Facebook has today announced a number of changes that you need to know about. The changes make it easier to share information publicly without getting bogged down in Facebook’s current complicated privacy controls.
Here they all in one simple-to-follow list.
- It’s now easier to control who sees what
Wherever you can share anything (photos, videos, personal information etc) you’ll be able to choose from multiple privacy levels; ‘Everyone’ (to make it completely public), ‘Friends and Networks’, ‘Friends of Friends’, ‘Share With Friends’ and ‘Customize’ (allowing you to choose specific people to share with.
- Privacy options have been simplified
Privacy options for your Facebook account currently span six pages. These have been consolodated into one page.
- Regional networks are being removed
These have always been an odd part of the Facebook experience. Some countries had many small networks while others had one network. Facebook says only 50% of users are in a regional network.
- Transition Tools are being introduced
To ensure that users are eased into Facebook’s new-found ability to share anything with anyone, Transition Tools are being introduced. This will allow you to change who can see different parts of your profile quickly and easily. Until you change anything here, your existing privacy settings will remain in place.
When do we get these changes?
The new privacy controls and the removal of regional networks will be rolled out to all users over the next few weeks.
Should I set up a Facebook Group to complain about all of this?
The good news is that if you like your profile to be private it will stay that way. If you want to operate more publicly you can do that too while still being sure that those embarrassing photos from your college years remain hidden from public view.
While it’s good that Facebook is simplifying its privacy options, there are still concerns. Facebook is considering allowing anything that’s shared with ‘Everyone’ to be indexed by search engines. This makes sense on one level, but what about if you want to change your mind and make it private later? Will those embarrassing photos remain cached by Google if you hide them from view on Facebook?
While previous Facebook changes have caused uproar, it’s unlikely there’ll be much to complain about here. It’s not like Facebook is sudenly opening your profile up for everyone to see (unless you want them to). Only the removal regional networks may cause a problem, but opening up parts of your profile to everyone should solve this problem for most people.
UPDATE: There’s a new iPhone app too!
Shortly after the above changes were announced, Techcrunch reported details of the new version of the Facebook iPhone app. An update is much needed; the current version is highly buggy and frequently crashes for some users.
The new version is to feature a revised UI, support for the recently introduced ‘Twitter-esque’ Activity Feed, support fr event invitations and improved Alerts. Push notifications aren’t supported unfortunately, but they’re promised in a later update. The new app is due “Very soon”.