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Over 300,000 college students demand better privacy from Facebook

If you're not a college student, you're not likely on Facebook. Facebook is one of THE critical social-networking sites for college students. Each of the 9.5 million participants has a profile, a network of friends, and memberships in various interest groups.

Of course, one major reason to be on Facebook is to see what your friends are up to. Students surf around from profile to profile, checking out photos, posting comments, etc.

Last week, Facebook dramatically improved the ability to watch your friends' activities. They launched a newsfeed that aggregates every change, every update. A sample feed:

Ashley deVille went from being "single" to "in a relationship."
Bernard Marie-Durgam joined the Washington DC network.
Jeffrey Buras created an event.

And while some initial reviews were positive, students quickly rebelled against the sudden transparency. Sure, the data had always been available on the site -- but the aggregation suddenly laid bare their lives.

Within a couple of days, over 300,000 students had joined a new group (created on Facebook) called "Students Against Facebook News Feed'.

As one blogger wrote:

It's kind of reassuring to know that there are hundreds of thousands of kids who are willing to stand up for something that is sort of kind of related to something that is similar to an issue that affects all of us. If only we could get these kids out in the streets over NSA wiretapping or email trolling. Invasions of privacy that really matter, not merely using the interenet in a way, thats a little bit, well... creepy (but awesome).

There's more, lots more. Some of the best:

TechCrunch: Facebook Users Revolt, Facebook Replies
DownloadSquad: Facebook users freak out, CEO responds
Oh Snap: Let Us Not Pretend We Do Not Like the New Facebook.

And, of course, the official response -- in which Facebook reverses course, and adds privacy controls:

Facebook Blog: Calm down. Breathe. We hear you.
Facebook Blog: An Open Letter from Mark Zuckerberg