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Facebook updates privacy settings – again : Will increase users comfort

Facebook announced Wednesday morning that they would be making changes to their privacy settings, again.

The changes will be rolled out from now through the end of the year. The purpose is to simplify and clarify the privacy controls for Facebook members.

Updates will include Privacy Shortcuts, an easier-to-use Activity Log, and a Request and Removal tool for managing multiple photos you’re tagged in. Facebook will also be adding new ‘in-product education’ that makes key concepts about controlling your sharing clearer.

Sam Lessin (@lessin), Product Manager at Facebook, explains visually and point by point what we can expect from the Facebook privacy changes.

Privacy shortcuts

  • “Privacy Settings” and “Account Settings” will be unified, with a guide on the left side of the page that navigates users to different kinds of settings.
  • Facebook has added a new lock icon to its top navigation bar with a menu that answers three questions: “Who can see my stuff?,” Who can contact me?” and “How do I stop someone from bothering me?”
  • The menu will include a search function to give users a quick link to frequently asked questions in the network’s help center.

App Permissions

  • When installing an app, users will see information on what data each app accesses, such as publicly posted information and location data.
  • You will be able to grant the app the ability to read your public profile and friends list, but decline to allow it to post on your behalf.

Activity Log

  • New navigation, so you can easily review your own activity on Facebook, such as your likes and comments, tagged photos, and posts you’ve been tagged in.
  • A new way of sorting information. You can quickly see public photos you’re tagged in and have them hidden from your profile.
  • There will be a request and removal tool, so you can take action on multiple photos you’re tagged in. You can untag multiple photos at once.

You will no longer have the ability to remove yourself from Facebook Search. Per Lessin, “Because of the limited nature of the setting, we removed it for people who weren’t using it, and have built new, contextual tools, along with education about how to use them.”

Facebook has been struggling with the issue of privacy on its network ever since the site was launched.

It’s hard to believe Lessin when he tells CNN’s Doug Gross (@doug_gross), “We deeply believe that surprises are bad. When users are surprised, no one wins.”

Facebook, for me, has been a surprise a day. I have a hard time keeping up with all the changes. I’m not a big privacy freak though, so the surprises on Facebook that bother many of you do not bother me.

Bottom line, these changes look good. Facebook is a wonderful place to build and nurture relationships (good for business development). Getting you as lawyer or other professional comfortable with Facebook and how it works is a big positive.