Facebook lamely offers privacy measures

The world and its dog is banging on about Facebook’s lack of privacy for users, so yesterday the bigwigs had a meeting. It has now announced its plans to protect user privacy in an excellent turn of PRetending.

It says its latest features are designed to protect users from scams and to keep user information completely secure. In its own words, the features are to “keep bad guys out.” It has rolled out a login notification tool which will let you approve the devices that you commonly use, and then be notified whenever your account is accessed from an unapproved device.

It can be tried out on the account settings page. It will notify you on the world wide wibble via a Facebook notification, as well as an email, and if you want, a text message. It sure will be nice to know when someone else is actively hacking your Facebook.

Facebook claims to have also built a tool which will block suspicious logins before they happen. It says that when Facebook recognises someone is trying to access an account from an unusual device, it will ask a user to answer a verification question that will prove the user is who it says it is. It says that the questions are designed to be “easy for you, and hard for a bad guy.”

However, we think Facebook could be missing the bigger picture. With its “Like” feature already rolled out across the web, it is inviting users to willingly submit data about their browsing habits. Zuckerberg famously announced that privacy is not a “social norm” any more.

He reckons that people are comfortable with sharing their information, openly and with more people. While this might be true, it is not a good idea to flipflop and speculate on an important issue such as privacy.

These measures are something, for sure. A ton of services will ask you to verify yourself anyway if you login unusually, so why Facebook has just gotten around to it now is a mystery. Unless, a cynic may suggest, it is trying to offer something small to ease minds and make its fans and investors keep schtum. You can see the bog post here.