The most significant implication of the new privacy settings unveiled by Facebook today is that the Facebook stream, will now have substantially more content which developers can access. The result is that Facebook could soon have more stream content than Twitter, who has a tenth of the user base which Facebook has. As Chris Cox stated on today’s privacy call, “everyone is the new default” for status updates and links.
Facebook made sure to highlight that users will receive notifications throughout the transition process about the implications of making their content accessible to “Everyone”. Given that only 15 to 20 percent of users have set their privacy settings in the past, this means upwards of 280 million users will get the recommendation that they set their new privacy settings for status updates and links to “Everyone”.
While developers have had access to the public Facebook stream since April, the volume of public content has been less than the mostly public competitor: Twitter. This has put Facebook in an interesting strategic position in which many developers continue to build media products based on content being shared on Twitter. With more content possibly being shared on Facebook than Twitter, developers will soon have more of an incentive to build aggregators and other services on top of Facebook.
While Facebook has always been about sharing with friends, it will soon be much more about sharing with the world. If all goes well, Facebook will become a much more integral component of the media landscape as shared information becomes readily accessible to developers. It will be interesting to watch how the stream evolves as these new privacy settings are rolled out.