Facebook Granting Users More Data Control

Users will soon have a lot more control over which friends see what, and which applications use what data on Facebook. This may not be great news for some app developers that make a living on the site.

The social networking goliath on Wednesday (Oct. 6) announced a series of changes aimed at giving users more control over their Facebook experience. Among the new features the site is rolling out is a dashboard on which users can view all the applications they use on Facebook.

While that should appeal to users seeking control, the dashboard feature may be alarming to developers or Web sites that partially build their businesses on Facebook’s back—as users will be able to see what personal data each app uses, and how they use it via that dashboard. If they want, users will be able to adjust how much personal data apps can use or delete them completely.

Beyond applications, Facebook has also rolled out an enhanced groups functionality that should help users make sure that grandma and their boss don’t see the photos from last weekend’s kegger.

According to Facebook, the site has made it easier to establish a series of small, closed circles—such as users’ families, college buddies or co-workers. Users will be able to elect to share messages, photos and status updates to only the groups of their choosing, if they want.

“We’ve long heard that people would find Facebook more useful if it were easier to connect with smaller groups of their friends instead of always sharing with everyone they know,” acknowledged CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a blog post.

“Until now, Facebook has made it easy to share with all of your friends or with everyone, but there hasn’t been a simple way to create and maintain a space for sharing with the small communities of people in your life, like your roommates, classmates, co-workers and family.”

Lastly, Facebook is introducing a new tool on the site that will enable users to download everything they’ve ever posted to Facebook—including photos, messages and profile information.