to tech media already suspicious of insincerity.

Facebook-critical Ryan Tate of Gawker’s ValleyWag blog seems to be the first to take a swing. 

“Maybe Facebook is saying very few users will take advantage of its new privacy settings, so there will be no impact on ad traffic,” Tate wrote in a post titled “Facebook To Advertisers: New Privacy Controls Immaterial.” “Or maybe the social network is simply as shifty and hard-to-pin down in its communications with advertisers as it is in its communication with users.”

During yesterday’s press conference, Zuckerberg addressed concerns that Facebook has increasingly offers third-party access to user profiles in an effort to make money. “There's this big misperception that we're making these changes because it’s good for advertisers,” he said. “Honestly, anybody who knows me knows that's crazy.”

In an e-mail regarding the letter and how it may or may not be interpreted, a Facebook spokesperson stated “We have always been able to deliver advertising in an effective way that respects people’s privacy.” Further, “As we do with users, we try to keep our advertising partners updated on changes we make.”

Helen A.S. Popkin rants about online privacy, then begs you to join her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter, because that's her deal.

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