New Facebook Privacy Settings Change The Way You’re Found By People And On Search

  on December 13 2012 10:54 AM

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) has changed the way users control their privacy settings again, attempting to simplify the controls. The change follows users' complaint that the system was too confusing.

“We believe that the better you understand who can see the things you share, the better your experience on Facebook can be,” reads a statement from Facebook..

The main change made on Thursday was what the social networking site is calling “Privacy Shortcuts,” an “Activity Log” and new Request and Removal tools. The changes aim to build on features introduced last year and work on the unpopular timeline interface, which allows users to see their own and others information from the time they stared their Facebook page.

The new privacy settings will allow users to answer questions that will determine how private something they post is. “Who can see my stuff?” “Who can contact me?” and “How do I stop someone from bothering me?” are intended to give people on Facebook the most private experience possible.

“It’s basically taking settings that exist and up-leveling them,” Erin Egan, the network’s chief privacy officer said according to the Washington Post. “What we're trying to do is bring this key information up front.”

Marc Rotenberg of the Electronic Privacy Information Center said that Facebook hasn’t done enough, saying the website will “change opt-ins to opt-outs, which means it’s easier to share data. And then they come back later and say they’re going to give clearer notices,” according to the Post.  He notes that Facebook could have benefited from allowing users to decide whether or not to use the timeline feature.

Egan admits that the site knows that the introduction of Timeline and how the layout works was confusing to Facebook users. . “At Facebook we care deeply about avoiding surprises. We want people to understand how they control the information and make the choices that are right for them,” the Post reports Egan said.

The world’s largest social networking site has also updated “Activity Log” that will now allow users to search content by type. Now timeline can show users only photos, text posts, videos or other types of entries at a time.

The post notes that over half a million Facebook users voted against the company to change the privacy settings, but were overruled, resulting in users no longer having voting power. Apparently the winning number would have been a whopping 300 million.

“This was from people who cared and voted,” Rotenberg said about Facebook’s controversial decision to restrict voting. “Facebook then decided to go ahead with the changes anyway.”

Facebook does still allow users to chime in on decisions the company is making for the website. People interested in Facebook settings can comment on proposed alterations before they are made official. 

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