Facebook has recently announced that it reached 350 million users. Most users are sharing their real personal information, like birthday, home address, email address, family etc., with their friends only, or simply with everyone. All these important personal information have to be protected some way, and users should have complete control over who can see every little bit of their data.
New privacy settings
Recently Facebook announced that “new” privacy settings would be implemented soon, and that they would be easier for everyone to understand and configure.
Starting from today, my profile has been updated, having the brand new settings.
Here is a screenhot of the main privacy page:
And here is a screenshot of what the Personal Information page contains:
The new privacy settings are certainly looking good. The labels/descriptions are more informative, and they are nicely broken down in five pages (Personal Information, Contact Information, Applications and Websites, Search, Block List).
Moreover the options are securely locked, so even if you are logged-in, someone will have to type your password to unlock them and edit something.
The status update visibility can also be customized, which is probably the most useful addition. For example you might want to hide from your boss that you are having “fun” while working!
Some of the old privacy settings didn’t make it on the new settings!
What I am missing most is the ability to control who can or cannot see your friends, as well as your fan pages. I used to control it with a special friend list, and some exceptions as well.
Now this piece of information cannot be controlled, by default everyone will be able to see the whole list of your friends and your fan pages.
(*At the end of this article, you will find a way to completely hide your friends.)
I also cannot find the settings for individual wall automatic posts/activities. With the aid of the old settings, I could hide some activity updates, like who I became friend with etc.
Upon launching the new settings, the user’s profile is allowed to be indexed by Google or other search engines.
And that would probably include the name, birthday, friends list etc.
I am an existing user, so I can’t check all default privacy settings for a newly registered user.
How to hide your Friends list
Navigate on your profile page, and click on the little pencil, which is located on your friends block.
Uncheck the “Show my friends on my profile” option.
If you currently have a look on Twitter or Facebook, many people are concerned about the new privacy settings and are expressing their opinions about certain options which are missing.
I hope that Facebook will respond soon, and improve the privacy controls.
As a safety measure always remember to preview your profile while changing something on the privacy pages, and possibly ask some of your friends/family what information they are able to view on your profile.