Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Facebook Makes Massive Privacy & Tagging Changes

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Facebook is launching one of the largest privacy overhauls in its history. The initiative will make it clearer with whom you’re sharing photos, status updates and locations.
“We want to make it easier to share with who you want, no matter what it is,” Facebook Product Manager Kate O’Neill told Mashableduring a preview of the new features.
The changes, more than a dozen in all, fall into two key areas: privacy changes to user profiles and changes to how users share content. They will roll out during the next few days.
Profile controls will now be embedded right on the profile page. In the past, changing settings such as who can see your photos or musical interests was done through the bulky Privacy Settings page. Now those settings appear on the right-hand side of nearly every section of the user profile when you’re editing your settings.
Facebook has also decided to bring the “View Profile As” feature directly onto the profile page. This feature allows you to view your profile page as one of your friends would see it. It was previously available in the privacy settings section, but will now appear on the top right-hand corner whenever you visit your profile.
The biggest change to profile privacy controls though is the addition to tag reviews. O’Neill told Mashable that users wanted greater control over who tagged them and how those tags appeared on their profiles. Users will now be able to approve or reject tags before they become visible to anybody else. This includes photos, locations and posts.

Changes to Sharing

The second set of changes affect how you share content. The Publisher bar has been modified and now includes three elements: locations, tags and control over who can see that status update.
You can make it so friends can tag you without approval, but you must approve tags from non-friends — which leads to another change to profiles: You can now tag anybody in a post or a photo, regardless of whether that person is a Facebook friend, subject to tag approval. This makes it possible to tag a large group of people from work or an event.
“Because I share an experience with them doesn’t mean I want to be Facebook friends with them,” O’Neill says.
Places has also been integrated directly into the Publisher bar. You can tag a location from the browser or the mobile apps. In addition, the restriction to tag places only a short distance from your GPS location has been scrapped. For instance, if you were at a party but didn’t write about it until you got home, you can now tag that location in your status update.
As a result of this change, the Places icon in the iOS and Android apps have been removed. In its place is a “Nearby” icon that displays recent checkins in your area. Checking into a location happens from the status update. Users can also tag locations to photo albums or individual photos or videos.
Facebook has also made some changes to the status controls. In the past, a lock icon controlled who could see your status update. Now that icon will change based on whether it’s a public update, one meant for friends or a custom update to a friend list or group. The “Everyone” option has been renamed to “Public” for clarity. You also now have the option of changing the visibility of status updates even after they’re published.
The last change to sharing content involves untagging. Facebook says that users were unclear what untagging themselves from photos actually meant, so it has provided more options for when they untag themselves from Facebook content. Now there are three options: untagging yourself from a photo, asking the photo uploader to remove the photo and blocking that person on Facebook.
This range of privacy changes seem to be proactive for a company that has been strongly criticized for its privacy practices. Privacy and safety groups have had a positive reaction to the changes overall. Perhaps at last Facebook will no longer be a company that only reacts when users launch protests.
Check out the screenshots of the changes below, and let us know what you think of the many privacy changes in the comments.







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Facebook pays homage to Google+

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Facebook is about to go live with a bucket-load of improvements in a move that brings many of Google+’s most-loved circle-based privacy options to Facebook.
"Today we're announcing a bunch of improvements that make it easier to share posts, photos, tags and other content with exactly the people you want, "announced Facebook's Chris Cox in an August 23 post on the company’s blog.

“You have told us that ‘who can see this?’ could be clearer across Facebook,” he added, “so we have made changes to make this more visual and straightforward. The main change is moving most of your controls from a settings page to being inline, right next to the posts, photos and tags they affect. Plus there are several other updates here that will make it easier to understand who can see your stuff (or your friends') in any context.”

One of the biggest differences users will notice once the changes are implemented is Facebook’s much more prominent Inline Profile Controls. The Inline Profile Controls (which were previously relegated to Facebook’s various settings pages) enable users to choose who they share updates, photos and content with, post by post.

The privacy settings of each post can now be adjusted after posting content if you wake up one morning and decide that sharing your drunken photos with the entire web wasn’t the best idea.
Place check-ins on Facebook have also changed from a smartphone-only activity to all-encompassing location tags that can be added to posts, photos, or updates.
Facebook intends to give users more control over photos and posts they are tagged in too.
“You can choose to use the new tool to approve or reject any photo or post you are tagged in before it's visible to anyone else on your profile,” explained Chris Cox.
Since the arrival of social networking newcomer Google+, both Facebook and Twitter appear to be ramping up their feature list in an effort to retain users and increase the amount of information their users share within the social networks.
Earlier in the week microblogging social network Twitter launched new photo sharing and user gallery features.
Hubspot, however, believes the increasing rivalry between these social networks has much more to do with user information and search share than it does with social media sharing or user numbers.
Facebook users should start to notice this latest set of changes in the coming days.
“When they reach you, you'll see a prompt for a tour that walks you through these new features from your homepage,” said Facebook.
While you wait for the changes to arrive you can check out the full list of Facebook settings and privacy controls that have been moved inline by visiting Facebook has posted a series of videos about the changes on its YouTube page.

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