Facebook Announces 'Major Privacy Overhaul'

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Facebook privacy critics have slightly less ammunition now, as the world's biggest social network will be implementing several much-requested changes to the way users can control sharing of content.

Facebook believes that the privacy options are extensive enough to put each one of their 750+ million users through a tutorial to get familiar with the differences.

These changes will start to roll out in the coming days, according to Facebook's Vice President of Product, Chris Cox, writing on the web site's official blog. When they reach you, you'll see a prompt for a tour that walks you through these new features from your homepage.

The main privacy changes allow users more control over posted content (media, links, etc.) and who can view it. Instead of having to go to the dedicated Privacy Page, users will be able to tweak many different settings while editing the respective content elements on their Profile Page. This also has the effect of simplifying the options that remain on the Privacy Page.

The main change is moving most of your controls from a settings page to being inline, right next to the posts, photos and tags they affect, wrote Cox Content on your profile, from your hometown to your latest photo album, will appear next to an icon and a drop-down menu. This inline menu lets you know who can see this part of your profile, and you can change it with one click.

From the negative response that automatic photo tagging generated, it's no surprise that one of the specific changes deals with tagging. Users will now be notified and have the power to approve or reject any new tags before the content appears.

The privacy overhaul is being called one of the largest in Facebook history, as well as a direct response to generally unfavorable comparisons with Google's approach to privacy on its own social networking project, Google+. In fact, Facebook's implementation brings Google+ to mind, by giving the user immediate cues as to who is currently able to see any given item, as well as an 'inline' menu to change that status at a moment's notice. However, Facebook Manager of Corporate Communications, Meredith Chin, downplayed any influence that Google+ had on the changes in an interview with CNET.

We really wish we could move that fast. We've been working on these products for the last several months and iterating over time, Chin said. We want to make sure that any time (users) go to post something on Facebook they can answer the question 'who can see this?' It's right there at their fingertips.

James Lee Phillips is a Senior Writer & Research Analyst for IBG.com. With offices in Dallas, Las Vegas, and New York, & London, IBG is quickly becoming the leading expert in Internet Marketing, Local Search, SEO, Website Development and Reputation Management. More information can be found at www.ibg.com. Couch Oil and Gas is an independent oil and gas exploration operator with 40 years of experience who discover, drill, and develop high-return, low cost oil and gas prospects.

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