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by Senior Editor

Facebook announces new, simpler privacy controls

May 26, 20103 mins
Data and Information SecurityFacebookPrivacy

Facebook responds to criticism from users about privacy settings by making them simpler to understand and adjust

After several weeks of criticism about complex privacy controls that made it difficult for users to keep information to themselves, Facebook officials have announced changes that they say will make things simpler for people to understand.

In a statement on the changes, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said:

“When we started Facebook, we built it around a few simple ideas. People want to share and stay connected with their friends and the people around them. When you have control over what you share, you want to share more. When you share more, the world becomes more open and connected. Today, I want to share some thoughts on how we’ve evolved to this point, what we’re doing now to give you more control, and what you can expect from us going forward.”

New privacy controls can’t protect you from all social media threats. See: 5 Facebook, Twitter scams to avoid and Social media risks: The basics

Zuckerberg said there will now be “a single control for content, more powerful controls for basic information and an easy control to turn off all applications.”

The changes are in response to a backlash from Facebook members over changes the company made to the site back in April. Zuckerberg acknowledged this in his statement and said the changes are meant to reflect user’s desires for simplicity.

“The number one thing we’ve heard is that there just needs to be a simpler way to control your information. We’ve always offered a lot of controls, but if you find them too hard to use then you won’t feel like you have control. Unless you feel in control, then you won’t be comfortable sharing and our service will be less useful for you. We agree we need to improve this.”

The new controls, as explained by Zuckerberg include:

-One simple control to set who can see the content users post. In a couple of clicks, users can set the content they’ve posted to be open to everyone, friends of friends or just friends. This control will also apply to settings in new products launched going forward.

“So if you decide to share your content with friends only, then we will set future settings to friends only as well, said Zuckerberg. “This means you won’t have to worry about new settings in the future. This single control makes it easier to set who can see all your content at once, but you can still use all of the same granular controls we’ve offered if you’d like. “

-Facebook has reduced the amount of basic information that must be visible to everyone and is removing the connections privacy model. Users will have the ability to control who can see their friends and pages. These fields will no longer have to be public.

-It will now be simple to control whether applications and websites can access any of user information, said Zuckerberg.

“Many of you enjoy using applications or playing games, but for those of you who don’t we’ve added an easy way to turn off Platform completely. This will make sure that none of your information is shared with applications or websites.”

-Instant personalization can now also be turned off in an easier fashion, he said.