UPDATED: Facebook Gives Users More Privacy Options

By Justin Lafferty 

Facebook has an extensive set of privacy controls, but many users simply don’t know how to access them. The site wants to change that. On Wednesday, Facebook announced that it is making it easier to control who sees your posts, such as introducing privacy shortcuts and clearer instructions when posting.

Users have been clamoring for easier ways to control their privacy settings, especially as the site changes so often. These tools will roll out gradually to users over the next few weeks.

Facebook Wednesday introduced privacy shortcuts, allowing users to get information quickly and easily about the most common concerns, such as, “Who can see my stuff?,” “Who can contact me?,” and “How do I stop someone from bothering me?”

Additionally, the first time a user logs into an application, it will break down requests for profile information. Previously, this happened in one screen — now it will happen in two, making sure that users know exactly what they are allowing apps to access:

Facebook is also doing a better job of educating users on who can see their posts, giving descriptions of what happens when you choose to hide something from your timeline:

And the social network gave its activity log a facelift. Introduced last year, the activity log is basically a running journal of everything you’ve done on the site.

With the new activity log, users can more easily see their likes and comments, as well as photos they’ve been tagged in.

Hate that a friend posted an unflattering photo of you? Now the site has more tools to connect users to ask for removal, writes Facebook’s Samuel Lessin:

Go to the “Photos of You” tab, select multiple photos, and ask friends to take down the shots you don’t like – you can even include a message about why this is important to you. The tool also lets you untag multiple photos at once, keeping in mind that while untagged photos don’t appear on your timeline, they can still appear in other places on Facebook, such as search, news feed, or your friends’ timelines.

Christian Sigl, co-founder of social privacy firm Secure.me, feels that users should learn these new controls:

With the recent privacy control changes, Facebook has taken away the option for users to hide from the site’s search and, thereby, it has removed another piece of the user’s privacy choice. As a Facebook member, you should be aware that your profile can now also be found by contacts you’d rather not like to share personal information with. Your profile picture, hometown, birth date, and family members — these are sensitive information. More than ever, make sure you choose the personal data you publish wisely to protect your personal data and identity.

Readers: What other privacy controls would you like to see on Facebook?