Healy O'Connor

Privacy Settings on Facebook

Facebook has unveiled major changes to its privacy controls so users can determine what is shown on their profile pages more easily.

Items posted online will now have their own dropdown menu so users can select who can view it, rather than in a separate settings page.

Facebook users will also be able to approve posts they are ‘tagged’ in before the item appears on their profile.

With the Pending Posts feature, when users are tagged in a photograph, video or comment they will also have the option to confirm or remove their identity before it appears on their page.

Facebook said the ability to approve tags was the number one request from users.

The social networking site has previously come under fire for it’s privacy settings, with critics saying the system was too complicated.

A spokeswoman for Facebook said the introduction of new controls was about making privacy “simple and easy to use”.

She added: “We have taken it out from behind the scenes and put it right next to the posts and photos.

“It is simpler and more intuitive, rather than taking several clicks to get to.”

The spokeswoman added it would give users more control over who sees which part of a profile.

With the new controls the user will also be able to remove tags, ask the person who tagged you to remove it, or block the tagger.

In other changes, users will be able to tag anyone, not just Facebook friends, but the other person can choose not to accept the tagged post on their profile.

Geographic locations can also be added in all versions of Facebook, not just mobile phone application, on an opt-in basis.

Users will also be able to see how others view their profile and change who can see their status updates after they have posted them.

People will be prompted to take a tour walking them through these new features from their homepage.

Facebook’s vice president of product Chris Cox said: “We’re always trying to improve, always doing user testing and always feeding in to improve the controls on who can see your content.

“The new dropdown menu will be expanding over time to include smaller groups of people you may want to share with, like co-workers, friend lists you’ve created, and groups you’re a member of. This will make it easy to quickly select exactly the audience you want for any post.”

The new privacy options will begin to be rolled out across the site from tomorrow onwards.

(The Irish Times, 24th August 2011)

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