Facebook has a new privacy policy

With Privacy Basics, the social network site provides a sleek, interactive guide to your privacy options. Whatever you think of Facebook's record on privacy, the new policy seems to reflect a recognition on Facebook's part that their users do care about it.

I don't know all the details of how the policy has changed over time so as to be able to analyze whether and to what extent the current options are more privacy-protective than before, or whether it's a lot of graphics and not a lot of substance.

But this much seems clear: Facebook is still going to use your information in ads. Facebook is upfront about this, saying (in an email sent to users): "People sometimes ask how their information is shared with advertisers. Nothing is changing with these updates[.]" And Facebook's page about ads (available here) explains, "Your profile picture or name may be paired with an ad to show your activity on Facebook (ex: if you follow the Starbucks Page). Keep in mind that your name and profile picture will only appear to the people who have permission to view your Page likes." This practice is particularly problematic regarding minors, as we've discussed (litigation on this issue is pending).

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