Amid Facebook Privacy Woes, MySpace Simplifies Privacy Controls

As users and U.S. and E.U. regulators get more and more concerned by complex privacy settings on social networks such as Facebook, MySpace says it plans to simplify settings on its own site in order to offer users better control over which data they share on its network.

In a blog post published this afternoon, MySpace Co-President Mike Jones wrote, “In the coming weeks, MySpace will continue to simplify its privacy settings to create a simpler, more intuitive approach that gives users greater control over their information. Setting options will include public, friends only, or public to anyone 18 or over. In making this change, MySpace will default the setting to “friends only” for any user who previously had any granular page setting to “friends only.” Users can change this option with one click if they choose.”

That doesn’t, however, suggest users’ account information will be kept private by default when they sign up for a new account. Essentially, though the privacy features will be simpler and more wide ranging, users will still have to opt-out of having their information made publicly available.

When signing up for a new MySpace account, users are currently presented with information stating. “Only the people you select will be able to view your full profile and photos. Everyone else will only see your name, photo, location, and contact table.” The blog post implies this information will still be publicly available by default after the introduction of the new settings.

Last week, European regulators sent a letter to MySpace competitor Facebook arguing default settings on the social network should limit access to users’ profile information and information about their connections on the site to user-selected contacts only. MySpace’s plans for renewed settings do not appear to include that functionality.

U.S. senators have also expressed concern about Facebook data privacy.

Jones added, “The last few weeks have been fraught with discussion around user privacy on social networks…. While we’ve had these plans in the works for some time, given the recent outcry over privacy concerns in the media, we felt it was important to unveil those plans to our users now.”

“We respect our users’ desires to balance sharing and privacy, and never push our users to an uncomfortable privacy position. That’s why we give our users control over their data, following the fundamentals of notice and choice,” he continued.

MySpace had not returned requests for further information on the settings at the time of publish.

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