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Facebook’s decision to offer end-users simpler options to configure privacy controls on the social-networking site has received an initial thumbs-up from industry experts and privacy watchdogs. This first wave of positive reaction suggests Facebook may be on the right track to silence weeks of criticism about how recent changes made it unreasonably complicated for people to manage access to what they post on the site. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company understood and agreed with the concerns and moved quickly to address them because it’s a losing proposition for Facebook and its users if privacy settings are perceived as convoluted.

Pakistan reconsiders YouTube Ban

The Pakistan government is considering removing a ban on YouTube and Facebook, a senior minister said on Wednesday. In a post on his recently opened Twitter account, Rehman Malik, the country’s interior minister, said that the Pakistan cabinet, which met on Wednesday, had accepted his proposal to block only the objectionable sections of the two Web sites. Media reports from Pakistan on Wednesday quoted Pakistani officials, including Malik, as saying that the ban would be lifted in the next few days, after blocking the offensive content.

Larrabee shipment placed on hold

Intel won’t ship its Larrabee graphics processor, but elements of the chip will be used in future server and laptop processors, a company spokesman said on Wednesday. The company on late Tuesday said it wouldn’t bring its first discrete graphics processor to market, ending speculation about the chip’s fate after the company last year said it would miss its scheduled 2010 commercial release. Programmable Intel architecture for graphics and computing was a focus of Larrabee. The technology, which was due to be used in the graphics card, will instead be applied to future multicore server chips and laptop processors. Research and development around the Larrabee technology will continue.

Improvements to Yahoo Mail

Yahoo is working on many fronts to pump up users’ engagement with its Web sites and communication services, including significant improvements to Yahoo Mail, CEO Carol Bartz said Wednesday. When measured in terms of average minutes per visitor, Yahoo’s user engagement has dropped significantly in the past 16 months, according to comScore. In January 2009, users spent an average of 336.4 minutes on Yahoo properties, but that number had dropped to 247.9 minutes by April of this year, according to comScore. A Yahoo spokeswoman didn’t immediately respond to a request for more details about how Yahoo measures its overall user engagement.

And those are the top stories from the IDG Global IT News Update, brought to you by the IDG News Service. I’m Peter Sayer in Paris.
Join us again later for more news from the world of technology.

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