Today, we're launching new tools to give you even greater control over the information you share. Mark Zuckerberg, our founder and CEO, talked about these changes in his post last week. They include a... simpler privacy settings page and a tool to control the audience for each and every post you create. We're also taking this opportunity to require all 350 million people who use Facebook to review and update their settings.
Developing privacy controls that work for 350 million people who all use the site in unique ways is a difficult challenge. We've put a lot of work into today's new features, using your suggestions to guide us, and we're proud of what we've accomplished. However, we're by no means done, and we look forward to your feedback, which will help us develop the next innovation in user control.
Here's a rundown of what to expect for now:
Helping You Choose Settings
Starting very soon, when you log in to Facebook, you'll be presented with a quick and easy three-step process for reviewing and updating your settings.
The first step explains the changes we're making. If you want a more in-depth explanation of how privacy works on Facebook, you can visit our new Privacy Center, a comprehensive privacy guide with information on how to control your experience. Once you're ready to continue, click "Continue to Next Step."
On the next page, you'll be asked to make choices about who can see the various parts of your profile and the posts you create. If you've ever chosen to restrict access to parts of your profile, we'll be recommending that you keep those more restrictive settings. If you've never done this, we'll be making recommendations based on how lots of people are sharing information today.
For example, we'll be recommending that you make available to everyone a limited set of information that helps people find and connect with you, information like "About Me" and where you work or go to school. For more sensitive information, like photos and videos in which you've been tagged and your phone number, we'll be recommending a more restrictive setting.
Once you've made choices based on your comfort level, click "Save Settings." You'll see a confirmation step that lists the settings you've selected and includes a link to the Privacy Settings page, where you can customize further. As always, you have control over your information and can revisit your settings at any time.
Watch the following tutorial to learn more about how to update your settings:
Facebook has always provided extensive and granular settings that allow you to control access to your information as you see fit. Over time, however, as the site has evolved and new features have been added, these settings have become increasingly complicated. That's why today we're launching a new, simpler Privacy Settings page.
After completing the transition tool, you'll be able to access this new page any time and the same way you access your privacy settings today—from the "Settings" link at the top right of every Facebook page. The new Privacy Settings page will include sections for profile information, contact information, applications and websites, and search. As always, you can block specific users, which prevents them from seeing any of your information or contacting you on Facebook.
No matter what section you choose, you'll see an identical setting selector with three basic levels of privacy: Friends, Friends of Friends and Everyone. If you're in a verified network, such as a network for your school or workplace, you'll continue to have a "Friends and Networks" option. You'll also be able to customize your settings based on certain friends and friend lists. As an added layer of protection, we'll be requiring that you first enter your Facebook username and password before changing any settings.
Adding Control for Each Post
We're introducing a completely new privacy tool for the Publisher, the box at the top of the profile where you post content like status updates, links, photos and videos. Once you've completed the transition tool, you'll be able to choose an audience for each piece of content you post at the time that you post it. Just look for the standard privacy lock icon at the bottom right of the Publisher. When you click it, you'll see our standard setting selector with the same basic levels of privacy. The first time you post with this new control, you'll get a message that explains how to use the control.
A Few Important Points
As we stated back in July, these new tools in no way alter our policies or practices around advertising. Facebook never shares personal information with advertisers except under your direction and control.
In addition, settings for minors will continue to be more restrictive than those for adults. If you're a minor and you share a piece of content with "Everyone," you will be sharing it at most with friends of friends and members of any school or work networks you've joined. Similarly, minors are opted out of sharing information with public search engines for indexing.
With these changes, a limited set of basic information that helps your friends find you will be made publicly available. This information is name, profile picture, gender, current city, networks, friend list, and Pages. The overwhelming majority of people who use Facebook already make most or all of this information available to everyone. We've found that most people who do limit access just want to avoid being found in searches or prevent contact from strangers. For this reason, we'll be preserving the settings that allow you to exclude yourself from search results on Facebook and public search engines. You'll also be able to limit who can send you messages and friend requests to only friends and friends of friends.
We're happy to be offering you simpler tools to control your experience on Facebook. We encourage you to take the time to explore them and consider what settings are right for you.
Ruchi Sanghvi, Facebook's product manager for privacy, is in control.