Feeds

Facebook adding new privacy control tools for your 'stuff'

Voting's done, let's get on with it

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Facebook has moved swiftly to introduce changes to its privacy controls and settings and it will roll out new tools to restrict access to posted material and edit past posts in the next week or so.

The privacy settings menu has been simplified to three topics: "Who can see my stuff?" "Who can contact me?" and "How do I stop someone from bothering me?"

When users post up new material they'll also be offered options on how far and wide to distribute that hilarious – and possibly career-ending – photo of the office Christmas party.

If this fails to stop people posting unwelcome information, Facebook is also making it easier to edit your "stuff" on the Timeline. It's adding multiple image removal, and users can send a message to the poster explaining why it was removed. That'll take "stuff" off your direct Timeline, but it'll still appear in some search results, though without tags to identify who's in the photos.

Speaking of search, Facebook has turned off the ability to hide your name from its search tool, and those who are using the feature will have it phased out. In a blog post explaining the changes, Sam Lessin, Facebook's director of product, said the tool was "very limited in scope, and didn't prevent people from finding others in many other ways across the site."

This, of course, opens up lots of exciting new revenue opportunities in the search area. Mark Zuckerberg said recently that Facebook's internal search engine was handling about a billion queries a month, which is chicken feed compared to Google and Bing, but (Zuck would argue) it's the quality, not the quantity, that counts.

Everyone's going to be getting a message about the new changes, and the company told El Reg that there would also be video tutorials posted online for those that need them. Based on the screenshots released on Wednesday, the changes do look like a good simplification of the notoriously-complex system in place today.

It's been just two days since its users failed to rustle up the 300 million or so votes required to block the changes Facebook proposed, and the company reported that less than one per cent of the user base voted against the changes – 589,141 out of 668,872 in the official audit. But while the voting system is gone, the company says it's is still listening.

"We understand that many of you feel strongly about maintaining the participatory nature of our site governance process. We do too," said Elliot Schrage, Facebook's VP of communications.

"We believe that having a meaningful dialogue with our community through our notice and comment process is core to that effort moving forward. We also plan to explore and implement new, innovative and effective ways to enhance this process in order to maximize user engagement."

The changes will be rolled out in the next week or so on a global basis, once the final code has been tested, so everyone should be updated in time to edit out the New Year's celebration pictures they'd rather forget. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.