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  ‘Xbox Live’ Friends To Be Publicized:  Opt Out If You Like Privacy  
Posted 2007-11-26 by Tony Walsh
Microsoft announced via its Gamerscore blog today that as of December 4, 2007, adult members of the Xbox Live gaming service will have their friends lists exposed to the rest of the community. Previously, friends lists were private. Members will automatically be opted in to the new system, and will have to manually opt out if they'd like to keep their friends list protected.

According to Microsoft, Xbox Live members can opt out of the loosened privacy system by visiting an administration page and setting either "Friends Only" access or "Blocked" access. By default, the friends lists of all members aged 18 and up will be set to "Everyone" access. Minors will be disallowed from making their lists open to all, and are automatically given "Blocked" status.

I'm a bit annoyed at Microsoft for deciding my friends list should be publicly-accessible. It would have made much more sense to opt everyone out of the looser privacy system by default. Several repercussions to Microsoft's short-sighted move come to mind. For one, it might be a source of friction between friends: "Why are you friends with Albert but not with me?" Secondly, people are suddenly more "responsible" for their social networks: "Why does this adult have minors exclusively on his friends list?" Thirdly, some members are likely to get spammed in the form of unsolicited friendship requests. While there's little chance of serious fallout from all of this, it's disturbing that Microsoft has taken user data so lightly.
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Comment posted by Ace Albion
November 27, 2007 @ 6:18 am
It wouldn't make more sense to opt everyone out by default.

I mean, that would be preferable to many people, maybe even most people, but if opt-out was the default then they wouldn't be able to instantly have a fully subscribed system through a fait accompli.

It's a lot easy to make something a success if 90% of your users find themselves part of it without even knowing.
Comment posted by Tony Walsh
November 27, 2007 @ 3:45 pm
Ugh. If Microsoft starts crowing about how many people are participating in the new Xbox Live social network, I'm gonna barf.
Comment posted by Ace Albion
November 28, 2007 @ 5:05 am
I would stock up on buckets and wipes :)

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