Facebook Un-hides Your Privacy Controls and Trades in Places for Tags
posted Thursday Sep 1, 2011 by Jon Wurm
It's been a bumpy ride for Facebook in terms of privacy management. At times they have taken liberties by changing default settings like back in 2009 and even though there have been constant complaints from users wanting more simplified privacy management for year now, their attempts at doing so have been unsuccessful at best. This is why the new changes that recently took place are a bit surprising. Facebook's concept about how the user interacts with their entire profile is changing, seemingly for the better.
It was also back in 2009 that Facebook gave users the ability to control who sees individual pieces of content and now Facebook has finally taken things a step further by using inline controls to put privacy management in the forefront, instead of burying it away in an obscure manner under your "Account Settings." For example, the user will finally have more control over photos that other people tag them in. Now they have the ability to approve or deny tagged photos, ask the person who posted the photo to take it down or block the person. It's also worth noting that if you block the person or deny the tag, the picture will not show up in your profile. Take a moment to read over the previous sentence and give your self a minute to let that marinate... okay. The only downside is that now anyone can tag you in a photo, not just your friends. Given that what happens on the Internet stays on the Internet indefinitely, these enhancements will make that mostly a non-issue.
Facebook is putting privacy management in the limelight and moving Facebook Places backstage. Find out more about that after the break.
The Facebook Blog also mentions that viewing controls for status updates are changeable after the fact. It's nice to have flexibility here considering the ever-changing social dynamic of human beings. This new flexibility for privacy controls is also the reason why Facebook Places is taking a back seat to location tagging.
Before this, a "check-in" was treated as it's own post and the ability to continue using them this way is still there but Facebook has also made check-ins available via tags in status updates, wall posts and photos. This opens up location tagging a bit more as you can tag yourself or anyone else at a place you have been, are currently at or will be going to. Like tagging for photos, anyone can tag you at a location but you have the ability to approve or deny it.
It's been a long time coming for these changes and Facebook's growth has finally forced them to be a little innovative... on second thought maybe their trying to combat decreased usage rates, especially with an IPO looming in the near future. Whatever the reason, it's unusual to experience Facebook changes that are for the better.