Facebook updates privacy controls

July 2, 2009

Facebook is super easy to use in many respects. Send out that snarky message and the whole world knows what’s on your mind. But even though the site’s managers have tried to give users privacy options, figuring out how to limit who can read your murkiest thoughts has been less than straightforward.

The “compounding effect of more and more settings has made controlling privacy on Facebook too complicated,” Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly said on the Facebook blog.

As a result the social network site is now testing new ways for members to improve their privacy controls more easily.  This should mean that when you post those embarrassing photos or irreverent comments, you’ll be able to easily control who sees them without having to worry about oversharing with your boss or professional acquaintances.

But when you’ve got something big to say — like “There’s a plane on the Hudson” — Facebook will also give you the option to broadcast to everybody.

“You will have the choice of being as open or as limited in the sharing of this information as you want,” Facebook promised.

However, the tests, launched yesterday and expected to continue for a few weeks, will only include a small fraction of Facebook members before the company is ready to offer final versions.

According to the New York Times, Facebook is still determining if status updates that users chose to make public would appear in results from search engines like Google but it told the newspaper that it was testing a search engine that would be able to scan through this material.

Keep an Eye On:

(Reuters Photo: Facebook CEO Zuckerberg in July 2008)

One comment

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I really hope they don’t make postings publicly searchable. I have a cyber-stalker who has been after me for 4 years. This stalker means business. If users have the option it is ok, but if not, then I am risk for my cyber-stalker trash talking every friend and family member I have ever known. Also, this person would stalk them for info about me. This is not a joke, this person is potentially dangerous. The only thing keeping me safe is my anonimity, and the fact that this stalker is outside the country. Charles is not my real name either.

Posted by Charles | Report as abusive