Myspace: "We respect our users' privacy"

Posted by Mark Raby

People are running away from Facebook as though it was just infected with a zombie virus or something. Analysts are saying that user privacy is becoming less and less of a concern, and Mark Zuckerberg is doing nothing to calm everyone down. There's just no winner in a situation like this. Oh wait...

Myspace, which these days is about as relevant as a Blu-ray release of Gigli, sent out an open letter to its users today, outlining a new "simplified" version of its privacy settings that will be rolling out to the site within the next month. Myspace co-president Mike Jones said in the letter that it will have three privacy tiers to make user profiles public, accessible to friends only, or accessible to all users over 18. This setting can be switched at-will with a single button press.

The e-mail comes as Facebook has been mired in the press lately for completely overhauling its privacy settings and making user data more exposed to third parties without easily or automatically opting anyone out. Over the last few weeks, Google searches for how to close a Facebook account have exploded. Jones's letter obviously expresses that Myspace wants to bring disparaged Facebook users over to its side. "While MySpace at its core is about discovery, self expression and sharing, we understand people might want the option of limiting the sharing of their information to a select group of friends. We respect our users' desires to balance sharing and privacy, and never push our users to an uncomfortable privacy position," he wrote.

Bravo, Myspace, for at least being able to get back in the headlines again. If nothing else, this mass e-mail gave us a reason to open up the "where are they now?" archives. The reality is that Facebook has grown so big that nothing can hurt it now, or at least not a little snag in user privacy concerns. There is certainly no chance of a Myspace comeback.

Expect Facebook to do something to appease the bloated outrage within the coming days, but the bottom line is that if you want to social network, you're going to have to suck it up and stop crying.