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Facebook won't reveal outcome of privacy meeting

Social network answered privacy questions during meeting

Facebook is refusing to comment on what happened during a privacy meeting that took place yesterday.

Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said: "We had a productive discussion where comments were made and questions were asked and answered".

Noyes declined, however, to say if the social networking giant made any decisions about changing its contentious privacy policies or if the meeting was simply to allow employees to ask questions about the brouhaha that has arisen over them.

The blogosphere has been heating up with rampant conjecture about the meeting, since it comes on the heels of the latest complaints about privacy protections on the uber popular social networking site.

Last month, Facebook unveiled a bevy of tools aimed at extending the social network's reach across the web by enabling its users' information to be shared with third-party web sites.

That move stirred up a hornets' nest of controversy from critics, who said users shouldn't have to share personal information with other web sites unless they opt into the program.

The controversy reached the point that several US senators actually made public calls for Facebook to rethink its privacy safeguards.

Also, a coalition of European data protection officials called the changes "unacceptable" and claiming they were detrimental to users.

The warning, which was contained in a letter to Facebook from the Article 29 Data Protection Working Party, could spell more difficulties for Facebook.

The working party told Facebook of the need for default settings that would only allow access to profile information and friends to self-selected contacts, and that access by search engines should be the explicit choice of users.

The Article 29 working party also sent letters to 20 other social network operators but highlighted its criticism with Facebook in a press release published this week.

In response, Facebook said it agreed with some of the contents of the letter, a copy of which was not available. But Facebook said it disagreed with a suggestion that people be allowed to use pseudonyms.

However, in an interview with PC Advisor's sister title Computerworld last week, Ethan Beard, director of the Facebook site's developer network, defended Facebook's policies, and even said users love the changes that the company has made.

"People are actively opting in to engage with the social web," Beard said.

"The response from users speaks very, very loudly that they love what we're doing. I think there's a lot of other talk that's not coming from users necessarily. There's been a lot of interest from the media, from organisations and officials."

See also: Facebook ID thief guilty of hacking and hyperbole


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