Facebook’s New Privacy Features: A Complete Guide

August 12th, 2009 | by Ben Parr
Facebook’s been evolving right before our very eyes. It started back in March, when Facebook rolled out a new homepage design and redesigned Facebook Pages. At the same time, they started announcing changes to open up the platform: public profiles, profile fans, public status updates, real-time search, and earlier this morning, Facebook Lite. Facebook’s been busy.

All of this is part of a process we sometimes describe as Twitterification. Facebook is opening up in parts in order to combat Twitter – another reason why Facebook completed that blockbuster acquisition of FriendFeed. But since these privacy and profile changes have occurred in parts, they have created a lot of confusion.

That’s why we have written this guide to Facebook’s most recent changes to profiles, status updates, and privacy features. We highlight the big changes and explain what is likely to come next. Here’s how the new Facebook is set up:

In terms of privacy, there have been two major changes. The first one, which occurred back in March, is that you can make your Facebook profile public. You can make all elements or just parts of your profile public: photos, details, videos, work information, etc. This can be managed in Facebook’s profile privacy settings.

The other major change to profiles, announced in June, is the ability to have profile fans. It’s just like Twitter followers: they will be able to see your updates and info without you friending them. This feature is not yet launched, but will be coming soon:

Status Updates
Status updates have also changed. In the past, only your friends could see your publish posts and status updates (you know, that big “What’s on your mind?” box at the top of the homepage). But as of June, you have the ability to post status updates not only to your friends, but to friends of friends, to your networks, and to everyone. You may need to activate it in your Facebook profile privacy settings.

You’ll also notice that there’s a custom setting. You can post status updates just to specific friend lists. For example, post a personal update just to your top 20 friends, or you can let everyone on Facebook find your update about your big tweetup next week.

The change brings it more in line with Twitter, which is public by default. Really though, this was the prelude to yesterday’s big Facebook Search launch.

Realtime Search
As we covered in-depth yesterday, Facebook is currently rolling out realtime search. While the old search only could find things like apps, groups, and people, the new search is like a beefed-up version of Twitter Search. The new search crawls the last 30 days of news feed activity – photos, notes, images, videos, links, and status updates – and lets users search them all by keyword. Want to learn more about the FriendFeed acquisition or chatter about Mashable on Facebook?

The new search helps:
So where does Facebook privacy play into all of this? The search covers all of your friends, but on top of that, it searches all public profiles and public status updates. So if you want to be found in search, you better change your Facebook privacy settings. Remember though, what you say will be visible to everyone then, so don’t say anything you wouldn’t discuss on your public Twitter feed.

What’s Next?
Facebook’s many new features can all be described with one word: openness. It has seen Twitter steal the spotlight and the attention, especially when breaking news and world events occur. Facebook, with its hundreds of millions of users, should be able to do the same thing, but cannot due to the network restrictions that have existed since Facebook’s inception as a college social network.

Facebook will encourage all of its users to join in on the world conversation by opening up their profiles, making their status updates public, and promoting its new realtime search tool. It will also promote users having conversations around news items – a la FriendFeed. The acquisition provides Facebook with a lot of technology that focuses on realtime updates, public conversations, and in-depth discussions. You will see integration with the world’s largest social network very quickly. FriendFeed may even become the model for public discussions on Facebook.

Luckily, you have a choice in these matters. If you want to keep your Facebook profile private between you and your closest friends, you can – just adjust your privacy settings to your network of friends. However, as Facebook opens up more and more, the pressure to open up your profile will increase as well. So prepare yourself for a new Facebook, one that intends to take down Twitter and even give Google a run for its money.

Tinggalkan Balasan

Alamat email Anda tidak akan dipublikasikan. Ruas yang wajib ditandai *