Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during a news conference at Facebook's headquarters in Palo Alto
Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook posted record traffic numbers in July. REUTERS

Facebook users no longer have to worry about friends tagging them in unflattering or embarassing photos behind their virtual backs. The social network has upgraded its privacy settings to give users more control over what is shared -- within limits.

Your profile should feel like your home on the web - you should never feel like stuff appears there that you don't want, and you should never wonder who sees what's there, Chris Cox, vice president of product for Facebook, said in statement on Facebook's blog Tuesday. The profile is getting some new tools that give you clearer, more consistent controls over how photos and posts get added to it, and who can see everything that lives there.

Facebook may be feeling pressure to modify its security settings as Google + continues to gain ground in the social networking space. But a spokesperson wrote in an email to Mercury News that the changes had been planned prior to the launch of Google +.

We've been working on building these updates over the last few months and, as we said a few weeks ago, this is launch season and we're ready to get it out of the door, the spokesperson wrote.

Among the updates are Inline Profile Controls that allow users to adjust privacy settings item by item by clicking on a drop-down box, rather than having to navigate to a menu in order to alter who can see aspects of their profile. And users can choose to see their profile as others see it, by choosing the View Profile As option.

Perhaps most importantly for the social networking image-conscious, Facebook users must approve all tags before they are published. They cannot prevent others from uploading photos of them, but they can reject a tag request -- which will also prevent another user from linking back to their profile through the tag.

Previously, users could not adjust who could see their own Facebook post after it was published, unless they deleted it altogether. The new privacy settings will allow user to chance who can view the post after the fact.

These changes will start to roll out in the coming days, Cox wrote on the blog.

Taken together, we hope these new tools make it easier to share with exactly who you want, and that the resulting experience is a lot clearer and a lot more fun.