Aug 23

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Facebook Updates Privacy Settings

If you felt the Virginia earthquake today, it was probably in response to Facebook announcing several privacy setting changes that show that it’s either listening to its users or Google+’s critics. If there’s one thing we’ve seen consistently from Google+ reviews it’s weak privacy controls, and that’s been a consistent criticism of Facebook’s over the years as well. But now it looks like Facebook wants to be the first to market with sensible tools to make amends.

Facebook Product Manager Kate O’Neill hopes none of these change will be misconstrued as the site resetting everyone’s privacy settings. Rather, people are gaining more control over them — or they will when these improvements roll out across the site this Thursday. Here are the highlights:

  1. Privacy settings will be more clearly defined and easier to access on a per-post basis, and Facebook has changed the word “everyone” to “public” in privacy settings, for clarity.
  2. Profile privacy settings, once only accessible on the “Privacy Settings” menu will now be accessible from the “Edit Profile” functionality where it’s much more intuitive to set the privacy setting for each section of your profile.
  3. You don’t need to be friends with someone to tag them in a post or photo and you don’t have to like a brand to tag it in a post or photo. In exchange though, users are gaining the ability to approve tags of themselves in others’ posts and photos, and all tags will include an attribution of the person who did the tagging.
  4. Places no longer require physical check-ins, so you can add a location to a post from your desktop. There is even now a Places icon right in the update bar.
  5. Users can edit the visibility of individual bits of content anytime after they post.
  6. The changes don’t affect mobile users, at least for now.

Let us know what other changes you notice on Thursday in the comments below.

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