Facebook Announces More Changes to Its Privacy Tools

The site is adding "privacy shortcuts" and tools to review publicly viewable pictures of yourself.


You Can't Detect What You Can't See: Illuminating the Entire Kill Chain

Posted December 12, 2012

Cynthia Harvey

Facebook is changing its privacy tools yet again. The company says the updates will make it easier for people to find and use their privacy settings.

Alexei Oreskovic from Reuters reported, "New tools introduced on Wednesday will make it easier for Facebook's members to quickly determine who can view the photos, comments and other information about them that appears on different parts of the website, and to request that any objectionable photos they're featured in be removed."

AP's Michael Liedtke noted, "The most visible, and perhaps most appreciated, change will be a new 'privacy shortcuts' section that appears as a tiny lock on the right-hand side at the top of people's news feeds. This feature offers a drop-down box where users can get answers to common questions such as 'Who can see my stuff?' and 'How do I stop someone from bothering me?'"

But one of the changes is likely to be more controversial. Nick Bilton with The New York Times observed, "The company is eliminating the ability for people to hide themselves on Facebook’s search, a control, that until now, has existed in the privacy settings on the company’s Web site. [Facebook's Sam] Lessin said the ability to hide from the site’s search would be 'retired' as only 'a single-digit percentage of users' actually hide themselves from Facebook search. But keep in mind that Facebook has a billion people on the site; a single-digit percentage of users could mean tens of millions of people."

GigaOm's Eliza Kern stated, "The changes come just as Facebook shut down an 'experiment' with letting users vote on changes to its terms of service, but the two aren’t necessarily connected. In the post from the company explaining the changes, Facebook is very clear to emphasize the 'educational' nature of the changes; as in, many of the changes will work to educate users on where their data is being posted and who can see it."

Tags: Facebook, social network, privacy

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