In An Effort To Be More Transparent: Facebook’s New Privacy Settings Layout Overview

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Facebook has been under scrutiny about their privacy settings from as long back as I can remember. Now that they are a more mature and public company they are really trying hard at being transparent. They still have a lot of work to do, but this is a step in the right direction.

In an effort to be more transparent about their privacy settings, they’ve rolled out a new privacy settings layout for you to make it easier for you to manage your privacy, timeline, and tagging settings.  They’ve added a new feature (see below), retired a feature (see below), and have moved two features inline next to their respective applications (see below), and have changed the language or moved to a different page 19 privacy settings. (see below)

Note: Not everyone has them yet. I got them on Dec. 20th, but my test profile is still waiting.

Let’s get started!

In the upper right corner you’ll notice a little lock icon now. Click on it and you get drop down menu that allows you to manage some of the key privacy, timeline, and tagging settings.

Then if you want to know more, you can click on More Settings and you’re brought to the mother-ship.

New Privacy Setting

Under Timeline and Tagging (right under Privacy highlighted above), there’s a new setting under “How can I manage tags people add and tagging suggestions?” that says, “When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add to the audience if they aren’t already in it?”

First of all, the default setting is “Friends” (naturally). This means that when you are tagged in a post by anyone, you and your friends can see the post, as well as the person’s friends who posted it, even if your friends were not in the original audience (included in the post).  For example: If I share a photo with my friends and tag you in the photo, my friends, you and your friends will be able to see it — even if your friends aren’t friends with me.

TIP and FYI: So…you may want to review those Smart Lists again to make sure you have people really separated. Or better yet, modify the settings under the section above in “Who can add things to my timeline?” However, please note, that although the language may have changed on this setting, it still operates as it has before. Which, according to Facebook, this only controls what’s allowed on your timeline. Posts you’re tagged in still appear in search, news feed and other places on Facebook. Remember, nothing is private on social networks. Nothing.

What setting has been retired?

Under the How You Connect section, the setting Who Can Look Up Your Timeline By Name has been retired. Facebook claims that “Over time, this setting became less effective as there are now more ways to get to your timeline, such as photo tags or other kinds of searches. Instead, this setting is being replaced with new tools for controlling who can see your stuff, along with education about how best to use those tools.”

(Of course this irritates me as this was one combine with the next one were the key features that allowed me to be in stealth mode on Facebook. Sigh. Now I have to rethink my whole strategy again as I don’t like to be on there for personal use.)

Under the section Who Can Look Me Up, if you want search engines to be able to find you then you need to change Who can look up your timeline by name to Public and then check the box if you want other search engines to link to your timeline. (I like how Facebook nonchalantly calls themselves a search engine here). This was formerly under Apps, Games, & Websites section under the Public Search option of your privacy settings.

What’s new with Photos and Activity Log

This feature is a good one especially those that are paranoid. Here, Facebook is pretty clear about letting you monitor your photos and photos of you that you have been tagged in and where they appear. You have the option of looking at your Activity Log and looking at Photos of You or Your Photos. Under each section at the top of the page there is an option that allows you to see who they were shared with and whether or not they are visible or hidden on your timeline.

Apps, Games and Websites

The language has been changed here to reflect the following: “On Facebook, your name, profile picture, cover photo, gender, networks, username and user id are always publicly available, including to apps.” Which means, that no matter how you have your privacy settings set, Facebook is making these things public.

Friends lists

Who can see your friends list? Well, you can always see mutual friends, and your friends also control who can see their friendships on their own timelines. Which means if people can see your friendship on someone else’s timeline, you’ll also come up in their news feed, search, and other places on Facebook.  To edit this setting, click on Edit at the top of your friends list on your timeline. (Click on your timeline>Friends>then Edit). See here:

For a full list of the 19 items that have changed, you can dig into the details about Facebook’s privacy settings here.

What do you think?


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About Tracy Sestili

Tracy Sestili is CEO and Chief blogger at Social Strand Media. She is also the author of Taking Your Brand from the Bench to the Playing Field -- Social Media Fundamentals for Business.


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