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Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Facebook Updates Privacy Controls

Facebook began rolling out new privacy controls on Wednesday, which mainly allows users to manage who can see their personal information on the social network.

Facebook has added a new privacy "shortcut" link in the top-right hand corner of the website, which provides access to key controls such as allowing users to manage who can see their stuff or contact them and to block specific people. Users can alsp access Help Center content from these shortcuts.

The company also made improvements to the Activity Log, allowing users to easier see all the information that involves them across the social network. The updated Activity Log has new navigation, so users can easily review their own activity on Facebook, such as their likes and comments, their photos, and posts they've been tagged in. It also has new ways to sort information, for example: Now users can quickly see public photos they are tagged in and have hidden from their timeline, but which still appear in other places on Facebook.

Within the updated Activity Log, users now have a Request and Removal tool for taking action on multiple photos they're tagged in.

The tool also lets users untag multiple photos at once, keeping in mind that while untagged photos don?t appear on their timeline, they can still appear in other places on Facebook, such as search, news feed, or their friends? timelines.

In addition, Facebook is changing the way that third-party apps get permission to access user data. An app must now provide separate requests to create a personalized service based on a user's personal information and to post automated messages to the Facebook newsfeed on behalf of a user.

Facebook has been critisized for its complicated privacy controls related to the information users share with others within the network and the search engines.

In April, Facebook settled privacy charges with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission that it had deceived consumers and forced them to share more personal information than they intended.

These updates and new tools will begin rolling out at the end of 2012, Facebook said.

Less than 10 days ago Facebook proposed changes to its privacy policy and terms of service. The changes would allow Facebook to integrate user data with that of Instagram and would loosen restrictions on how members of the social network can contact other members using the Facebook email system. The proposed changes also would eliminate any such future votes by Facebook users.

Facebook gave its users the chance to vote on the proposed changes, but participation in the vote was minimal with only 668,872 voted. Nearly 600,00 of them voted to reject the proposed changes. As stated in Facebook's policies, the results are advisory unless more than 30% of users vote - roughly 300 million Facebook users.

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