Facebook to boost privacy controls

Facebook is to make the biggest changes to the social networking site’s privacy controls in more than a year

Facebook is to make changes to its privacy controls to make it easier to manage settings and enable users to review every publicly available image.

The updates include privacy shortcuts, an improved activity log and a new request and removal tool for managing multiple photos users are tagged in.

Facebook is also adding what it calls “in-product education” that makes key concepts around controlling sharing clearer, such as in-context reminders about how content hidden from timeline may still appear in news feed, search, and other places.

The social networking firm has faced continual criticism from privacy groups that its privacy controls were difficult to use and for its policy of making user content publicly available by default.

The changes are scheduled to be rolled out to Facebook’s one billion users in the coming weeks and will see the addition of a lock icon on the right of the news feed linking to privacy shortcuts.

The tool will enable users to set who can see their content and who can contact them in response to increasing demand from users who want to hide potentially career-damaging content.

The request and removal tool will enable users to review every publicly available image on Facebook that includes them, with suggestions on how to ask for them to be removed.

"If you spot things you don't want on Facebook, now it's even easier to ask the people who posted them to remove them," the company said in a blogpost.

Facebook users will also get more control when they first use most apps over what information the apps can access and what they can do, although this will not include games apps.

Analysts say the move is a tacit acknowledgment by Facebook that its privacy settings have been difficult to find, understand and use, according to the Guardian.

Samuel Lessin, Facebook's director of product management, said in the blog post that the company was aiming at: bringing controls in context where users share, helping users understand what appears where as they use Facebook, and providing tools to help users act on content they do not like.

Just over a year ago, Facebook conducted its last major revision of privacy controls as part of a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over charges that the social networking site misled users about its use of their personal information.

The agreement with the FTC required Facebook to tighten consent rules on privacy and close access to deleted accounts within 30 days.


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