By Samuel W. Lessin
UPDATE December 20, 2012: Last week we told you about some new privacy tools to help manage who can see what you share on Facebook. These tools have started rolling out globally and will begin to roll out in the US starting today.
We believe that the better you understand who can see the things you share, the better your experience on Facebook can be.
Today’s updates include Privacy Shortcuts, an easier-to-use Activity Log, and a new Request and Removal tool for managing multiple photos you’re tagged in. We're also adding new in-product education that makes key concepts around controlling your sharing clearer, such as in-context reminders about how stuff you hide from timeline may still appear in news feed, search, and other places.
We continue to strive toward three main goals: bringing controls in context where you share, helping you understand what appears where as you use Facebook, and providing tools to help you act on content you don't like.
1. In Context: More controls right where you need them
Up until now, if you wanted to change your privacy and timeline controls on Facebook, you would need to stop what you’re doing and navigate through a separate set of pages. Today we’re announcing new shortcuts you can easily get to. Now, for key settings, you just go to the toolbar to help manage “Who can see my stuff?” “Who can contact me?” and “How do I stop someone from bothering me?” You can also access Help Center content from these shortcuts.
The first time you log into a new app, it asks for permission to use your info to personalize your experience. Some apps also ask to post to Facebook.
Before today, these two requests were part of the same screen and happened at the same time. Soon you’ll start to see these requests happen separately, so you have more control over what you share. 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 to Facebook on their behalf.
Many of the apps you use will move to this new model, but some will not – for example, games apps on Facebook.com will not change. For more information on how these new permissions will work, see our developer blog.
Retiring the old “Who can look up my timeline by name?” setting
Facebook started as a directory service for college students, and today we offer a whole variety of services, such as news feed, photo uploads and mobile messaging. As our services have evolved, our settings have, too.
Everyone used to have a setting called "Who can look up my timeline by name," which controlled if someone could be found when other people typed their name into the Facebook search bar. The setting was very limited in scope, and didn't prevent people from finding others in many other ways across the site.
Because of the limited nature of the setting, we removed it for people who weren’t using it, and have built new, contextual tools, along with education about how to use them. In the coming weeks, we’ll be retiring this setting for the small percentage of people who still have it.
2. Understanding: In-product education
Along with the overall effort to continue bringing privacy controls up front, we're adding in-context notices throughout Facebook. For example, we've created a series of messages to help you understand, in context, that the content you hide from your timeline may still appear in news feed, search and other places.
Updated Activity Log
Last year we introduced Activity Log. Activity Log makes it easy to see the things you’ve posted on Facebook, make changes to the audience of past photos and other posts, and choose what appears on your timeline.
The updated Activity Log has new navigation, so you can easily review your own activity on Facebook, such as your likes and comments, photos of you, and posts you’ve been tagged in. It also has new ways to sort information, for example: Now you can quickly see public photos you're tagged in and have hidden from your timeline, but which still appear in other places on Facebook.
3. Action: New tools to manage your content New Request and Removal tool
Within the updated Activity Log, you now have a Request and Removal tool for taking action on multiple photos you’re tagged in. If you spot things you don’t want on Facebook, now it’s even easier to ask the people who posted them to remove them.
Go to the "Photos of You" tab, select multiple photos, and ask friends to take down the shots you don’t like – you can even include a message about why this is important to you. The tool also lets you untag multiple photos at once, keeping in mind that while untagged photos don’t appear on your timeline, they can still appear in other places on Facebook, such as search, news feed, or your friends’ timelines.
These updates and new tools will begin rolling out at the end of 2012.