Privacy settings in Facebook have been the topic of several posts. Part of the problem has been that users have only one choice–you can accept a friend request. . . or not. If your college roommate sends you a friend request, you are likely to accept it. You’ve got nothing to hide, right? But then you get a friend request from your boss. Or your former professor. Or your mom. It’s likely that there just may be things on your Facebook page that should never be seen by any of these individuals. Facebook is set to change this.
According to the NYT blog, Bits, Facebook plans to overhaul its privacy controls so that users can choose to share only parts of their profiles with designated “friends.” Like Twitter, Facebook’s new privacy settings would allow users to share updates only with those they designate or with the public at large. The settings themselves wouldn’t change. But users will be able to apply different settings for different users.
This will be a major improvement for users who want to separate their personal and professional lives and even subdivide different aspects of their personal lives. Users can set up feeds for “family,” “poker buddies,” and “parents of Johnny’s friends.” The pictures you post following Friday night’s card game won’t make its way to your brother-in-law or to your kid’s friends’ parents. And you can dish about the dress Aunt Moira wore to Suzie’s wedding last month without losing credibility with your poker friends.
And, in the employment world, it means that you can post about how bored you are at work without worrying that your boss (whose Friend request you felt compelled to accept), will see it.
Although Facebook hasn’t announced when its new privacy settings will be available for all users–currently the settings are being beta tested by 40,000 users.
If you’re wondering what could be so bad about sharing all updates with all of your Facebook friends, you should take a look at these previous posts: