Only a few months after Google rolled out its highly-praised new social network Google+, which put privacy and controlled sharing at the forefront, Facebook has made sweeping changes to its own privacy controls.
Taking a cue from Google+, Facebook has redesigned its privacy controls to be much clearer and easier to use. As Facebook explains in a blog post, “Your profile should feel like your home on the web – you should never feel like stuff appears there that you don’t want, and you should never wonder who sees what’s there.”
To this end, Facebook has moved all privacy controls from a separate page (which was hard to locate for many Facebook users) to being inline, next to your posts, photos, and other Facebook updates. Essentially, you’ll be able to choose who sees your posts every time you create something new.
As shown in the picture below, Facebook offers three sharing options by default (Public, Friends, and Custom). Once you choose a setting, it will become your default setting for all posts until you choose to switch it. If you want to switch a post from one setting to another after you’ve posted it, you can make that change.
In addition to moving privacy controls inline, Facebook has also made it so that users must approve when they are tagged in photographs. Previously, if another user tagged you in a photo, it appeared on your profile without your consent. Now, you must consent to having the picture posted to your profile. If you don’t consent, the picture may still appear on your friend’s profile, but Facebook has built an automatic mechanism to ask your friend to remove the picture.
These changes should be rolling out to Facebook users in the next few days. Reputation.com will have a more thorough report on them at that time. In general, however, it is safe to say that these privacy controls are a big improvement over Facebook’s previous efforts and give users much more explicit control over what they post online.
Of course, users still must realize that the information they share online can become public by a variety of means — accidental, malicious, or otherwise. That’s why Reputation.com recommends uProtect.it, the only application that protects your information on Facebook from Facebook.
For a more detailed look at Facebook’s new privacy controls, check out this excellent slideshow from Business Insider.