The Russian popular social network VKontakte – Russian Facebook – has declared new changed in privacy settings for its users. New coming changes in privacy settings aim to protect users of Russian social network from unjustified prosecution for reposts and likes. The changes should be fundamental for recent years. The users should receive opportunity to shield the public availability of their personal profiles from everyone except friends or chosen person.
The changes have been declared by the managing director of social network. “Openness, convenience in sharing and dissemination of information are lying in the core of DNA of our product. These principles made VKontakte one of the most popular social network among the content creators. But the statistics shows that situation with criminal indictments for publication in Internet is getting worse. The users of VKontakte are accused more often and it makes us concerned,” – he wrote.
He believes enforcement authorities very often do not take into account the context (of publications), do not make difference between publication and its repost, and the simple image with dubious joke consider as really dangerous criminal offence. Vkontakte must comply with Russian law, otherwise internet watchdog Roskomnadzor can “switch off” Vkontakte from Internet. The social network must assist in search and prosecution of criminals, but not ordinary users who do not commit a serious felony. Vkontakte wants to assist in prosecution of real offenders.
The social network implements certain changes in privacy setting step by step. Last year all albums with images have been made private by default, because many users don’t know the real purpose of such albums. Since this change all images, saved for private use in such albums, are not available for other peoples anymore. As a next step the social network will remove the list of users who reposted publications; such lists will be available only for authors who made reposted publication. And certainly all private profiles of users can be made totally private, i.e. they can be made available only for friends of user.
The Vkontakte’s parent company, Mail.ru, has made a statement on situation when internet users are prosecuted for simple reposts of memes, which are not related to any extremism or terrorism activity. But Vkontakte provides Russian enforcement authorities with all requested information. Some professionals believe Vkontakte declared new changes in privacy settings because users leaving social network. There are no credible proofs. But the users prefer to chat in foreign social networks without fear to be prosecuted for memes.