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New Facebook privacy rules

Facebook is about to begin a major overhaul of its privacy structure, the company said in an announcement posted on the social networking site Tuesday night.

The firm said it will be eliminating the familiar regional networks that often govern which users can and can't see content posted on the site.  Instead, the new model will be simpler, allowing users to grant permission to browse personal photos and entries based on three tiers – friends, friends of friends, or everyone.

Facebook, which was launched as a college network in 2004, now has 350 million members worldwide.

"Some of these regional networks now have millions of members and we've concluded that this is no longer the best way for you to control your privacy," wrote Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg in his post. "Almost 50 per cent of all Facebook users are members of regional networks, so this is an important issue for us. If we can build a better system, then more than 100 million people will have even more control of their information."

Zuckerberg said the firm will also be adding more precise tools for controlling privacy settings. Rather than depending exclusively on generic settings, users will be able to set privacy restrictions on individual photos and posts.

The firm will remind users to check their privacy settings to make sure there are no unintended consequences from the change.

"We've worked hard to build controls that we think will be better for you, but we also understand that everyone's needs are different. We'll suggest settings for you based on your current level of privacy, but the best way for you to find the right settings is to read through all your options and customize them for yourself," Zuckerberg wrote.



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