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Protecting Privacy Online: Facebook Opt-Out Not Enough?

One of the top stories of the weekend: the growing calls for regulation of Privacy on Facebook.

Last week, Facebook rolled out an update and implemented some new features. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation reports,

Friday morning Facebook changed its privacy settings layout, making it a bit more challenging to opt out completely. As before, unchecking the "Allow" box is not sufficient because you need to block each Instant Personalization website to fully opt out.

The EFF has a list of steps you can take in order to fully opt-out of Facebook's new Instant Personalization feature. However, this latest controversy has re-ignited the debate over protecting privacy online -- specifically privacy when using social media.

Adam Ostrow of Mashable.com writes:

On Sunday, Senator Charles Schumer of New York penned a letter to the FTC, urging them to create privacy guidelines for Facebook and other social networking sites. The heart of the issue, in Schumer’s eyes, is that Facebook’s new features put the onus on users to opt-out, as opposed to asking them if they want to opt-in.

Facebook disputed this position in an interview with ABC news, stating, "...none of these changes removed or reduced people’s control over their information.”

This controversy raises two major issues. First, as Senator Schumer stated, the new policies make opting out "complicated and confusing." While Facebook has extensive tools for setting your privacy level, the reality is that many users do not use them.

The second major issue, is that of Facebook making changes to the way the site works and then automatically opting users in and forcing them to opt themselves out.

At the moment the internet is buzzing with sites instructing users on how to opt out of Facebook's new features.

This issue is certain to be ongoing, stay tuned as we will keep you posted as it continues to develop.

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