10 Things You Need To Know About Today's Facebook Privacy Changes

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By Nick O'Neill Comment

New Facebook Privacy IconThis morning Facebook announced a new set of privacy settings that they hope will be sufficient enough to make them essentially permanent, as Mark Zuckerberg described during his presentation. For many users, the new settings means greater control over privacy. While there are always aspects of the privacy settings to criticize, we think this is a major step in the right direction. Below are 10 things you need to know about the new changes that were announced today.

You Can Opt Out Of Applications

Facebook has now introduced a button for users to opt out from the entire Facebook Platform. That means you can block all applications, games, etc. While developers will probably not be happy about this, this means users no longer have to deal with application requests, as well as spam on their wall from applications. That means the more that developers spam, the more likely users will opt-out of the Facebook Platform all together.

You Can Hide Your Friends List

One major upgrade is that users’ friends lists can now be made private. That means applications and other third-party developers will not be able to find out who your friends are. Additionally, all friends can be made private which means anybody who found your Facebook profile through Google can be prevented from finding out who your friends are. This is a major move by Facebook in terms of giving users more control.

You Can Hide Your Interests

Facebook’s interests were recently shifted to a system called “Connections”. That means those interests, which were essentially made public when the new community pages first rolled out in April, can now be made private. This is a huge win for users who suddenly found out that a large percentage of their profile

Much Information Is Still Public By Default

When users register for the site, it appears that a lot of information will still be public by default. This is different than the more private nature of the site, which Facebook started as. However, all new users will be able to customize their privacy settings and make their information more private. Facebook believes that more users want to share more information about themselves, as society becomes more transparent, and as such their default settings reflect this.

Instant Personalization Is Still Opt-Out

One of the things that Facebook may be criticized about with the new privacy settings is that the company’s “Instant Personalization” program is still opt-out, something that we revealed would be the case on Monday. While the company has stated that opting out has now become much easier, we haven’t had a chance to interact with the new privacy settings yet. Once we do, we will be sure to provide an update.

You Can Hide Information From The Past

By shifting your information to “Friends Only” you can prevent previous status updates from being made public. This is a great feature. Many users have been confused about privacy settings over the past couple years, and by making the settings work for information that was posted in the past, and in the future, users should now be clear about what is public and what isn’t.

You Should Review Your Settings

Once the new privacy settings roll out, you should immediately check your settings. This is because your settings will be saved as they currently exist. So if you have information that was made public through Facebook’s last privacy change (via the transition tool), you can now go back and make content (including status updates) that were previously made public, private.

Privacy Now Only Takes One Click

The most significant change here is that Facebook has shifted the privacy settings to only require one-click. By selecting “Everyone”, “Friends of Friends”, “Friends Only”, or “Recommended”, users can have most of their settings configured quickly. If users decide that they want to get even more granular with their settings, each aspect of their privacy can still be configured, as was the case before.

One Click Privacy Settings

Friends Only Privacy Settings

There Is Now A Single Directories Settings Page

Your Facebook information shows up in a number of directories around the web. In order to control how that information was displayed, you previously needed to visit a number of pages. All of those settings pages have been boiled down into a new privacy directory page (pictured below). This will control how (and if) people from Google, and within Facebook search are able to access you.

Facebook Directory Settings

Settings Will Be Rolled Out Over The Next Few Weeks

Over the next few weeks, users will see the new privacy settings rolled out to via www.facebook.com/privacy. As users get used to the settings, we will be posting more comprehensive guides that explain everything. Overall, the new settings should be much easier as they only require a single click rather than configuring 50 different things. For those users what granular control, it still exists, but the redesigned privacy settings were built for the masses and that means they should be much more simple.

Check back over the coming weeks to learn more about what these new settings mean for you and your privacy and safety.

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