One thing that irks me, is when social networking features change privacy settings without notice. Microsoft has done some campaigns to alert users, but honestly, they should prompt post-update if they want to do these kind of things…
What are they doing? The December Xbox 360 Update, set to be released at 2 AM Pacific tomorrow, will automatically publish your list of Xbox Live Friends to everyone. Oh, and your friends will be published even if you don’t update.
Now, how hard would it have been to simply prompt users post-update and say “Hey, we suggest you show friends to the public, do you want to?” Not hard at all, especially with the Live API. This is an end-run around people not wanting to do that, by simply defaulting them to revealing all their gaming contacts. After all, if people have to effort to change something, they’re much less likely to actually do it.
Because of this, I’m suggesting everyone go to Xbox.com/fof and immediately change their friends settings (from “Everyone” to “Friends Only” or “Nobody”). If everyone did this, Microsoft would get the message about privacy… they’d have to since their servers would be jammed by people being proactive in fixing their privacy settings.
Tsk tsk Microsoft… I could name names like Major Nelson, but I’m not going to bother… they know who they are. This isn’t the mere principle of the matter, with so much social networking going on haphazardly by consumers… someone has to stand up and point out that you probably don’t want the universe knowing exactly who is your Xbox Friend (or Facebook Friend, or MySpace Friend… you get the idea). Dropping a note quietly in people’s Xbox inboxes just isn’t enough, especially when it would have been so easy to do a post-update prompt.
In fairness to Microsoft, people under 18 are not automatically set to publish friends to the world. Still, I’m sure there are enough adults with professional lives that this is simply not enough warning. Again, how hard would a post-update prompt have been? Trivial…