Facebook Unveils Its New Simpler Privacy Controls

Facebook Fraud

As promised, Facebook is rolling out a new, much simpler way for users to control their privacy settings. With one control, users will now be able to determine who they want to share all of the content on their profile with.

During a demonstration for the media, CEO Mark Zuckerberg showed how a user could select one of three boxes— “everyone,” “friends of friends,” or “friends only”—to designate who has access to all of their info. Users will also be able to easily turn off access to their profile info by third-party apps and websites. At the same time, however, Zuckerberg said the company would retain the more granular controls it introduced in December, which lets users specify who can see individual updates.

The latest changes come as Facebook has been widely criticized over the last month for its approach to privacy. Specifically, users had complained that Facebook—without asking their permission—was sharing their profile information with some third party sites and that certain profile information, such as what pages a person was a fan of, could no longer be kept private. Zuckerberg did not straight out apologize but did say that the company had not communicated recent changes as well “as we could have.”

David adds: Almost an hour into the media call, Zuckerberg sounded more peevish than contrite, arguing that only a small number of people seemed to be complaining. “We have done a lot of studies and we try to make sure that we have an interface that people will understand. More than 15 percent have changed their default settings on Facebook and that suggests we’re doing a good job. But I hope the changes that we make today make that even easier.”

Zuckerberg also denied that advertisers were driving the company’s privacy policies. Instead, he said the company was trying to find a the right balance between letting people both share some information and keep other things private. After all, he said that “a core part of the (Facebook) experience” was being able to look up other people on the site.

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Facebook Effect: Zuckerberg Cares About Privacy—But More About Sharing

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg cares about privacy, the author of a new book about Facebook argues. However, the social net’s founder has much more regard for his own worldview, which he firmly believes is going in the direction of sharing more and more information about people’s lives. In an interview with Michael Arrington at Techcrunch’s Disrupt conference, Fortune columnist David Kirkpatrick, author of The Facebook Effect, and early Facebook backer Sean Parker, managing partner of the Founders Fund, the three debated the push and pull of Facebook’s privacy and information sharing methods. Both Parker and Kirkpatrick marshaled a vigorous defense of Zuckerberg the person and the executive.

Parker: “Earning the trust of Facebook’s users is a business priority for Mark. When he first started out, he was very skeptical of VCs, he was a mischief-making kid, but he did not have a mean streak. There are some people who didn’t like their place in the company that are are trying to paint him as malicious. He’s not.”

In a reference to the instant messages the 19-year-old Zuckerberg sent when he first launched Facebook, which featured mocking language about users as he touted his access to their personal info, Kirkpatrick dismissed it as talk of an amateurish kid. “In the days when he sent those texts at Harvard, Facebook was just a project. He is not as concerned as many other people are that users should be able to control what they want. He doesn’t believe that’s how the world works.”

Parker interjected again, arguing that Facebook is not a threat to privacy. “People control what they put on Facebook. They have control of how they define themselves.” Arrington pushed back, saying that people tend to want more clarity and control once they do post their personal info.

More than the privacy issue, audience members wanted to know about money. “After ads, virtual pig feed, how will money be made on Facebook? a questioner asked the panel. Parker said that the operating platform will be a third of its revenue for the next 12 months. Kirkpatrick added that he thinks the site will make over a $1 billion in revenue this year.

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How 6 Big Summer Films Are Using Facebook For Marketing

Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man, believes in "better living through technology." Most marketers would argue that better marketing is enabled by technology as well. One of the primary game-changers today is Facebook and studios are learning how to engage audiences online to spur a better box office.

Movie marketers understand the impact that reaching their desired audiences on Facebook can have on driving awareness and interest in a film. For them, the power of Facebook is its ability to quickly build a community and customer relationships, generate real-time conversation and feedback, create promotions that reach relevant users, and accelerate content-sharing across the web and mobile devices. (Also, see my previous post, Movie Apps Get Social as Studios Integrate Facebook Connect.)

According to Facebook, more than 25 billion pieces of content -- such as links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos -- are shared each month. Millions of these comments and posts are movie-related. Facebook is rocket fuel for word-of-mouth and studios are experimenting with how to best engage users in order to convert those who "Like" a movie to someone who purchases a ticket. With the arrival of the summer movie season, I decided to take a closer look at the Facebook pages for six studio movies and see which one, if any, was Buzz Lightyears ahead with Facebook engagement.

Iron Man photos1.jpg

Iron Man 2 | 1,360,503 Likes
Top Tabs: Wall (landing tab) | Info | Photos | Boxes | Video

Studio: Marvel, Paramount Pictures | 28,201 Likes

Release date: May 7

Iron Man 2 has made more than $290 million at the U.S. box office, according to Box Office Mojo. More than a million people are fans of the franchise on Facebook. While the Facebook page is nothing to marvel at when it comes to creativity outside of the core Facebook tabs, there are seven international pages (Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the U.K.) for "Iron Man 2" which is a testament to the global interest in the superhero. The U.S. page provides the essential photos and videos, but lacks the charisma of Tony Stark or the appeal of Pepper Potts. Alternatively, the Facebook page for Stark Expo, which includes a letter from Stark about his commitment to technological wonders, is a clever mechanism to get fans engaged with an event that occurs within the film.

When more than two thousand people respond to a simple question, such as "Did you see Iron Man 2 yesterday?," a Facebook page can be a weapon of mass conversation.

SexandtheCity2.jpg

Sex and The City 2 | 1,967,023 Likes
Top Tabs: Wall (landing tab) | Info | PREMIERE | Photos | Video | MORE FUN

Studio: Warner Bros | 62,308 Likes

Release date: May 27

Fittingly, the glossiest Facebook movie profile belongs to "Sex and The City 2." The "MORE FUN" tab on the page opens up a world of content, including a character quiz, an interactive trailer, a Girls Night Out planner, an iGoogle theme, a local hotspot guide and perhaps most importantly, one-click access to Carrie Bradshaw's closet.

While it's not clear how many SATC2 fans glammed up their Google page, the more than 30 official international pages reveal that the movie is a global phenomenon.

A Team movie.jpg

The A Team | 36,197 Likes
Top Tabs: Wall | Info | A-Team (landing tab) | Video | Photos | Discussions

Studio: 20th Century FOX

Release date: June 11

With a team member named "Face," the "The A-Team" is a natural fit on the A-list of social networking sites. While the page provides good mix of behind-the-scenes videos, character profiles and promotional news, it also should reflect the rogue nature of "The A-Team" and give fans a sense of adventure.

The page does link to a "Drive The A-Team Van" YouTube channel, where fans can drive the van in Google Earth to unlock videos. This is an innovative use of Google Earth that isn't easy to discover on the movie's Facebook page. The van is arguably the movie's most recognizable character and the opportunity to get behind the wheel of it -- even in a virtual scenario -- is a fun engagement vehicle that should be showcased on the page.

Toy Story 3 FB Tickets.jpg

Toy Story 3 | 791,581 Likes
Top Tabs: Wall | Info | Video Game | Fan Board | Tickets (landing tab)

Studio: Disney Pixar | 1,347,406 Likes

Release date: June 18

Disney Pixar movies have an advantage when it comes to Facebook movie marketing, due to the large Facebook communities for both Disney (more than 3.5 million Likes) and Disney Pixar (more than 1 million Likes). Four "Toy Story 3" characters even have their own Facebook pages (Buzz Lightyear, Woody, Buttercup and Lotso) that have larger communities than many summer movies. Disney Pixar also recently launched its Disney Tickets Together Facebook app, so now Facebook users can buy movie tickets without leaving Facebook. The combination of multiple Facebook pages sharing content and promotions with millions of passionate fans allows the box office for Disney Pixar films to, as Woody would say, "reach for the sky."

Twilight saga facebook1.jpg

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse | 6,154,389 Likes
Top Tabs: Wall | Info | Eclipse (landing tab) | New Moon | Discussions | Video

Studio: Summit Entertainment

Release date: June 30

Summit Entertainment is not one of the major six movie studios, but it is coming off a Best Picture Oscar for "The Hurt Locker" and big box office receipts for the "Twilight" franchise have the studio howling at the moon. "Twilight" also enjoys one of the largest audiences for any movie on Facebook thanks to the many community-created fan pages and groups dedicated to the movies and characters (e.g. Team Jacob or Team Edward).

But how effective is the Facebook page for "Eclipse" in engaging fans? Let's look at a typical day in "Eclipse" engagement. On May 12, the page shared eight pieces of content, which generated 60,000 Likes and comments. Much like the immortal characters in the movie, "Twilight" fans have an insatiable thirst for content. And for Facebook users who visit the page, the landing "Eclipse" tab does what all movie pages should do (but often don't) -- link directly to sites where tickets may be purchased online. And only a beloved franchise with ravenous fans could boldly ask viewers to organize a viewing party in their area. Twilight eclipses the rest when it comes to fan engagement and mirrors the massive built-in audience for Disney's "Toy Story" franchise.

Despicable Me FB.jpg

Despicable Me | 22,822 Likes
Top Tabs: Wall | Info | Win a Minion (landing tab) | Games | Minion Mail | Ringtones

Studio: Universal Pictures | 18,736 Likes

Release date: July 9

The Minions featured in the new animated film "Despicable Me" hope to rival the popularity of Woody or Buzz Lightyear. They have their own Facebook page with more than 68,000 Likes, or three times the number of the movie's page. "We're concentrating on building two Facebook communities for the film -- one focused on the film and one on the Minion characters from the film," said Doug Neil, senior vice president of digital marketing at Universal Pictures. "We want to engage our target audience with video clips, trailers, images, games, news stories, activities, etc., that help to drive awareness and interest in the film."

Regarding content that these communities find most compelling, Neil said that, "Video content -- trailers, clips, custom animations, etc. -- drive the most engagement and response. There has a been a lot of interest in the Minion Mail cards that have been themed to holidays and milestone events."

There are varying degrees of experimentation and community-building strategies being deployed on Facebook, but if movie marketers can agree on one thing, it might be the belief that there's nothing despicable about an engaged audience of minions with a positive message to share in their personal networks.

*****

Share your favorite movie page on Facebook in the comments below.

Nick Mendoza is the director of digital communications at Zeno Group. He advises consumer, entertainment and web companies on digital and social media engagement. He dreamstreams and is the film correspondent for MediaShift. Follow him on Twitter @NickMendoza.

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Keith Olbermann: The Tea Party “Snake Is Perpetually Eating Its Own Tail”

The backlash against Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, considered by some to be the first elected Tea Party politician, has Keith Olbermann worried about the state of the movement. After all, if Tea Partiers are “officially defriending” Brown on Facebook over financial regulation, what hope does any other Tea Party politician have, and if the Tea Party is inherently opposed to elected politicians as a whole, then won’t they always be against the people they elect as soon as they are sworn into office?

Olbermann described it as the “snake perpetually eating its own tail,” such that the Tea Party will eventually run out of elected officials to put in office and hastily dispose of. Not to mention, he continued, that he perceives the movement is slowing down, with the unexpected rise in the polls of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada and the Republicans’ inability to win the special election in Pennsylvania last week.

And while his guest, Wall Street Journal columnist Thomas Frank, agreed with the premise that the Tea Party does not stably support its own politicians, he added that, contrary to what might seem the inevitable result of it, the tactic is working. “The conservative movement has this sense of themselves as forever being played… [and] to a certain degree, it’s true,” he noted, giving as an example the rhetoric from politicians supporting the religious right and how little legislative action there is on those matters once they are elected. Wall Street, he added, is a different story– “they always get what they want”–but warned that the backlash against elected Tea Party sympathizers was a product of the way the system worked, and not a symptom of a problem within it. “It seems ridiculous,” he concluded, “but they are very effectively pushing the Republican Party to the right. Look at the situation that were in now– that’s an amazing achievement.”

Video of the segment, from last night’s Countdown, below:


Sarah Palin Welcomes New Next-Door Neighbor: ‘Scathing’ Journo Joe McGinniss

I have to imagine that when legendary (“scathing”) political writer Joe McGinniss (The Selling of the President) landed a book deal with Random House last fall to pen a “investigative narrative of Sarah Palin’s significance as both political and cultural phenomenon and as an embodiment of the contradictory forces that shaped Alaska as it moved into its second half-century as a state” he did not take into consideration Sarah Palin’s Facebook page. Or maybe he did and this is a part of a secret, ingenious, PR campaign. Either way, Sarah Palin says ‘Welcome.’ Actually, she says: “Hi, neighbor! May I call you “Joe”?

McGinniss has apparently rented the house next door to Palin’s in Wasilla, Alaska in order to research his new book, and has been taking the view from over the fence; something Palin does not fail to make sound slightly creepy. This is how Palin greeted him on her Facebook page:

Spring has sprung in Alaska, and with this beautiful season comes the news today that the Palins have a new neighbor! Welcome, Joe McGinniss!

Yes, that Joe McGinniss. Here he is – about 15 feet away on the neighbor’s rented deck overlooking my children’s play area and my kitchen window. Maybe we’ll welcome him with a homemade blueberry pie tomorrow so he’ll know how friendly Alaskans are.

We found out the good news today. Upon my family’s return this morning from endorsement rallies and speeches in the Lower 48 states, I finally got the chance to tackle my garden and lawn this evening! So, putting on the shorts and tank top to catch that too-brief northern summer sun and placing a giddy Trig in his toddler backpack for a lawn-mowing adventure, I looked up in surprise to see a “new neighbor” overlooking my property just a stone’s throw away. Needless to say, our outdoor adventure ended quickly after Todd went to introduce himself to the stranger who was peering in…

Joe announced to Todd that he’s moved in right next door to us. He’s rented the place for the next five months or so. He moved up all the way from Massachusetts to live right next to us – while he writes a book about me. Knowing of his many other scathing pieces of “journalism” (including the bizarre anti-Palin administration oil development pieces that resulted in my Department of Natural Resources announcing that his work is the most twisted energy-related yellow journalism they’d ever encountered), we’re sure to have a doozey to look forward to with this treasure he’s penning. Wonder what kind of material he’ll gather while overlooking Piper’s bedroom, my little garden, and the family’s swimming hole?

Welcome, Joe! It’ll be a great summer – come borrow a cup of sugar if ever you need some sweetener. And you know what they say about “fences make for good neighbors”? Well, we’ll get started on that tall fence tomorrow, and I’ll try to keep Trig’s squeals down to a quiet giggle so we don’t disturb your peaceful summer. Enjoy!

- Sarah Palin

Maybe McGinniss will write a book about the Facebooking of Palin. Even better, however, would probably be if Palin just collected her Facebook “notes” and published them. Steve thinks it would make millions. In the meantime, one can only hope McGinniss opens a Twitter account.