Facebook announces new privacy controls
CEO Mark Zuckerberg today unveiled a new privacy feature which could
dramatically change the way people use the giant social network.
Up until now, the vast majority of Facebook users have shared information with all their Friends,
no matter if they are best friends, family members, work colleagues, or
just passing acquaintances. This has led to “oversharing” – the posting
of information or photos that are not intended for such a wide
While Facebook users have been able to organize their friends into Lists,
or exclude certain friends from individual posts, this has been a
complicated and tiresome exercise. Instead, Facebook has overhauled the
existing Groups structure, allowing members to use this feature
to establish small groups of friends in a more private setting. The
default setting for each Group will be Closed, meaning only members of that particular Group can see what’s going on.
long heard that people would find Facebook more useful if it were
easier to connect with smaller groups of friends instead of sharing with
everyone they know,” wrote Zuckerberg in a blog post.
“For some it’s their immediate family and for others it’s their fantasy
football league, but the common ground is always some variant of ‘I’d
share this thing, but I don’t want to bother 250 people. Or my
grandmother. Or my boss.’”
The new Groups will allow users to post
photos, make plans, and keep up with ongoing conversations within a
more private setting. Users can chat with other Group members who are
online and even use the Group as an e-mail list when they are not on
The new Groups structure will not affect existing
groups. The old groups will still appear on the Groups page but will not
have the features of the new Groups. Unfortunately, old groups cannot
be converted into new Groups, which may mean a lot of work for members
who want to take advantage of the added privacy.
Of course, the
ease with which Facebook members can now include or exclude friends will
have implications for parental monitoring. If you are friends with your
child but think you are not seeing everything that’s posted, you are
probably correct. You might want to check out your child’s Groups and
see how many you are not a member of!
In other news, Facebook
announced a tool for downloading and reviewing everything that a member
has ever posted to the social network. For added protection, this
feature will require password confirmation and the answering of
additional security questions.
Facebook is also launching a new
dashboard to allow members to check on how third party sites and
applications are using personal data. This single view of authorized
applications will be accessible through members’ Privacy Settings.
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Comment by Sarah, posted 11/5/2010, 8:38 AM:
Yes, with the new features facebook have developed, like the "Group" privacy settings, parental control and monitoring is now even harder. What do you think is the best way for parents to still have the same tranquility while allowing their kids to have facebook accounts? Do you think using parental control software is one way?