New Facebook Tool Designed to Manage Your Privacy — Really

new facebook privacy policy update

A new Facebook Privacy Policy update will likely inspire a chuckle from critics. The social site’s professed dedication to protecting the privacy of its users has generally met with more than a little skepticism in the past.

Privacy issues with Facebook’s Messenger app and revelations about a so-called emotion manipulation experiment Facebook conducted on users are just the latest. Then there are ongoing  concerns about just who has access to the things you share.

So, the company’s announcement that it will again be updating its privacy policy effective Jan. 1, 2015 is likely to meet with more apprehension.

But, to combat this, Facebook claims its latest update will include a way for users to clearly understand and even control who has access to their information.

The privacy policy update features introduction of a new Privacy Basics tool Facebook says will clearly show how different settings work. Facebook says the tool will outline which followers and friends are permitted to see certain status updates and shares and which are not.

Privacy Basics is broken down into three separate sub-menus:

  • What Others See About You
  • How Others Interact With You
  • What You See

The tool is not designed to actually change any settings. Instead, the idea is that Privacy Basics walks users through a tutorial similar to the Facebook experience. Users are prompted to click through a variety of scenarios just as they would on the real site.

We gave it a try and the tool seems easy enough to use.

In “What Others See About You,” users can learn how to restrict people from seeing their posts. They also learn how to delete posts. They even learn how to control who can and can’t see their Friends list.

In “How Others Interact With You,” the Privacy Basics guide shows users how to prevent themselves from getting tagged in photos and other posts. Users also learn who is allowed to “Like” or comment on a status or shared item. And maybe most importantly, they learn how to unfriend someone.

In the “What You See” section, users learn to control the content in News Feeds and how to to filter the ad content seen throughout the site.

Another change in the new privacy policy is that settings put into place on one app, device or browser will now be universal now matter how you access your account, Business Insider reports.

This has been a persistent problem in the past as users frequently needed to establish one group of settings on their browser. Then separately they would need to remember to duplicate those settings on their mobile app for the same protection.

That report indicates that Facebook will be sending emails to all users to notify them of the pending changes to its Privacy Policy.

Office Computer Photo via Shutterstock

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

6 Reactions
  1. It’s about time.The issue of being on Facebook has always been the exposure of your life to other people. While people generally choose what to share, it is still important to control who can see your details.

  2. I’m a bit confused. Is it a Privacy Basics Tool or is it an information source that explains how privacy works? I ask because I visited the link and it seems to be the latter.

    • Hi Ebele,
      It’s definitely a tool that gives you an overview of what certain Facebook settings mean but then also provides users with guides about how to make certain changes in your account (like preventing unwanted tagging) to help protect your privacy.

  3. So, they didn’t actually update or change anything with their privacy policy; instead, they published a tutorial?

  4. well, for security reasons and for privacy I deleted my facebook accounts and pages all together, good bye.

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