OK, the new privacy controls are completely borked. There’s been plenty of discussion already around the Net about how this privacy enhancement can actually open up more of your info to the entire Internet, without you even realizing it. But it gets worse. Even one of the things I actually liked about the new system is broken.

The new settings promise to allow you to set each status update to your wall with a personalized setting; allowing some to be seen by all friends, some by only a few people, some by the entire FB community (or maybe whole Internet, I can’t really tell). I use a fairly customized setup, and I’d been waiting for this feature to be enabled (it was demo’d during the summer); I have friends broken into groups…very close, close, acquaintances. I set my default setting to let “very close” and “close” friends see status updates, but not acquaintances. Tried it out with a test via the web page…worked! So far, so good.

Since I like to make things complicated, I do most of my FB status updates via the identi.ca FB sync application. I wondered how that would work, so I tried it out with fingers crossed…worked! Sweet!

Except it doesn’t, completely. As near as I can tell, there’s some weird difference in Facebook between a pure status update and something with a link attached. When identi.ca posts come in with a URL in them, that URL becomes an attached link…and suddenly the post goes from something viewable only by my default group to a post viewable by any friend!

That’s more serious, in my opinion, than it sounds to some people…”why would you be upset about your friends seeing posts, Ken?”. Because a friend is not a friend is not a friend, regardless of what Facebook and LinkedIn and Plaxo and everyone want you to think. Some people I share political links with, for example…some people I don’t. We’re friends, but we don’t see eye to eye on some topics, and it’s not worth risking a friendship, so we avoid it. Which works fine, until a setting that I think will let me be flexible and do exactly this doesn’t. Uncool, Facebook.

And other apps have problems too. The Facebook for Android app seems to do the same thing…whatever process it uses for updates appears to ignore the new default privacy settings, and shows update to all friends (and maybe friends of friends…I wouldn’t know how to tell. It’s not all of FB, at least…I can check that.)

Yes, it’s possible that I’ve missed settings. I’ve spent time tweaking some settings on the identi.ca app for permisisons, didn’t seem to make a difference. But it shouldn’t be this hard. And ultimately, one would think that my EXPLICIT default setting would override pretty much anything an app did. Ha! So much for privacy.

My connection to this SN is tenuous at best…they’d better unravel this mess pretty quick. I’ve got better things to do.

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