Facebook rolls out changes to privacy settings

27 May 2010

Social-networking site Facebook has changed its privacy settings once again, following a barrage of complaints from users after previous changes left in question just what personal information was made public.

The changes this time around, according to CNET News, are easier to use but could be simpler.

Users can access their privacy settings just as they have been, by going to the the Account tab on the upper right of their Facebook pages and scrolling down to Privacy Settings. Users will be able to tell if the new settings layout has been implemented on their pages by seeing a new chart instead of text links to the various options.

The new settings are based on a user’s previous ones, so any settings that were modified in the old system will be imported as Custom settings on the left nav and under Other on the chart. Also on the left are several preset options: Everyone, Friends of Friends, Friends Only, and Recommended.

The chart itself is only changeable by hitting one of the presets or the small “Customize” text link below the chart.

The Customize page, upon which the most major privacy tweaks exist, looks like the text-heavy list of drop-downs from the older settings, but it does unify all those previously disparate settings in one place. Some new bits exist here, such as Edit Album Privacy and toggling wall postings. Users who choose Customize can further restrict their privacy settings.

There’s a small text link under Basic Directory Information above the chart. This permits users to toggle the privacy settings for profile data.

Users will also be able to block apps. From the main privacy page with the chart, users can click on the text link below the Applications and Websites link on the bottom left. At the top are icons of the apps a user has approved and, through the small text links just below the icons, users can selectively remove or block all apps.

Instant Personalization is a new feature that lets Facebook’s partner sites access a user’s data that the user has allowed “Everyone” to see. For now, this is set to off by default.