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December 13, 2012

Facebook bolsters privacy settings

The social network has established new privacy settings as users become increasingly concerned about who can see their information.

By Tineka Smith

The privacy changes include privacy shortcuts, an easy to use Activity log and removal tools for managing photos users are tagged in.

These new tools will make it easier for Facebook users to decide who can view comments photos and other data about them that appear on various parts of the website.

"We continue to strive toward three main goals: bringing controls in context where you share, helping you understand what appears where as you use Facebook and providing tools to help you act on content you don’t like," said Facebook in a statement.

The new settings will also feature reminders about how hiding items in your timeline may still appear in news feeds, search and other places.

Facebook’s toolbar now offers shortcuts to help users manage how to stop unwanted contact and control which people can see their information.

The social network has also changed the way apps can ask for user permission to access information and post to Facebook.

"Before today, these two requests were part of the same screen and happened at the same time," said Facebook. "Soon you’ll start to see these requests happen separately, so you have more control over what you share. For example, a person can grant a music app the ability to read their public profile and friends list to personalize their experience in the app, but decline to allow it to post what they listen to to Facebook on their behalf."

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The changes come in the wake of Facebook’s plan to revoke user’ rights to vote on privacy policies.

In the past members were able to leave feedback and influence changes that Facebook made.

However, the company said in a statement that this voting system "incentivised the quantity of comments over their quality."

"We’re proposing to end the voting component of the process in favor of a system that leads to more meaningful feedback and engagement," said Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president for Communications, Public Policy and Marketing in a statement.

"We will continue to post significant changes to our Data Use Policy and SRR and provide a seven-day period for review and comment," he added.

Facebook’s move raised concerns among data protection regulators as it did with Google earlier this year.

In January, Google did a similar stunt which combined the personal information of its users from multiple web services, including its social network, Google plus. Data protection authorities became concerned that it was an invasion of user’s privacy.


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