Facebook changes privacy options

Facebook wall approval Facebook users will be asked to approve any postings that they are tagged in

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Facebook has announced a major revamp of how users control their privacy on the site.

Among the changes, items posted online will each have their own sharing settings determining who can see them.

It is the latest in a long line of attempts by Facebook to streamline how members manage their personal information.

In the past, the social network has been criticised for seeming to bury privacy settings in obscure menus.

Privacy settings for status update Postings will have their own unique privacy settings

Now when users are tagged in a posting - such as a photograph or video - they will have the option to confirm or remove their identity before it appears on their profile.

It is hoped the safeguard will eliminate the problem of malicious tagging, which is often used by cyberbullies who add other people's names to unpleasant images.

Other changes include:

  • In line controls - each item on a user's wall has individual privacy options, such as public, friends and custom
  • Tag takedown - the ability to remove tags of self, ask the person who tagged you to remove it, or block the tagger
  • Universal tagging - users can tag anyone, not just Facebook friends. Other person can choose not to accept the tagged post on their profile
  • Location tagging - geographic locations can be added in all versions of Facebook, not just mobile app
  • Profile view - the option to see how others view your profile is added above the news feed

Facebook's vice-president of product, Chris Cox said that the arrival of another privacy refresh did not necessarily mean the old system was confusing.

"I don't think the old controls were bad. I just think the new ones are much better," he told BBC News.

"The goal is just to make [the settings] more inline and more immediate, just right there in the profile."

De-tag request Users can ask for tags of them to be removed or have the content deleted completely

Mr Cox also played down suggestions that Facebook might be improving its privacy controls as it prepares to extend access to children under 13 - something its founder Mark Zuckerberg has said he would like to see.

"This change is really just about the people that are on Facebook today and the new users who just joined today and making it easier for them.

"This really is not in any way about the under-13 experience," said Mr Cox.

He promised there would not be any unexpected changes to users' privacy settings during the changeover process.

Existing users will retain their current default sharing settings.

The first time new Facebook members share a piece of content, their default suggestion will be public - which replaces the "everyone" setting. If users select another option, that will become their default in future.

The new privacy options will begin to be rolled out across the site from Thursday 25 August.

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