Facebook finally announced yesterday that they would be making some much needed changes to their privacy settings. In what is no doubt a reflex to G+’s circles, Facebook have really gotten to grips with the issue of privacy when it comes to certain areas. Facebook Product Manager, Kate O’Neill says “We want to make it easier to share with who you want, no matter what it is”. These changes will be rolled out over the next week and will certainly be a bonus in keeping loyal Facebook users happy. So what exactly are these changes and how will they affect you?
- A very welcome change has got to be the tag review feature which is going to be available to every user. From now on if someone tags you in a photograph, location or post, you will receive a notification to approve before being published. This gives you total control over what and where you are tagged and certainly adds some welcome added privacy.
- The ‘places’ function has now also been directly integrated into the publisher bar, and you can now tag a location from your browser as well as your mobile application.
- One of the main changes you will see are the profile controls. From now on the profile controls will be available on the right hand side of your profile page instead of the absolute mess that was the account settings page.
- You will also now have the option to “view your profile as others see it”. This is a feature which is available on most sites, and I’m surprised it’s taken Facebook this long to figure this out. I didn’t even realise it until today but apparently the option was there under the account settings all along... who knew? This will also now be available from your profile page.
- In my opinion, the most important part of these new changes, are the changes that have been made to sharing. You now have total control over who tags you. For example, you can enable your settings so that only friends can tag you without approval, or that non-friends can not tag you without your approval. This for security reasons alone is a great add-on. On the flip-side of this you can now tag anyone you like in a photo, location or post, even if they are not a friend of yours on Facebook, it simply goes to them for approval first. Great for promoting an event or for networking purposes.
- In much the same way as G+, Facebook has now introduced some changes to your status updates. You can now share with just friends or family, limiting who can see your status at all times. You can also change the settings after you have published the post. So for example if you have posted a status that you are currently just sharing with family, you can change that at any time to include another section of friends.
- Untagging yourself from a post or picture is now an easy task, plus you have the option to contact the publisher and ask them to remove the photo for whatever reason you may have. You can also block the user and report them if you are constantly being tagged spam-like.
Kudos to Facebook for finally listening to what their users wanted. Let’s hope this is the way forward for the social network and not simply a way to dodge the Google + bullet. Only time will tell.