WASHINGTON - Struggling social network MySpace plans to unveil simplified privacy settings in a bid to differentiate itself from rival Facebook, which is under fire over its privacy practices, The Wall Street Journal said Monday.
The newspaper, which is owned by News Corp., which also owns MySpace, reported that the new MySpace privacy controls would take effect in the coming weeks.
The Journal said the new controls give users the option to select one privacy setting for all of the information in their profiles such as their user name, their birthday, their interests or photos.
It said users will have the option of making their profile public to only their MySpace friends, any MySpace users over the age of 18, or everyone.
"Given all the noise in the industry, we want to get out and state a clear position so that our users understand that we take privacy very seriously," MySpace co-president Mike Jones told the Journal.
The MySpace move comes with Facebook under fire from U.S. privacy and consumer groups, U.S. lawmakers and the European Union over new features that critics claim compromise the privacy of its more than 400 million members.
MySpace has been eclipsed by Facebook as the world's most popular social networking site and has undergone some turmoil recently with chief executive Owen Van Natta stepping down in February less than a year after being named to the job.
News Corp. bought MySpace in 2005 for $580 million.