Getting the Defaults Right

fbAnother day, more behavioral economics in The New York Times.  This one concerns Facebook’s approach to privacy, including the recent hiccup that occurred when FB attempted to change its terms-of-service agreement.  But the key point here is the overwhelming power of controlling the default, and thus the diligence needed to get the default right (i.e., legitimately attempting to figure out what an informed user would want to do).  Here’s a key quote from the article:

The defaults turn out to be crucially important, because few users go to the trouble of adjusting the settings. Asked how many members ever change a privacy setting, Mr. Kelly [Facebook’s chief privacy officer] said 20 percent.

(Note: this entry originally appeared at

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