MySpace revamps privacy settings to counter Facebook's muddled set of options

Facebook grew more popular than Myspace just about two years ago, and has been been enjoying steady growth while MySpace flounders trying to reinvent itself.

But the recent attention brought to Facebook's privacy issues -specifically the complaint filed with the US Federal Trade Commission by EPIC pointing out that Facebook data isn't as private as it once was- has opened a door for MySpace to jam its foot into.

The New York Times last week called Facebook's privacy settings "A bewildering tangle of options," with 50 settings menus with more than 170 options, and a privacy statement more than 1,200 words longer than the U.S. Constitution.

MySpace Co-president Mike Jones seized on this opportunity to announce its "New, simpler privacy setting."

"We want our users to know we are planning the launch of a simplified privacy setting for our user profiles.  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," Jones said. "We believe users want a simpler way to control their privacy. That's why, 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."

A small number of Facebook users with a disproportionately loud voice have pledged to shut down their Facebook profiles on May 31, the unofficial "Quit Facebook Day."

From the site's sub-heading that explains why users are quitting, it says: "For a lot of people, quitting Facebook revolves around privacy. This is a legitimate concern, but we also think the privacy issue is just the symptom of a larger set of issues. The cumulative effects of what Facebook does now will not play out well in the future, and we care deeply about the future of the web as an open, safe and human place. We just can't see Facebook's current direction being aligned with any positive future for the web, so we're leaving."

Maybe they can be enticed to get behind MySpace.

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