Skip to main content

Facebook once again updates it privacy settings

Facebook has once again updated its privacy settings with Privacy Shortcuts, an easily accessible Activity Log, and an updated Request and Removal tool.

The social network said it will also add alerts throughout the site to remind you how certain features work, "such as in-context reminders about how stuff you hide from timeline may still appear in news feed, search, and other places," the social network explained.

When the new updates go live at the end of the year, the toolbar atop of Facebook will include a new lock icon; click that to find a drop-down menu including a "Who can see my stuff?" option, as well as "Who can contact me?" or "How do I stop someone from bothering me?" A "See all settings" link will also take you to the broader Facebook privacy page.

The move, Facebook said, is intended to help you quickly access your settings without having to "navigate through a separate set of pages."

Facebook is also tackling the controversy surrounding its "frictionless sharing" option, where apps like Spotify would automatically share your listening habits with your Facebook friends. Before the update, Facebook apps would combine all their permissions in one menu before installing on your accounts, accessing your friends list and posting your activities to Facebook.

"Soon you'll start to see these requests happen separately, so you have more control over what you share," Facebook said. "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 Facebook on their behalf." The alerts, meanwhile, will appear when you hide or block something from your account. If you hide an item from your timeline, for example, a message will appear saying that it may still appear in search, news feed and other places on Facebook. If that too is intolerable, there's also the option to report items and remove tags.

Facebook has also updated the Activity Log, a feature introduced last year that gives you a snapshot of your activity on the social network. Facebook rolled out new navigation for Activity Log, as well as fresh ways to sort information, to make it easier to drill down and see what's online. It now contains a Request and Removal tool that will let you get rid of embarrassing photos or check-ins you don't want to broadcast to the entire world more easily. You can send a bulk take-down request to friends with a message explaining why you hate the pictures - or just untag multiple photos at once.

Finally, Facebook said it will retire the "Who can look up my timeline by name?" setting, which controls who can look you up by typing your name into the search bar. "The setting was very limited in scope, and didn't prevent people from finding others in many other ways across the site," Facebook said. As a result, the company retired it for those who were not using it, and will do the same for the "small percentage" of people who still have it active in the coming weeks.

The updates follow hot on the heels of even more privacy policy modifications, and after Facebook held a vote on several changes to its terms - including whether people should be able to vote on changes to the site. The changes, however, failed to garner enough votes in opposition.