Who Can See What? Facebook makes some significant (and overdue) changes

Facebook has just announced MAJOR changes to how you control what people see:

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. You have told us that “who can see this?” could be clearer across Facebook, 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. Here’s what’s coming up, organized around two areas: what shows up on your profile, and what happens when you share something new.

via Facebook Blog.

The changes are pretty extensive and listed here: (the blog post has details for each)

  1. Inline Profile Controls
  2. Profile Tag Review
  3. Content Tag Review
  4. View Profile As…
  5. Inline controls
  6. Word Change: “Everyone” to “Public”
  7. Change Your Mind After You Post?
  8. Tag Who You’re With, or What You Want to Talk About
  9. Tag Locations in Posts
  10. Remove Tags or Content from Facebook

While most of these are just improved ways of controlling who sees what on your profile and elsewhere, #8 warrants special mention. It allows you to tag people and pages in status updates, comments and photos EVEN IF you’re not friends (or in like) with them. That is a significant departure from Facebook’s friending paradigm.

Now before you start freaking out about anyone being able to tag you in things, #3 allows you to prevent tagging without your approval. So anyone can try to tag you, but you have control over when and where you are tagged.

On balance these are good changes but will undoubtedly spark a flurry of concern. As I alluded to in the title of this post, most of these changes are overdue and will make life on Facebook much better – once we get used to them.

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