It doesn’t seem like a week goes by without Facebook making more changes to its privacy settings. The company gets a lot of flak for seemingly loosey-goosey privacy policies, but the forthcoming changes (and there are a lot of them) may put all of our minds more at ease.
There are several changes that have already started rolling out on the site, basically to make profiles more private and give users more choice in how we share our content and who we share it with. Here are the ones I think are the most important–and that are long overdue:
Improved Profile and Posting Privacy Settings: Adjusting settings on your profile in the past required click-throughs and navigation through your settings tab. Now, everything that you want to post–your hometown, your occupation, relationship status–has a drop-down menu next to it where you can delineate who you want seeing it. The same goes for posts and status updates. When you post something on your wall, you can use the pull-down menu to pick and choose who sees it. (They seem to be taking a page from Google+ here.)
Photo Tag Approval: Didn’t you love how your friends would tag you in horrible high school photos with the bad outfits and bad hair and they would automatically appear on your wall? Now, you actually have the ability to accept OR reject any questionable photos. Bad hair be gone!
Photo Tagging Non-Friends: You hosted a great baby shower for one of your friends and took some fabulous shots of her with her college roommates. In the past, to tag them in photos, you had to friend them first, which is then kind of awkward because then you become Facebook friends with people you’ll never likely talk to or see again. Well, now you can tag photos of people you aren’t friends with. Simply tag their names and they can approve or reject the photo on their own walls.
Changes to Post Audience: Ever have post regret when you spontaneously post something and then realize that you actually don’t want to tell all 600 friends that oh, say there’s a lice infestation at your house? Now, you can go into the post and change who sees it, after the fact.
(It remains to be seen if you can delete the post altogether, but there may be a “No one” group that you can choose.)
Overall, as someone very concerned with privacy, I think the changes are terrific and make a big difference in helping you customize who you want to share your information with. This comes in especially handy for those who are liberal with sharing family photos on Facebook, but don’t necessarily care to share their kid’s third birthday photos with their Facebook friends on the fringe. (Yes, we all have them).
I know several Facebook-hesitant people who are worried about privacy infringement, or just don’t want to share their kids’ photos with their socially-networked world. But with this massive overhaul, Facebook is finally making it a lot easier for people to have much more control over the information we put out there. -Jeana
For more detail about Facebook privacy changes see the Facebook blog.