Facebook Tweaks Privacy Settings To Add Clarity And ControlWritten by Rob Nichols on August 20, 2011 · Filed under Internet
Every company has its downfall. Whether it be a small startup with employee numbers in the tens rather than the thousands, or the billion dollar brainchild of Mark Zuckerberg, there will be something, that one thing, that haunts it throughout its existence. For Facebook of course, it’s the much publicised and heavily criticised privacy settings. Yet here we are, Facebook now has improved privacy controls.
So what does this mean? Well, users of Google+ might be familiar with the new settings on offer to users wishing to share anything on the site, because everything you do choose to share, will now be accompanied by options of exactly who to share it with. You can make it public, by choosing public, or just share with your friends, by selecting friends. There are some custom options too, but in the interest of simplicity, the ultimate aim of this change from Facebook, we’ll leave that to anyone who dares venture beyond the boundaries of what’s laid on a plate for them.
You may notice, actually, that there’s a slight semantic change in there, again to make it just a little bit clearer to the user, and that is the change from ‘everyone’, to ‘public’. Apparently there was some sort of confusion as to exactly what ‘everyone’ meant, between everyone on the site, or everyone on the web. Unfortunately for the unaware users who did share unwittingly, it is, in fact, the latter. But public, is public. You share something publicly, it’s there for all to see. And so it is on Facebook. Having said that, though, it’s becoming increasingly apparently that the numbers of those on the web, and those on Facebook are separated by an increasingly diminutive margin.
And now, for the drunken few, who often end up in pictures that they’d rather not be shared on the world wide web by people out of their control. And so, there are now options to prevent posts and pictures being automatically shared on your profile when you’re tagged in them if you so wish.
“That was one of the earliest complaints about Facebook’s photo tagging system when it rolled out years ago,” said Erica Newland, a policy analyst at the Center for Democracy and Technology. “Facebook has had some controls around per-post for a while now, but it sounds like these are going to be much more granular and more universally provided for content, not just update statuses.”
And, if you at any point change your mind regarding who you’ve shared with, the options remain available even post-posting, in exactly the same spot on the right hand side of the message.
On a final note, Facebook has also now added a ‘View Profile As…’ button at the top of the page, which will allow you to view your profile as others who might be your friends, or not, will see it, giving you further clarity over exactly what you’ve shared with whom, should you forget or just fancy a check.
So now for the horror stories. Have you been affected in the past by the outrageously unclear Facebook privacy settings? Are you grateful for the new transparency in the security settings? Let us know in the comments section below if you’ve ever been let down, or whether you just think it’s a whole lotta’ fuss over nothin’.