Facebook Solves 'Embarrassing Photos Problem' - InformationWeek
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12/9/2009
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Facebook Solves 'Embarrassing Photos Problem'

Social networking site now gives users control over who sees what.

Facebook now has a solution for members who want to, say, post pictures of their drunken revelry at a New Year's bash but don't want their bosses looking at them.

The social networking site announced Wednesday that it's implementing a number of changes to its privacy settings in an effort to make it easier for members to control who can see which pieces of information.

"Facebook is transforming the world's ability to control its information online by empowering more than 350 million people to personalize the audience for each piece of content they share," said Facebook communications VP Elliot Schrage, in a statement.

The biggest change is that Facebook has added a tool that lets users easily select privacy settings for literally each post they place on the social networking site.

Via a new dropdown menu, users can specify whether the post should be made to the general public, all their Facebook friends, or a list of particular friends, family members, or work colleagues.

Facebook also launched a new "transition tool" to guide members through the new settings.

"We've always designed Facebook to enable people to control what information they share with whom—it's the main reason our service continues to attract such a broad and diverse group of users from around the world. We're proud of the latest evolution we're announcing today and we will continue to innovate to serve users' changing needs," said Schrage.

Facebook is also eliminating regional networks—user groups that allow members within a given geographical region to automatically share content with other network members. Facebook operates such networks around the world, including far-flung areas like India and China.

But founder Mark Zuckerberg has said the regional networks are becoming too large to ensure members' privacy.

"As Facebook has grown, some of these regional networks now have millions of members and we've concluded that this is no longer the best way for you to control your privacy," wrote Zuckerberg in a recent blog post.

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