Facebook to Offer New Privacy Controls

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Facebook announced very early this morning in an open letter from its founder, Mark Zuckerberg, that it would be making some fairly significant changes to the privacy controls users have access to over the next couple of weeks.

The most major change going is that users won’t be controlling who can see their profile in quite the same way that they can at the moment. Instead, users will be able to choose who can see individual updates, rather than entire pages. This new model would allow for users to make some updates visible only to their friends, others to friends of friends and still others to be viewable by the world at large. It’s an interesting shift, and one that gives Facebook users more control over who has access to their updates.

The same update will also be removing regional networks, so you needn’t worry about those groups you’re in with millions of members being able to read your post quite so much either. Facebook’s 3.5 million-odd users will be shown a message urging them to update their privacy settings to reflect the new changes as they’re rolled out, so with any luck there’ll be relatively few people who manage to miss the fact that Facebook is changing entirely.

In the words of Zuckerberg himself when he was talking about the new update,

“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 customise them for yourself. I encourage you to do this and consider who you’re sharing with online.”

It’s certainly an interesting shift for Facebook, but judging from the feedback on the Facebook blog post about it, it seems that users are generally pretty pleased with the change…

Just how pleased they’ll be when they actually have to sit down and read through the new privacy settings is probably going to be a touch different.

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