Facebook Updates Privacy Controls: Streamlines Inline Privacy Control

“New: Control privacy inline – when you post or after.”

With Google’s new Google+ network Facebook has been forced to look at their privacy setting and tools again. Their reaction has been to update how you can control your privacy settings. Below is a quick pictorial tour of how the new tool works.

Facebook Privacy controls


Who you’re  hanging out with:  I suspect this is a reaction to circles and hangouts from Google+

Facebook privacy controls - who you're with


Add a location to your posts: This is similar to Twitter as well Google+.

Facebook privacy controls - location

Custom privacy controls: This is not new, but now you can change individual post settings after you post and the wording is changed slightly.

Facebook privacy controls - custom controls

Over all the improvements give you more control and make it easier for the typical user to control who sees their posts.

How do you use Facebook’s  privacy controls?

Facebook Allows to Access User’s Home Address & Mobile Number

In the latest privacy debate surrounding Facebook:

Facebook Allows Developers to Access Users Home Address & Mobile Numbers: Read the Facebook blog post announcing change

This could be something potentially dangerous, as a large majority of people don’t understand the privacy settings. When adding an app you will be prompted to allow the app to access your data, as in the image below:

Adding a facebook appClick image to enlarge

Yes, it is true you have to give the app permission. However, outside of removing all personal info or not adding apps, it does not appear you can stop FB from sharing your private info. There is an option in Account->Privacy Settings->Customize Settings, then under “contact information” where you can configure who sees this info. You can set this to “Only Me”, but this is for people viewing your profile not for applications.

facebook contact infoClick image to enlarge

If you look at the privacy settings for individual apps they include “Access my contact information”and then under that “Online Presence”. What exactly does that mean? For most apps this is also required.

Facebook application settingsClick image to enlarge

There are discussions about the benefits of using Facebook’s open graph as a way to surf the net without having to register/login, and some say (obviously including Facebook) allowing developers access to your address and phone number helps this. But do we really want Facebook to control this?

Not all apps ask you for this information. So, at this point the best thing is to be diligent in evaluating apps before you add them. If they do ask for your address and mobile phone number, make sure you trust the maker of the application before clicking “Allow”.

Another important question to ask:

Why do app developers and ultimately advertisers need this information?

Microsoft & Facebook Team up to Make Search More Social – 4 Things You Should Know

Recently Microsoft has been creating relationships that will give their search engine Bing more market share. The deal with Yahoo and Bing that was announced earlier this year, went into effect recently and is a major consolidation of the search industry. Next up Facebook.

The idea is to bring what your friends “like” on Facebook and sites using Facebook’s open graph to search results. So, when you use Bing to search for a topic in news, articles that your friends “like” through Facebook might show up with their names and profile picture. This will also include movies, cafes, restaurants, etc. Microsoft has also added Facebook profiles to their people search. All of this should help Bing gain more ground in the search engine world. Even though Microsoft is providing search technology for Yahoo the two companies are still making their own decisions about how to display the results.

With this partnership the web is becoming more and more connected. Here a four things you should know.

1. Search is evolving. Google become the powerhouse it is today by creating new technology that did a much better job at deciphering what the most relevant results for users. Using their algorithms and spiders they are able to evaluate large amounts of websites and data to do this. Now with the Facebook Microsoft partnership, Bing will be able to show results that your trusted friends believe are good. When it comes to social, Google is playing catch up.

2. Customer experience will be king. Google’s mantra has always been “content is king”. Well, it is still important, but companies will not be able to stop there they will need to make sure that customer have a good experience with their brand. Now you won’t even have to ask your friends their opinions will simply show up in Bing search results.

3. Search and Social will continue to merge. We are seeing this already, but it will become more apparent that you can no longer think of search/SEO and Social Media as two separate things.

4. We will all need to be master of our domain. Facebook has continues to be under scrutiny with their privacy and individuals ability to set their own Facebook privacy settings. Both Microsoft and Facebook have assured that users will still have control over what Facebook shares with Bing, but they have to actually know how to an make the effort to manage these settings.

How Are You Going to Respond to the Facebook Privacy Issue? (Poll)

With the all the stir about the new Facebook privacy changes, there are a lot of people shutting down their accounts and leaving Facebook. What are you going to do? Please answer the one question poll below.

The poll was created by Paul Chaney author of The Digital Handshake and Seven Proven Strategies to Grow Your Business Using Social Media.

Worried About Your Facebook Privacy Settings? Help Has Arrived!

In reaction to Facebook’s new privacy policy many people questioning even dumping digital lives on Facebook. I even heard last week that a bunch of Google employees are leaving FB for this reason. Now MySpace, in an attempt to use FB’s new policies to their advantage have vowed to make their settings more transparent and they’ve announced that the default will be set to “only friends”: read more.

If you are confused about the new settings or you’re not sure how to deal with the privacy policies, there is help. ReclaimPrivacy.org has created an application that automatically and safely checks your privacy settings and gives you suggestions for ways to make them more secure. All you have to do is drag their bookmarklet into your bookmarks, login into FB and click the bookmark.

As for their privacy statement it’s short and sweet:

Our privacy policy is not long:

* we never see your Facebook data
* we never share your personal information

Simple. The scanner operates entirely within your own browser.

Facebook and Your Privacy: How to Opt Out of Instant Personalization

I know, I know… Yet another post about Facebook. In my last post you saw a video of what the new “open Facebook Block Logograph” api really does. In the video, Zuckerberg also stated that it the new changes don’t change the privacy of their users. This has sparked a lot of discussion across the web. The one thing that does kind of bother me is that by default the new settings are set to share your information with sites using he api, but it is very easy to opt out if you are concerned with companies having access to your information. Here are the steps:

1. Login to your Facebook account
2. In the “Account” dropdown menu choose “Privacy Setting”
3. Select “Applications and Websites”
4. At the bottom you’ll see “Instant Personalization”. Click on the “Edit Setting” button.
5. Uncheck the box: “Allow select partners to instantly personalize their features with my public information when I first arrive on their websites.”

Also take note of the warning below the box.

Please keep in mind that if you opt out, your friends may still share public Facebook information about you to personalize their experience on these partner sites unless you block the application.

You can also edit the privacy settings for what your friends can share about you by clicking the “Edit Settings” button next to “Please keep in mind that if you opt out, your friends may still share public Facebook information about you to personalize their experience on these partner sites unless you block the application.” on the Privacy Settings page.

Your Facebook Friends May be Giving Away Your Privacy

I was just going over some of my privacy settings on Facebook, since last week Facebook decided to update the whole privacy policy. If you haven’t heard there has been a lot of controversy over the new changes. It seems that they are forcing everyone to be more open with their information. There is speculation that the move is so that the site will be more valuable to search engines because they will be able to harvest more information. One of the things I found most disturbing is the default settings for what your friends can share about you through applications. The image below is the default setting for my account. Even though I have chosen to hide most of the items from the general public and some of it from everyone, Facebook allows friends to share this info by default.

So, if you are using Facebook. I highly recommend thoroughly going through your privacy settings and educating yourself as to what you are actually sharing. Also, you should always remember that anything you post online, shared or not is never 100% secure.

facebook privacy settings