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Facebook Tightens Privacy Controls

Facebook Tightens Privacy Controls
By Seth Fitzgerald

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Advertisers will probably not be fond of the changes Facebook has made to its privacy policies. However, giving users more control over who sees their posts, seems to be the latest example of Facebook's changing attitude toward privacy and its goal to provide users with what they want, rather than the things that benefit the company's bottom line.
 



Social media giant Facebook has updated its privacy policy to give users more control over who can view their posts. The new sharing options are similar to those found on Google Plus, which already allows people to decide exactly what they will share and who will see it.

For new users, the default sharing option is now “Friends,” whereas before it was “Public,” which meant that everything and anything users put on Facebook could be seen by anyone on the Internet. Since many people do not adjust those settings, people were sharing with the public unintentionally.

Over-sharing is always an issue that social networks must deal with and it is also one of the reasons why some people do not like services such as Twitter that have very few sharing options. Facebook's new policy is not in line with what advertisers would necessarily like to see but it will make things easier for users.

Changing Privacy View

Doing anything that does not provide advertisers with a greater incentive to hand money to Facebook is not the social network's usual modus operandi. This decision, however, seems to be the latest example of Facebook's changing attitude toward privacy and its goal to provide users with what they want, rather than the things that benefit the company's bottom line.

Whenever you are posting on Facebook for iPhone, the app will immediately let you know who will be able to see your post, just in case you are about to post something that the public should not see. “On Facebook for iPhone, the audience you’re sharing a post with is now at the top of the screen, and on Web, people will see a simplified audience selector. We’re testing and rolling out similar improvements in other places people use Facebook,” Facebook said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Facebook Login was also updated with an anonymous option. While this does not change the amount of data that the social network has access to, it does provide a new way for users to protect their privacy. When logging into services that support Facebook Login, users no longer have to hand over their data to those service and therefore, they only have to trust Facebook with their private information.

Privacy Checkup

Facebook's privacy settings will automatically be different for new users as a result of this update but current users will also be alerted to the way that they are sharing. Facebook will alert users through Privacy Checkups, which all users will be receiving sometime in the next few weeks.

Privacy Checkups will let individuals know who they are sharing a specific post with and who they are sharing all of their posts with by default. At this point, if users no longer want to share all of their posts with the public, they can change their default options to a different group.

“We want to do all we can to put power and control in people’s hands. This new tool is designed to help people make sure they are sharing with just the audience they want. Everything about how privacy works on Facebook remains the same,” Facebook said.
 

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Posted: 2014-05-22 @ 3:30pm PT
the big question is: do advertiser still "see" what is not shared with the public? i.e. does Facebook run its data mining stuff on it and displays ads accordingly? if yes, then this is not really a helpful improvement



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