Facebook Privacy: Uncovering 5 Important Settings

Three weeks after Facebook launched new privacy controls, these supposedly simpler settings have some users stumped. Here's where you can find five important settings that you need to revisit today.

Tue, September 13, 2011

CIO — When I returned from my honeymoon at the end of August, I read that Facebook had finally taken a long-overdue step toward regaining the trust of its users by simplifying its privacy settings.

According to its blog post, Facebook added inline profile controls; a new feature that lets you approve tags before they appear on your profile; changed some of its jargon; and extended a few features to both mobile and Web versions of its site.

The majority of its changes were positive—the tag approval feature relieves panic from friends posting unflattering photos, and the inline privacy controls make sharing updates and photos with specific people a lot more straight-forward.

"Well done, Facebook," I thought. But then I received a few messages from friends and colleagues wondering where X privacy setting went and how to change Y. Oh yeah, and one who asked me why her once-private Facebook photos were now public. Uh oh.

So I navigated to where I had always found the rundown of privacy controls to find solutions: I clicked "Account" in the top-right of the page and selected "Privacy Settings," then found myself at a redesigned and significantly simpler page.

I poked around for a while, reminding myself that it would take time to adjust and learn how this new privacy settings page operated. But as a half hour passed, I found myself growing more frustrated with just how long it was taking me to find answers to these questions.

If you're experiencing the same frustration, take a look below at five of the most popular privacy settings, and how you can find and adjust them in Facebook's new privacy center.

[Want more tips, tricks and details on Facebook privacy? Check out CIO.com's Facebook Bible.]

1. How to Find and Edit Your Facebook Photos Privacy Settings

Whether exposing pictures that were once private was an error Facebook made when it switched designs or one my coworker made accidentally, we don't know. Finding where to adjust this setting, though, was trickier than we thought.

Here's why: When you pull up the Facebook Privacy Settings page, you're offered three primary options to control your default privacy: public, friends-only or custom. And while it may appear that these settings apply to your overall actions on Facebook, it actually only applies to status updates and photos you post to your profile from a Facebook app that doesn't have the inline audience selector, such as the Facebook iPhone app. In other words, it's not a blanket privacy setting.

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