Facebook Unveiling New Privacy Control

Facebook privacy illustration

Facebook, the social giant, overhauls its settings, not for the first time, in an attempt to make things easier for people to understand.

Facebook began rolling out a variety of new privacy controls on Wednesday, December 12, 2012, as its effort to address user concerns about who can see their personal information.

The new tools introduced will make Facebook's users to quickly determine who can view the photos, comments and other information about them that appears on different parts within the site, and also to request that any objectionable photos they're featured in be removed.

On the top-right hand corner side of the website holds a new privacy shortcut in which users can have quick access to controls in which they can manage who can contact them, and to block specific people.

Facebook, known as the world's largest social network, has been criticized more than often in the past for being too confusing regarding how it manage it's massive user database information. The new controls are the latest changes to Facebook's privacy settings, that highlights the options of privacy in a way for easier understanding.

Sam Lessin, Facebook's Director of Product, said that the changes were designed to increase users' comfort level on the social network, which currently has over a billion users.

"Some users don't understand that the information they post on their Timeline profile page is not the only personal information about them that may be viewable by others. Improvements to Facebook's so-called Activity Log will make it easier for users to see at a glance all the information that involves them across the social network," Lenin added.

Facebook is also changing the way that third-party apps, such as games and music players, get permission to access user data. Now, an app must provide separate requests to create a personalized service based on a user's personal information and to post automated messages to the Facebook newsfeed on behalf of a user - previously users agreed to both conditions by approving a single request.

The revamped controls follow proposed changes that Facebook has made to its privacy policy and terms of service. The changes would allow Facebook to integrate user data with that of its acquired photo-sharing app Instagram, and would loosen restrictions on how members of the social network can contact other members using the Facebook email system.

Nearly 600,000 Facebook users voted to reject the proposed changes, but the votes fell far short of the roughly 300 million needed for the vote to be binding, under Facebook's existing rules. The proposed changes also would eliminate any such future votes by Facebook users.

Since almost anything published on the internet can be a matter of privacy concern, Facebook, as well as Google Inc and other online companies have faced increasing scrutiny and enforcement from privacy regulators as users entrust the increasing amounts of information about their personal lives to web services.