Facebook Unveils User-Friendly Profile Privacy Setting Changes

BlogHer Original Post

This week in an effort to remain competitive with Google’s new social network Google Plus, Facebook unveiled a variety of changes to profile privacy settings. Here is a rundown of what these changes are and how they will affect you.

The most important change is the ability to control who sees the content you have on your profile without having to go on a wild goose chase through seemingly thousands of pages and pages of privacy settings, as used to be the case.

The new face of Facebook profiles.

As Jackie Cohen on AllFacebook reports:

Wherever the profile shows a pencil icon for editing information, a second icon will appear nearby, signaling the ability to alter the visibility of information. This button is actually color-reversed iteration of the friend-request icon; clicking on it pulls down a menu listing the choices “public, friends and custom.” The latter brings up the option to choose individual friends or lists of friends.

This same visibility drop-down menu appears near every single opportunity to post or share information on the home page and elsewhere, allowing you to customize the visibility item by item.

The “View Profile As” function which allows you to see how others see your profile used to be hidden somewhere in the Facebook settings attic. This revamp brings it right to your profile, Google Plus-style. You no longer need to click and click and click to find out how much of your information is visible to others. Now you can do it all inline. It’s about time.

Facebook is now allowing users to approve tags before other people’s photos or posts go live on their profiles. If you post an image or post and people add tags to it, you now have the ability to approve them before they go live. Facebook is also allowing options for tag-removal. Now when you don’t like something in which you’ve been tagged, you can untag yourself, request the user remove the content, and block a user, directly from the window that comes up when you click “untag.”

The new profile also enables users to specify where they are, who they are with, and who can view this post. The options include “Public” (they’ve gotten rid of that confusing “Everyone”), “Friends” and “Custom,” for those users who have custom groups on Facebook, finally making them relevant.

If there is one thing Facebook understands better than Google Plus, it’s that we change our minds all the time, so they allow users to change who can view a post long after it’s gone live. It’s like LiveJournal all over again! Unfortunately, there is no mass editor to make all your posts custom to only your girlfriends for when you add, say, the in-laws on Facebook. Alas.

This video explains some of the new changes:

One of the more interesting features of this new version of Facebook profiles is the announcement that Facebook Places will be phased out. Before, users were able to check in to places on Facebook when they were out and about using their smartphones. The new profile enables you to specify your location without a smartphone. You don’t even actually have to be there. Great for alibis. Thanks, Facebook!

These changes have been rolling out since Thursday, and the majority of users will be seeing them come next week. What do you think? Is Facebook finally understanding the privacy concerns we have voiced over and over again over the years or are they simply chasing Google Plus’ taillights too little, too late?


Facebook’s New Privacy and Sharing Controls Explained on GeekSugar

A Perfect Circle: “Friends” on TechCrunch

Facebook Makes Massive Privacy & Tagging Changes on Mashable
Facebook’s updated privacy controls take it beyond Google+’s Circles on TheNextWeb

You Can’t Force Me to Chat, Even if You Are Facebook on Go2Web2.0

AV Flox is the section editor of Love & Sex on BlogHer. You can connect with her on Twitter @avflox, Google Plus +AV Flox, or e-mail her directly at av.flox AT BlogHer.com


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