Facebook Makes Massive Privacy & Tagging Changes

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 Mashable during 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.

Source: mashable.com