More Control in Facebook Privacy Controls

Susan Hall

I don't know about you, but I was totally weirded out when Facebook put those photos at the top of your profile page. Who selected them anyway? And how?


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Five Facts Facebook Should Know About Privacy

If the company would remember these five things about privacy, its execs might not shudder at the mere mention of the word.

Luckily, the social network is, yet again, changing its privacy controls to give users more, well, control. Bloomberg quotes Chris Cox, a vice president in charge of products at Facebook, saying:

We want to make it easy for people to understand exactly who can see everything and make it easier for them to share with exactly who they want. We just think this will be a much more tactile and visual design and interface for helping them understand exactly who sees everything.

The ever-evolving privacy tactics of Facebook provide constant fodder for my colleague Lora Bentley, who in May wrote about the "Hide All These" button. Unlike that strategy, though, the latest changes allow users to approve - or not - content before it goes live. Basically, before, you had to seek out control settings off on some page somewhere; the new inline settings are on each piece of content. So you can easily nuke one of those photos off your profile page - or all of them.


Among the changes, according to Facebook:

  • You can approve - or not - each piece of content on your profile page, from your hometown to your latest photo album, from a drop-down menu. (This isn't working for me at this point, so I can't vouch that it works.)
  • If someone tags you in a photo, it doesn't show up on your profile until you approve it. (It will still appear on your friend's page, though you can see the audience that person has chosen for it.)
  • You can approve or reject any tag someone tries to add to your photos and posts.
  • A "View Profile As" feature lets you see how your profile looks to others. (Again, this isn't working for me.)
  • With each post, you can choose the audience, such as friends or a specific group, from a drop-down menu. If your phone doesn't support inline controls, this feature won't work.
  • You will be able to change the audience for a post after it goes live.


Folks in the Twitterverse are hailing this as a much easier way to make your profile employer-friendly. Indeed, with Google+ and Facebook job apps such as BranchOut and Monster's BeKnown rushing in to help you more clearly delineate between your professional and private life, Facebook's scrambling to keep up.

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