Big Changes Coming to Facebook's Privacy Controls

More

The company is trying to make users feel more in control of their posts, all in the name of getting people to share more (and more!).

Request Removal tool.png

Facebook

Today Facebook is announcing a series of improvements to its privacy controls that the company hopes will make users feel more secure when posting to the site.

The changes will bring privacy settings closer to the content they control. In the past, users had to head to a specific privacy page in order to control the master settings of their account. Now, on almost every page, Facebook will provide a special dropdown box where users can see and control these options. In addition, users will see messages that will help them better understand where their posts appear (e.g. News Feed, Timeline) and who can see what. A streamlined activity log is designed to bring all content pertaining to any one user into one place where he or she can control it. As shown above, a new system for untagging and requesting the removal of embarrassing or otherwise inappropriate images will be put in place. All of the upgrades will begin rolling out to users by the end of this year.

None of these changes affect what data you are sharing with Facebook itself, and how it will use that information for its targeted ad campaigns. If you "like" a page about a new Toyota -- even if you do so privately -- Facebook could still use that information to push ads to you from car dealers, though the company says it will never share your name with other companies.

Nothing in the new design will change how Facebook sharing fundamentally works nor will it alter any settings a user has already in place. Rather, the changes are cosmetic ones to the interface -- though, when it comes to privacy, such cosmetic changes are significant: No matter how much control users have over their information, it doesn't mean much if managing it is impossible to figure out or a hassle to do. Facebook is betting that by making this process easier, people will feel better about the service and reduce any inhibitions they have about posting there. In the end, the goal for Facebook, as always, is more sharing.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

When Will Robots Take Over the World?

"In a sense, we're already becoming cyborgs."


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Video

The Origins of Bungee Jumping

"We had this old potato sack and I filled it up with rocks and dropped it over the side. It just hit the water, split, dropping all the stones. And that was our test."

Video

Is Trading Stocks for Suckers?

If you think you’re smarter than the stock market, you’re probably either cheating or wrong

Video

I Spent Half My Life Making a Video Game

How a childhood hobby became a labor of love

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In