Facebook Simplifies Privacy Options

Following through on plans announced a few months ago, Facebook is rolling out changes on Wednesday to its privacy settings intended to make them simpler to adjust and understand by its 350 million end users.

By Juan Carlos Perez
Wed, December 09, 2009

IDG News Service — Following through on plans announced a few months ago, Facebook is rolling out changes on Wednesday to its privacy settings intended to make them simpler to adjust and understand by its 350 million end users.

In addition to consolidating some privacy options and grouping them in a single interface, Facebook will also provide new tools designed to walk end users through the settings.

Also, Facebook users will now be able to establish a privacy setting for every item they post on the site via a drop-down menu.

Facebook had indicated its intention to make these changes back in July, when it publicly acknowledged that its privacy controls had become scattered across multiple settings pages and that they lacked consistency. This resulted in confusion among many end users, who then didn't take proper advantage of Facebook's very granular privacy settings.

As previously announced, Facebook has done away with its regional network option, which let end users make their profile viewable by others located in their same geography. That has been replaced with four options: friends; friends of friends; everyone; and customized. People can still choose to make their profile open to others in their work and school networks.

"We've always designed Facebook to enable people to control what information they share with whom -- it's the reason our service continues to attract such a broad and diverse group of users from around the world. We're proud of the latest evolution we're announcing today and we will continue to innovate to serve users' changing needs," wrote Elliot Schrage, Facebook's vice president of communications, public policy and marketing, in an official blog posting.

Facebook will hold a press conference at 11 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time to further discuss the announcement.

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