Facebook’s Privacy Settings have long been a thorn in privacy advocates’ side. They deemed it to complex for a typical user to understand, and have often decried Facebook’s long-standing opt-in-by-default policy when it comes to new features on the social network.
Unfortunately, the latter has not yet been changed, but the Privacy Settings are in for a revamp that should make them more granular and – above all – easier to understand.
The changes, which are due to begin being rolled out on Thursday, are as follows:
Inline profile controls
Most settings used to be on separate pages, accessible via a number of clicks and sometimes seemingly buried and hard to find. Now, every content that you put on your profile will come with a drop-down menu on the side, where you can choose if you want to make item public to everyone, visible only to friends or even visible only to a select few people:
You may also notice that the “Everyone” option doesn’t exist anymore – it has been replaced by “Public” in order to avoid confusion. The option means that anyone on the Internet can see it.
“This dropdown menu will be expanding over time to include smaller groups of people you may want to share with, like co-workers, Friend Lists you’ve created, and Groups you’re a member of. These will make it easy to quickly select exactly the audience you want for any post,” explains Chris Cox, Facebook’s vice president of product.
Also, it used to be that once you made a post public, you could delete it, but you couldn’t change your mind on who you want to see it. Now, with the inline control settings you can change that whenever you want.
The preexisting option of seeing how other view your profile has been also moved and is now just a click away, always located conveniently above your profile.
Tagging someone in a photo, status update or comment will now be possible only if that user confirms the tag. Until he does, the tag is not visible to anyone else.
You can take down a previously made tag of yourself, ask the person who tagged you to remove the photo, or block the tagger. A blocked person will not be able to add tags of you in the future, as well as contact you or see you on Facebook. Also, all past tags he or she made of you will be automatically removed.
In addition, now you can tag someone even if you are not friends on Facebook, and you can tag brands without having to “like” their pages first.
Also, tagging location in posts was up until now possible only by “checking in” with the Place feature on your smartphone. Now, you can do it from any device, and you can tag a photo, status update or Wall post.
According to the BBC, these changes will not be accompanied by the usual automatic reversion to the option most liked by Facebook – “share everything with everyone”. Existing users will retain their current default sharing settings.
But new users should be careful, since their privacy settings will be set on “Public” by default and the onus is on them to change that if the want.